THREE men have died in agriculture-related deaths in the past fortnight.
In a horror start to the month, a 77-year-old Noorat man died after rolling his ute into a quarry in Victoria's west, a 71-year-old man was crushed to death by a grain auger on his property near Euroa, and a 36-year-old man died when a branch fell on him while removing trees from a Warragul property.
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Figures released to The Weekly Times show the recent deaths bring the total agriculture-related fatalities for the year to seven in Victoria.
It follows a tragic 2011 in which 16 people were killed.
Six of the 16 agriculture-related deaths last year were linked to all-terrain vehicles.
Fifty-four Victorians have died in accidents related to farming during the past five years. More than half were men aged over 50.
The figures have prompted calls from farm leaders and WorkSafe for caution, particularly ahead of the hay and grain harvesting season.
Victorian Farmers Federation president Peter Tuohey described the recent spate of farm deaths as "tragic".
"I think the problem with farmers is we're often working in isolation and tend to think we can do everything and safety quite often doesn't come into the equation," Mr Tuohey said.
"We think we're a bit invincible and farmers have got to be careful and keep their mind on the job and take care, particularly this time of year when it's not uncommon to work 15-hour days."
WorkSafe tips for staying safe include letting someone know where you are and when you will return if working alone, taking regular breaks, staying hydrated, and ensuring all equipment and machinery is maintained and used only for its intended purpose.
WorkSafe agricultural spokesman Adam Rogers said farming could be a dangerous occupation if farmers didn't keep safety on their minds at all times.
He said taking shortcuts was a recipe for disaster and urged farmers to monitor children closely.
"Sadly, too many children die or are seriously injured on farms,"Mr Rogers said.
"We want everyone to have a happy Christmas, not heading to hospital to visit a family member seriously injured in a farm accident, or mourning the death of a loved one."