Harvest fire expert Graeme Quick has urged Australian lentil farmers to take extra care during harvesting this year after a spate of header fires in South Australia destroyed significant lentil crops.
Grain Producers SA (GPSA) have identified that the fires were caused by the ignition of lentil residues and the current harvest is under threat from an increase of lentil fires compared to previous years.
The GPSA believe the additional fires this year may be influenced by an increase in lentil plantings but have enlisted the help of Mr Quick to investigate whether anything more is going on.
Mr Quick will look into ignition sources and the circumstances of the fires so far as well as identifying any differences in lentil residues this year before compiling a report on this data to assess the potential causes.
“If there needs to be further work done from these then we’ll get it done, because this year’s crop is worth $120 million,” GPSA Chief Executive Darren Arney said in a November 28 article for the Stock Journal.
Because the investigation and report will take some time, farmers who still have lentils on the ground are encouraged to follow a few simple harvest protocols.
Mr Quick suggested farmers ensure they are driving into or across the wind during harvest to ensure residues do not lodge on headers.
Having an observer standing by is also recommended to immediately extinguish any ejected smoldering residues.
Farmers are also encouraged to keep crop residue on machinery to a minimum by regularly checking equipment during a harvest.
For further peace of mind against the perils of fire, you can consider a farmers insurance policy with fire cover.
MGA Insurance Brokers can also help you arrange a crop insurance policy that will cover your farm recovery if a loss-causing fire does occur.