In previous posts I have mentioned digging fire breaks in preparation for burning off... well today was the day that we actually burnt some stuff. A few paddocks to be precise. The lads love burning off too and in the picture below one of the boys is dragging the fire stick (which is usually dragged alongside the ute) with the main fire burning across the paddock in front of him. I'll remind you that fire breaks have been made around the edges of the paddock, we also have 2 fire fighting units with over 1,500 litres of water, so this is a relatively safe practice.
The reasons for burning off in the past was to get rid of the grass on the paddock so the cultivation equipment could get through the paddock without getting blocked up. These days most farmers use equipment that can handle a lot of grass, or trash as it's known, so we don't need to burn for that reason any more. The reason we burn off now is to kill snails and destroy weed seeds. The fire has done a good job on the snails here. I'm going to plant peas in this paddock this year, and snails love peas, so the fewer there are for a start the better.
This one's been cooked
This is the after shot. All the grass is gone. Good work Son.
Not much left here.
We did 5 or 6 paddocks today so here are a couple of pictures from other paddocks. I forgot to mention that there is a bit of a system to burning off. I always start on the side of the paddock that the wind is blowing towards and burn the row of grass that was raked up when I made the fire break. Then I come back along that same side a few more meters into the paddock and let that strip burn to the fire break on the edge. That gives me a nice wide break and then if the wind isn't too strong I can light up the grass row (with the fire stick in the top picture) all the way around the paddock, and usually if there is enough grass on the paddock, the fire will burn all the way across the paddock. If the fire isn't likely to carry, or the wind is too strong, I will cross back and forth across the paddock parallel to the first burn, lighting smaller strips until the paddock is done. Often another person will drag a metal rake (like a heavy garden rake) with burning grass to light smaller patches of grass that haven't ignited by them selves.
There is someone dragging a rake in this picture, just burning the last patch in the paddock that hasn't quite burnt.
Other jobs today included feeding 1 mob of sheep over on Bob's, checking on the progress of the repairs to the Kenworth and tipper, organising a shuttle (1000ltr water container) and after burning off adjusting a few more tynes on the air seeder bar out to 12inch spacing.