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Preventing Hay Fires

Fire is a destructive force that can strike at any moment, and while hay may not be the first thing to come to mind in terms of fire hazards, it is very important to be able to both prevent and react to a hay fire if one does arise.

The first and most surefire way to prevent loss of labor, capital or worse is to prevent a fire altogether. First off, know that hay fires are not necessarily ignited by traditional sources—like lightning. Instead, hay fires often start with bacterial or other micro-organismic infestations. These two entities can produce gases that are highly combustible. So, contrary to what one may assume, it is imperative to keep hay dry, as damp hay becomes a breeding-ground for bacteria. Some means of keeping hay dry are to shield it from rain and to keep it out of flood basins.

A way to diminish the possible damage incurred by a hay fire, if one does occur, is to keep bails spread out and away from valuables. A large quantity of hay in one small space allows for the rapid growth of a fire. Further, keeping materials and machinery near a source of ignition will result not only in the loss of hay, but other resources, as well.

If hay is becoming warm and may be on the verge of lighting on fire, one should make sure to spread it out. This way, more surface area will be exposed to the cooling outside air. Also, even if hay can be salvaged from the early onset of a fire, it is probably for the best to not use it as livestock feed. The hay will be just as filling, but will be lacking in nutrients.

The most basic methodology for preventing hay fires is as follows: Keep the hay dry, but cool at the same time. This way, the hay will neither be susceptible to bacterial infection (which is the primary source of hay fire) or problems associated with overheating. Understanding how to avert hay fires, as well as respond to one, is essential in preventing the loss of not only the crop itself, but property and money. Farmers should not have to fret about their hay lighting on fire, and a few basic steps will make this prospect a virtual non-issue.

 

Posted By: The Hay Manager

Posted on: 07/31/2015
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