Q&A - Does Our Hay Trailer Need a Licence and Insurance?

Q&A ImageWe own a small ranch in BC. Our hay fields stretch out along a small public road that runs through our ranch. We have just purchased a large truck which is now insured with farm plates to haul our hay bales off of the fields. We have been told that the hay trailer being pulled by this truck needs to be liscenced. The hay trailer has no  registration or paperwork of any kind, has had hay racks/extensions added to them and is used solely to haul hay off of our fields and directly to the hay barns.

My searching online indicates that if the trailer is being pulled by a self propelled implement of husbandry (which I'm assuming the truck would be classified as, since it is also solely used for farm work and is liscenced as such), and is itself only being used to haul agricultural products from one area of the farm to another then it does not need to be liscenced. It would be classified as an implement of husbandry as well. The trailers are old highway trailers that were purchased at a scrapyard and have been modified to suit our needs.

So, my question is, am I correct? Do these trailers need to be insured to haul hay from one field to another on our farm. And if so, what are the requirements in this  situation? All this information has been gathered from the ICBC website under a pamphlet called Farm Vehicles on the Move.

You have already found the publication that I would have recommended to help sort this out. It is the best plain language guide to farm vehicles that I know of.

I think that the crux of the matter lies in the definition of "implement of husbandry:"

An implement of husbandry is a vehicle designed and adapted exclusively for use in agricultural operations. This includes a farm tractor and/or a trailer towed by an implement of husbandry. Self-propelled agricultural vehicles such as farm tractors, harvesters, and various pieces of towable equipment are usually considered implements of husbandry. Vehicles used primarily to transport persons or property on a highway are not implements of husbandry.

Implements of husbandry include:

  • farm tractors
  • combines
  • forage harvesters and wagons when towed by an implement of husbandry
  • conveyors
  • swathers
  • manure and fertilizer spreaders
  • sprayers
  • mowers
  • ploughs
  • discs
  • other farm equipment
  • vehicles operated by a farmer and designed, adapted or used exclusively for agricultural purposes

Is your "large truck which is now insured with farm plates" an implement of husbandry or not? The last item in the list is the important one, vehicles operated by a farmer and ... used exclusively for agricultural purposes. If it is being used by someone other than a bona fide farmer or for a purpose other than agricultural, it is not. Otherwise, the list says that it is and your trailer does not require separate licence and insurance.

What causes me concern is the end of the last paragraph above the list which says "Vehicles used primarily to transport persons or property on a highway are not implements of husbandry." Your truck is a vehicle used primarily to transport persons or property.

Rather than direct you back to your Autoplan Agent for guidance, I will contact ICBC and see what they have to say.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

"The large truck is considered to be a farm vehicle, based on the definition shown on page 4 of the document, so the trailers have to be registered, licensed, and insured."

This is what I expected and how enforcement of it was conducted at the time I retired. It is clearly still the case.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

So thank you for looking into the rules regarding this however I'm surprised at your last post. I took the time to contact ICBC myself (the bales are sitting on the field still waiting to move and I know this is not your job so I wanted to expedite the process!). When I contacted them they initially said something similar to what you replied with. However when I mentioned the pamphlet and stated my reasons for why I thought they didn't need to be liscenced the man I spoke to went to talk to his supervisor. When he returned he said that the trailers had to be hooked up to the truck to be covered by the trucks insurance. So if we were hauling bales and someone hit the trailers or vice-versa, it would've covered however, if the trailer came detached from the truck and was struck or struck someone, then it would not be covered a there is not an insured implement if husbandry towing it.

It seems to me this is a bit if a grey area all together as ICBC seems to be unclear themselves about what is really required. It is quite frustrating as these trailers are on the road for maybe 4-5 days out if the year, and only travel the 8km span from field to field on a back road that has very, very little traffic on it. However I guess the fact remains it I still a public road and the possibility it there, it just hurts to have to jump through so many hoops regarding getting a notary to track down or  designate a new VIN,inspections, liscensing and registering when the trailers are hardly used. I felt confident that the truck would cover them but I'm glad I looked into it even though they have now said yes they are covered and not they are not.