Annual bushfire plan essential for Pfitzner

Annual bushfire plan essential for Pfitzner

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IAN Pfitzner follows the same bushfire plan each year - clearing space around his home and sheds, cleaning gutters and cutting overhanging branches.

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BUMPER BARLEY: Ian Pfitzner (right), Mulkirri, Mundulla West, is prepared for a bushfire. He is with Landmark Bordertown agronomist Hamish Verco.

BUMPER BARLEY: Ian Pfitzner (right), Mulkirri, Mundulla West, is prepared for a bushfire. He is with Landmark Bordertown agronomist Hamish Verco.

IAN Pfitzner follows the same bushfire plan each year - clearing space around his home and sheds, cleaning gutters and cutting overhanging branches.

"Bushfires are always in the back of my mind and I prepare the best I can.

"What happens after that is out of my control."

Mr Pfitzner, Mulkirri, Mundulla West, will manage any risk through the SA Grain Harvesting Code of Practice when he starts harvesting his 100-hectare Planet barley crop this week.

He said he would follow all actions outlined in the code in the spirit in which they were written - to prioritise the safety of people.

Mr Pfitzner expects his barley to yield 8 tonne a hectare to 10t/ha.

He also grows 100ha of lupins.

"It is one of the heaviest barley crops we have ever grown," said Mr Pfitzner, who farms with his son Sam.

"We will get a lot of grain out of that crop, for sure."

Mr Pfitzner said the barley had followed a bumper 2018 ryegrass and balansa clover hay crop, which was still green after Christmas and, therefore, had left a deep root system.

"The barley definitely benefited from that," he said.

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Mr Pfitzner retains all grain grown, as well as 400t to 500t of hay, for his 1800 weaner cattle and cross-bred lambs.

Landmark Bordertown agronomist Hamish Verco said he had noticed an increase in the sale of fire units since the devastating Sherwood fires in 2018.

"We had a big fire through here almost two years ago and I think it was a big wake up call for the landholders to be well prepared," he said.

"I have only been here since 2017, but have noticed more landholders coming in to replace older, inefficient fire equipment.

"A farmer came in today and bought a 4000-litre unit."

As harvest rolls on across the state, Grain Producers SA is urging growers to proactively manage the risks of fire danger.

GPSA chair Wade Dabinett said since its introduction more than 10 years ago, the code had worked well to reduce fires while enabling harvest operations based on conditions at a local level.

"Graingrowers need to be vigilant in protecting the safety of our families and workers, our communities and their volunteers and our businesses by ensuring we are proactive in managing risks," he said.

"We are asking growers to use common sense and to mitigate any risk that could start a fire - you do not want to be the person responsible for starting a big blaze."

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