As the 2021-22 fire danger season kicks off and harvest activities ramp up across SA, Grain Producers SA is calling on growers to familiarise themselves with the South Australian Grain Harvesting Code of Practice.
The Code of Practice 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.
GPSA Chair Adrian McCabe said it was integral growers abided by the voluntary code during harvest in order to maintain community trust and freedom to operate without the burden of legislation.
“Through our Know Your Code campaign, GPSA has distilled the code down into five simple steps growers can take to ensure they are compliant with the code and practising safe harvest activities,” he said.
“It’s important that we as growers all do the right thing and maintain the highest standards of fire safety or risk becoming regulated, just as those in other states are.”
The Know Your Code campaign encourages growers to take the following steps to help reduce the risk of harvester fires: preparation, maintenance, monitoring, safe operations and communication.
“Preparation includes establishing fire breaks across the property or in paddocks and ensuring all staff are appropriately trained in the event of a fire,” Mr McCabe said.
“A regular machinery maintenance program is essential before and during harvest, with particular attention on wearing parts and bearings.
“We also ask growers to monitor conditions against the Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) using a fixed or portable weather station and cease harvest activities if the GFDI reaches or exceeds 35.
“Safe operations include having someone present when using a stationary engine to auger grain or having a four-metre area cleared around the engine. It is legislated that growers must carry a shovel or rake and a portable water spray and they should have a fire-fighting unit with at least 250 litres of water in the paddock being harvested.
“Open communication with neighbours and others in your area is vital. We encourage growers to make the decision to pull up and cease harvesting as a community.”
Mr McCabe acknowledged the Country Fire Service’s farm fire-fighting unit (FFU) registration trial for the 2021-22 fire danger season, which would see FFU operators having to log on and off the fireground.
“The value of FFUs has been recognised in inquiries following the Cudlee Creek, Yorketown and Kangaroo Island fires,” he said.
“In fact, these inquiries identified the need to better coordinate FFUs with emergency services to ensure a common approach as well as the safety and welfare of everyone on the fireground.
“GPSA acknowledges there are some concerns among growers with this scheme, however, we believe there is considerable merit in the trial. GPSA wants to hear from growers involved in the trial so we can work with government to make changes in the future, if required.”
Further information and resources are available on the GPSA website, bit.ly/GPSA-KYC
For media interviews, contact Alistair Lawson, AgCommunicators, 0448 400 606