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.

Growers are also reminded that pending changes to the Fire and Emergency Services Act mean that SA Police will soon have the power to direct that a producer’s harvesting operations cease where it may cause a fire. As part of this consideration, SA Police will have regard to whether producers are operating in accordance with the Code. This is expected to be brought into force in early 2021.


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.

Private Farm Fire Unit Handbook 

The SA CFS Private Farm Fire Unit Handbook supports local initiatives or arrangements currently in place and provides advice for establishing and maintaining a consistent approach to the use of private farm fire units (PFFU) during SA bushfire events. 

The handbook provides guidance as to fire ground safety and expectations, wearing of personal protective clothing, safety equipment, communications and personal injury protection. 

GPSA recommend that all PFFU operators familiarise themselves with the handbook in order to promote the safe, effective and cooperative involvement of farm fire units with the CFS, to control fire events in the shortest possible time. 

For more information on farm fire units, see the CFS website.



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

SACFS Private Farm Fire Unit Handbook - 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 November 2020