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

GPSA and the Country Fire Service have launched a new campaign encouraging growers to ‘Know Your Code’.

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

  • Monitor weather conditions and forecasts to stop harvest when the local actual Grassland Fire Danger Index 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.
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. When it comes to calculating the GFDI, growers should at least use a hand-held weather meter to measure wind speed and local conditions, together with the Code of Practice and its Grain Harvesting Operations Table (below).

Data can be used from automated weather stations – such as through the Bureau of Meteorology or NRM Boards – but note that these take wind speed measurements at 10 metres for bushfire management purposes. There is a range of smartphone apps available as well for GFDI calculation.

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

Other stories and videos

Anna Binna's Ben Wundersitz on his preparation to reduce fire risk - video from GRDC

Ben Wundersitz, Derek Tiller and Richard Konzag on their preparation to reduce fire risk - GRDC Ground Cover story

Growers encouraged to get a plan of attack to reduce harvester fire risk - GRDC Paddock Practices story

All hot topics