Harvester fires in the spotlight

GRDC to address how to avoid harvester fires this season

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HARVESTER FIRES: Avoiding harvester fires is the subject of four workshops, to be held in Northern Victoria, next month.

HARVESTER FIRES: Avoiding harvester fires is the subject of four workshops, to be held in Northern Victoria, next month.

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Advice on harvester hygiene, modifications and equipment maintenance

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Preparation to help avoid harvester fires will be the focus of a series of four Grains Research and Development Corporation workshops in Swan Hill and Kaniva.

The workshops will address a wide range of topics to ensure growers are prepared for the serious threat harvester fires pose, even after dry growing seasons.

Harvester fire specialist Ben White said he would be providing advice to growers on steps they could take to avoid harvester fires, including harvesting hygiene, equipment maintenance and harvester modifications.

“Unfortunately, a low yielding season doesn’t mean growers won’t see harvester fires,” Mr White said.

‘The worst thing would be for growers to get complacent and put themselves in danger.

Mr White recommended all growers develop a harvester fire plan as a critical part of harvest preparations.

“The potential losses from a fire are enormous,” he said.

“Harvester fires can burn through entire crops, farms, neighbourhoods and communities, causing infrastructure losses, serious burns or even result in fatalities.” 

About seven per cent of harvesters start a fire each year, in a range of crop types including cereals and pulses.

Along with Mr White, representatives from the Country Fire Authority, Victorian Farmers Federation, Country Fire Service, Grain Producers SA and the GRDC will share information on fire danger indexes, grain harvesting guidelines, fighting fires, and communication during a fire.

The workshops will be held on October 2 and 3.

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