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There are many specialist, heavy-duty vehicles and machines used in agriculture, particularly in crop and arable farming, but also on mixed farms. These vehicles are not as easy to drive as normal cars or vans, so highly-skilled, fully-trained drivers are needed to operate and maintain the machinery. Operators include tractor drivers, combine harvester drivers and sprayer operators.
Tractors, combine harvesters, sprayers and other industrial agricultural vehicles have specific uses and complex operations. Agricultural vehicle operators are employed on individual arable farms to plough, drill, spray, and harvest crops using specific machinery. They are trained to know exactly how to use the vehicle correctly, how to operate it and how to maintain it effectively.
There are a range of field cultivations that are carried out by vehicle operators, most of which involve tractors, but also combine harvesters. Activities of a vehicle operator working on an arable farm might include:
Agricultural vehicle operators will have a wide knowledge of agricultural technology and machinery, and will be skilled at using it. Whilst vehicle operators are usually needed most on arable and crop farms, some larger mixed farms with livestock and crops may also need experienced vehicle operators.
Tractor and combine harvester drivers are needed throughout the year on arable farms, and can work longer hours during autumn and spring months when preparing soil, planting seeds, and harvesting crops.