With the size and power of farm machinery increasing over recent years, the weight limits of a tractor and towed implement should be taken into consideration.

The maximum laden weight of an agricultural trailer is 18.29t, and the maximum weight of the vehicle – plus the laden trailer or towed appliances – is 31t.

These facts are contained in a useful publication, ‘Agriculture and the Public Roads’, published by the Ulster Farmers' Union in partnership with the PSNI, Lantra, the Health and Safety Executive for NI, and CAFRE.

The booklet lists the taxation classification with special concessionary vehicles exempt from tax payment, whereas light goods vehicles have gross permitted vehicle weights of up to 3,500kgs, such as vans.

Limited use vehicles are designed for short journeys of no more than 1.5kms on the public road for the purpose of agriculture, horticulture or forestry. No road tax licence is required.

Large or heavy goods vehicles are for carrying gross vehicle weights greater than 3,500kgs.

The maximum length of an agricultural trailer is usually 12 metres, and the maximum combined length of a vehicle and one trailer is 18.75 metres.

The maximum width of an agricultural trailer is 2.55 metres, and an agricultural trailed appliance, 2.5 metres.

There has been plenty of debate in recent times on weights and sizes of vehicles as the capacity of slurry tankers, for example, have increased considerably.

The capacity of tractors have of course increased in size and power accordingly with powerful transmission, hydraulic and electronic systems fitted.

Braking systems are very sophisticated now, but brake requirements for trailers and towed appliances depend on its maximum weight, and the speed at which it is to be towed.

Lighting is important on towed implements as well as indicators and reflectors.

There are requirements for projected loads being towed with markers to warn other road users.

Generally, regular checks should be made to ensure tractors and machines are legal for road use.

It is recommended when using a tractor on a road, you should not allow a queue of eight vehicles or more to build up behind you, as this can cause frustration to drivers.

It is considered good practice to pull over where it is safe and appropriate to do so, to allow faster vehicles to pass.

If moving animals, ensure the journey is properly planned, and that the animals are fit to travel.

If the journey is more than 65kms, then transport authorisation is needed.