A 71-year-old farmer Jack Van Silfhout was taken to Tauranga Hospital today with head injures, a broken leg and ribs after he was crushed by a tractor on his Welcome Bay farm at 7.25am today.

He was driving down a slope heading for the fenceline to look for a missing cow when the tractor hit a pothole, slid and then rolled three or four times, leaving him behind lying on the paddock as the tractor flipped again back onto its wheels.

Family said he was conscious when they reached him and he was able to talk with difficulty because of his rib injuries. St John ambulance was called and police assisted ambulance personnel to stretcher Mr Van Silfhout up the hillside and down a farm track for several hundred meters to a yard.

He had over 30 years experience working with large machinery. Mr Van Silfhout celebrated his 71th birthday two days earlier with his wife Matilda (nee Mikaere) and family.