Fires in harvesting machines and storages can cause significant loss and endanger lives.
Avoiding harvester fires is high on the agenda of large-scale South Australian grain farmer, Ben Wundersitz.
He farms on SA’s Yorke Peninsula and injects considerable effort and resources into preparing for and minimising the risk of a potential harvester fire.
A thorough fire prevention and action plan is employed, involving briefings with staff to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities prior to and during harvest.
“It really is important to have a plan with your staff and actually chat about what it might look like if we have an incident,” Mr Wundersitz said.
For more than 20 years, Anna Binna has been producing lentils – considered to be one of the more at-risk grain crops – but in that time a major fire has been avoided.
Mr Wundersitz, who has been speaking at Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) harvester fire workshops in the southern region, attributes this to formulating a plan with his employees and adhering to it over harvest.
“Lentils are very profitable and an important part of our rotation,” he said. “We have learnt to recognise the conditions during lentil harvesting when we need to increase our vigilance in terms of fire safety and we have procedures around cleaning down machines and monitoring fire danger to manage this risk.”