An Island farmer is reminding those who use ATVS or dirt bikes to please stay off freshly planted fields at this time of year.
Jordan Docherty, owner of Skyview Farms in Cornwall, says he's fine with snowmobiles using his field in the winter, but he sent a note to the local ATV club last month to let them know he would be planting soon and asked them to stay off his fields for now.
But only days after his potatoes were planted in one field, he found tracks running right through the drills.
"I walked up and there was clearly more than one ATV, potentially a dirtbike or three-wheeler that had gone over it several times," he said. "The first person to do it would have a pretty bumpy ride — like, they'd have to know what they were doing was improper."
Docherty said he'd be less upset if the tracks showed someone went into the field and turned around after realizing the mistake — but that wasn't the case.
"It's substantial," he said of the damage to the 192 furrows in the field. "It's close to 400 plants being destroyed, and whenever four-wheelers basically drive over it and pack the soil down, it basically turns it into, you know, concrete [so] that the seed basically can't take root and grow."
Docherty said once he's finished planting his crop, he'll go back to that section and see whether he can loosen the soil that was packed down by tires.
Most farmers and ATVers have a pretty decent relationship in that most people are always polite and ask if they can use our property. - Jordan Docherty
"It's discouraging to us," he said. "I think most farmers and ATVers have a pretty decent relationship in that most people are always polite and ask if they can use our property."
Docherty said he has no problem with people who pass through farmland cautiously without rolling through worked fields, and those who identified themselves as ATV riders were more upset than farmers when he posted about the incident online.
"What is basically going to end up happening, if this continues to happen, all privileges like that will end up being revoked by farmers and it's the other ATVers who are going to suffer because of that," Docherty said.
"Just give your head a shake," he advised those driving over planted furrows.
Farmers will be fine, he said; if problems continue, property can always be fenced off.
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