Plan ahead to manage any harvester fires

Strategies unveiled to help control fires at harvest time

Climate
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Good preparation key to breaking fire and weather risks at harvest in season 2019

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Workshops and an updated GRDC Back Pocket Guide can help growers tackle and prevent harvester fires this year.

Workshops and an updated GRDC Back Pocket Guide can help growers tackle and prevent harvester fires this year.

Grain growers are more prepared to prevent and fight harvest fires thanks to new investments by the GRDC.

GRDC workshops in Kaniva and Swan Hill, in Victoria, and Clare and Cummins, in South Australia, were conducted ahead of harvest 2018 to ensure growers were equipped to prevent and tackle harvester fires.

Kondinin Group harvester fire specialist, Ben White, headlined these workshops.

He provided timely advice to growers about potential measures they could take to avoid harvester fires, including harvesting hygiene, equipment maintenance and harvester modifications.

Mr White says areas of increased risk to be alert to on harvesters when planning ahead for this season included:

  • Dust trap areas
  • Rubbing or slipping belts
  • Ffailure-prone bearings.

He advises to check these areas more regularly.

"Bearings, hydraulic lines and belts need to be closely monitored and the harvester should be kept free of dust and chaff accumulation," he says.

According to Kondinin Group research, about 7 per cent of harvesters will start a fire each year.

Of these, one in 10 will significantly damage the machine or crop.

Mr White recommends all growers develop a harvester fire plan well ahead of harvest.

A more proactive maintenance and inspection program will help reduce machinery downtime and prevent an expensive repair bill, he says.

Bearings, hydraulic lines and belts need to be closely monitored and the harvester should be kept free of dust and chaff accumulation - Kondinin Group harvester fire specialist Ben White

Representatives from the Country Fire Authority, Victorian Farmers Federation, the Country Fire Service, Grain Producers SA and growers also spoke at the GRDC workshops about fire danger indices, grain harvesting guidelines and fighting fires.

More information: GRDC Back Pocket Guide 'Reducing Harvest Fires': https://grdc.com.au/ReducingHarvestFiresBPG

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