South Australian grain producers will be able to use either the Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) or the new Fire Behaviour Index (FBI) under the Harvest Code of Practice during this harvest, after an agreement was reached between Grain Producers SA (GPSA), the State Government and SA Country Fire Service (SACFS).
The new FBI was introduced on September 1, as part of the new Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS), which changes the calculation methodology and key cut off value for grain harvest to cease at an FBI 40, where previously the index and cut off value was stipulated as a GFDI 35.
SA CFS Chief Officer Brett Loughlin said it is important to note, that while the AFDRS includes significant new information regarding a range of different vegetation types, the data informing decision making by grain producers whether to harvest or not due to weather conditions remains relatively consistent.
GPSA Chief Executive Officer Brad Perry said it was pleasing to see a common-sense approach is being taken this harvest with grain producers still able to use the GFDI of 35.
For grain producers using the new FBI, SACFS has made available an online fire behaviour calculator – AURORA. The calculator can be found on the CFS website and once installed can be adjusted from 10 metres to two metres for guidance on a decision to cease harvesting.
For further information please visit https://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/plan-prepare/business-farms/farm-fire-safety-prevention/#grain
Quotes attributable to Joe Szakacs
I’m thankful for the strong commitment of GPSA to promote and support safe harvesting practices.
It is important that all grain producers are following the guidelines of either the GFDI or FBI accurately.
Quotes attributable to CFS Chief Officer Brett Loughlin
Growers can be reassured that whether they are using the FBI or the GFDI calculated at two metres height for the harvesting sites, they will be operating safely this season during harvest.
The CFS wants to ensure this year’s harvest occurs safety and efficiently, so after discussions with GPSA we will be allowing the use of the GFDI of 35 this harvest as the changeover period occurs to understand the new system.
The CFS recognises the uptake of the FBI will be progressive as producers become aware of and understand how the new system applies to their harvesting operations.
It is important to remind grain producers that they will face heavy penalties if they undertake harvest activities during dangerous conditions that are beyond the cease harvest triggers of FBI 40 or GFDI 35.
Quotes attributable to GPSA Chief Executive Officer Brad Perry
GPSA Chair Adrian McCabe and I met with the Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services and the SACFS Chief Officer and we reiterated the importance of ensuring there is a full education program and understanding of the new FBI cease harvest number of 40.
As a result, the SACFS has agreed that grain producers will be able to utilise the GFDI of 35 this harvest and for those who are aware of the new system, they can utilise the new FBI of 40.
With such a busy harvest ahead, grain producers are focused on getting on with the job in a safe manner and therefore, we support the continuation of the GFDI cease harvest number of 35.
GPSA will continue to work with the SACFS to ensure grain producers better understand the changes and align with the new system by next harvest.