Navigating Wisconsin’s Implements of Husbandry Law
or face fines.
Implemented in 2015, the Implements of Husbandry law (Wisconsin Act 377), defines and sets height and weight specifications and allows local townships to regulate and potentially require permits for both Implements of Husbandry (IoH) and Agriculture Commercial Motor Vehicles (Ag CMV)
Matt Solymossy, safety manager for Landmark Services Cooperative, says, “The purpose of this legislation is to find balance for agriculture’s needs and local government’s responsibility for road maintenance.”
He further explains, “An IoH is a self-propelled or towed vehicle designed for, and used exclusively for, agricultural purposes. An Ag CMV is a vehicle designed and manufactured for highway use that has been adapted and now used for agricultural operations.” IoH incudes tractors; self-propelled implements such as combines, forage harvesters and fertilizer or pesticide application equipment; and towed implements such as wagons, trailers and cultivating equipment. Ag CMVs, unless manufactured prior to 1970, must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Do I need a permit?
Local governmental entities can set their own rules according to Act 377. They can require all agricultural vehicles to abide by state code, specify certain roadways that allow overweight loads or set a higher weight limit throughout their jurisdiction. County or city ordinances and resolutions must be valid for at least one year so as to not change the rules in mid-stream.
Depending on local action, any IoH exceeding allowable size may be required to obtain a No Fee Agricultural Vehicle Permit. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation provides an online application.
As of January 1, the original grace period has ended, and operators can be cited for size and weight violations if they do not have the exemption permit. Solymossy says farmers should apply early in the year for permits that are vehicle and route specific. “You can amend it later if needed. And be sure to carry a time-stamped copy of your application until the permit is officially granted.
“You will need gross motor vehicle weight, maximum axle weight in operation mode and axle measurements,” adds Solymossy. “We at Landmark Services Cooperative can help equipment owners navigate that application process, as well as the network of local ordinances.”
Height, weight and length restrictions
There is no height limitation on IoH in the new rules, which clearly state the driver is responsible for safe overhead clearance. Ag CMVs are restricted to 13’6”.
There are length restrictions, with specifics for single, two- and three-vehicle combinations spelled out in the code.
Weight restrictions are affected by the number of axels and axel spacing. “In general, there is a 15 percent increase in allowable weight,” says Solymossy. “That’s 92,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) or 23,000 pounds per axel.” He further explains special or seasonal provisions can affect the limits.
Potato harvesters are exempt from axle weight limits, but not GVW; and tillage, planting and harvesting equipment is clear for “incidental movements” between farm and fields that are less than one-half mile away. The restrictions do not apply to vehicles in transport to an implement dealer for delivery or repair within a 75-mile radius.
More to Come
The realities of Act 377 will continue to evolve through the coming year. New lighting and marking requirements go into effect November 1.
Lighting specifications outlined in the code apply to IoH manufactured prior to January 1, 2014. Implements manufactured after that date must be equipped with all original lighting and marking devices – in good working order and visible at all times of operation.
“This is about safety on Wisconsin’s roadways,” says Solymossy, “and that’s part of Landmark Services Cooperative’s mission to support the customers and communities we serve.”
To learn more about Act 377 and Landmark Services Cooperative’s Safety programs, contact Matt Solymossy at 1-800-236-3276, email: Matt.Solymossy@landmark.coop or visit www.landmark.coop.