Know Your Code

Grain Harvesting Code of Practice

South Australia has a voluntary Grain Harvesting Code of Practice which outlines the conditions under which grain harvesting and handling should occur in the paddock, including operating grain harvesters, vehicles involved in grain transport, and grain dryers and augers.

Know Your Code

In 2016, GPSA and the Country Fire Service launched the successful Know Your Code campaign which encourages growers to abide by the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice. 

The campaign provides a checklist for growers to ensure they are adhering to the on-farm actions of the code. These include to:

  • Comply with the two legislated requirements of the code:
    • When using a stationary engine to auger grain, a person who is able to control the engine must be present when it is in use, or an area of at least 4m around must be cleared.
    • It is legislated that producers must carry a shovel or rake, portable water spray, and ensure engine and exhaust systems comply with regulations.
  • Monitor weather conditions and forecasts to stop harvest when the local actual Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) exceeds 35.
  • Remove crop residues on machines.
  • Regularly maintain machinery before and during harvest, particularly wearing parts and bearings, and keep maintenance records.
  • Reduce build‐up of static electricity on machinery during harvest.
  • Have a well-maintained farm fire‐fighting unit with a minimum of 250 litres of water in the same paddock.
  • Establish fire breaks around paddocks or across the property.
  • Ensure all farm staff are bushfire ready with the correct fire‐fighting clothing and equipment and that there is a fire prevention and emergency response strategy in place.
  • Have immediate access to a UHF CB radio or mobile phone to report emergencies.
Five simple steps

The Know Your Code campaign encourages growers to take five simple steps to help reduce the risk of harvester fires: 1. Preparation, 2. Maintenance, 3. Monitoring, 4. Safe operations and 5. Communication.

These steps are detailed in the poster below. Click the poster to view in full screen.

Calculating the GFDI

The GFDI is a mathematical relationship between air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed and impacted by the curing factor, or greenness, of vegetation. It means a fire in conditions where the GFDI is 35 or above is unlikely to be controlled by a harvest operator's fire-fighting resources.

The GFDI is designed to be determined in the paddock and used in conjunction with other fire risk management measures, as outlined in the code. The code covers areas such as fire prevention, requirements for firefighting facilities to contain and extinguish a fire if it starts, and also conditions that harvest operations should cease (GFDI calculation).

When it comes to measuring the GFDI in real-time in the paddock, CFS and GPSA are encouraging growers to at least use a hand-held weather meter to measure wind speed and local conditions, or preferably a fixed or portable weather station, together with the Code of Practice and its Grain Harvesting Operations Table (below).

Table 1 calculates the average wind speed for different temperature and relative humidity combinations that equate to a GFDI of 35.

Table 1: Grain Harvesting Operations Table

For example, if the temperature is 35C, the relative humidity is 14% (round down to 10%) then harvest must stop when the average wind speed is greater than 26km/hr.


Click on the links below to download these resources:

The current SA Grain Harvesting Code of Practice - PDF document

Grain Harvesting Operations Table - available for download and as a sticker for your header (email GPSA)

Grain Producers SA and Country Fire Service Know Your Code checklist - PDF document

GRDC Back Pocket Guide: Reducing Harvester Fire Risk - PDF document (4mb)

GRDC ARTICLES and videos

GRDC video: Ben Wundersitz, Anna Binna, Maitland, on his preparation to reduce fire risk

GRDC article: Proactive approach to fire prevention on YP

GRDC article: Know Your Code before entering the paddock this harvest

GRDC article: Talking and personal connection important in tough times


Know Your Code case study: Adrian McCabe

For Mid North grain producer Adrian McCabe, the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice and corresponding Grassland Fire Danger Index is a simple guide for growers, transporters and receival sites for when to cease operations when conditions become too severe.

Read more about Adrian McCabe


Know Your Code: A CFS Perspective

The South Australian Grain Harvesting Code of Practice is a great example of industry and government working together to find practical solutions to an issue.

One of the required practices of the code is to suspend grain harvesting operations when the local actual Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) reaches 35.

Read more about how to take a hand-held weather reading


Last updated October 2018

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