The objective was to analyse the medical consequences, sequence of events and contributory and background factors of farm-work-related accidents. The study is part of a project to develop systems for continuous and periodic injury surveillance in Swedish public health care. Altogether 163 patients were treated for injuries sustained in accidents on 2454 farms during a one-year period. The five most common injurious agents were: material, tools, machinery, foreign bodies and animals. Half of the injuries were due to the victims' having slipped on a floor or on equipment with tools or other objects or to tripping. Reported contributory factors were unsuitable methods of working, failure to use personal safety equipment, deficient inspection, lack of safety devices, design deficiency and haste. Farms consisting of more than 50 hectares (120 acres) were over-represented. The results illustrate the numerous risks associated with work on farms and indicate the need to improve occupational safety in this sector.