Hay warn­ing

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page -

With Farm­ers in the Be­nalla area and across the state cut­ting more hay to re­cover costs from a be­low-av­er­age grow­ing sea­son, CFA is re­mind­ing landown­ers to take ad­di­tional care when cut­ting, bal­ing and stor­ing hay this year.

CFA op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Peter Ded­man said cor­rect stor­age was im­por­tant along with mon­i­tor­ing stacks for heat in terms of pre­vent­ing hay fires.

Spon­ta­neous com­bus­tion can oc­cur when bac­te­ria grows within green or damp hay pro­duc­ing a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion that causes the hay bale to heat.

‘‘If your hay is green or not fully cured at the time of bal­ing, you could be set­ting your­self up for trou­ble right from the word go,’’ Mr Ded­man said.

‘‘When it comes to stor­age there are a num­ber of things you can do.

‘‘Pro­tect your hay stacks from wa­ter leaks, rain and mois­ture, but also pay at­ten­tion to air­flow by not stack­ing bales right to the top of the shed.’’

He also ad­vised farm­ers to store hay in sep­a­rate stacks and keep them smaller rather than larger in size.

‘‘That way you’ll avoid large losses if a fire does oc­cur,’’ he said. ‘‘By the same to­ken you should avoid stor­ing ve­hi­cles, ma­chin­ery and valu­able equip­ment in your shed along with the hay bales.

‘‘And of course con­tin­u­ous mon­i­tor­ing for heat is a good habit to get into, es­pe­cially in event of a thun­der­storm or rain show­ers.

‘‘My ad­vice would be to use a range of ways to de­tect heat rather than just a probe.

‘‘Us­ing a probe can be a bit hit and miss, look out for other signs, such as steam ris­ing from stack, mould or un­usual odour or slump­ing of the bales.

‘‘Re­mem­ber it only takes one bale in a stack to heat up and burn and you could lose the lot.’’

●●●Tips for pre­vent­ing hay fires or un­nec­es­sary losses:

Al­low for air­flow by not stack­ing hay right up against the roof of sheds.

Store hay in mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions or stacks to avoid large losses if a fire oc­curs. Never carry out work, such as weld­ing or grind­ing, near haystacks. Main­tain a break around stacks. Mon­i­tor stacks reg­u­larly and sep­a­rate if over­heat­ing.

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