The 2019 crop year was challenging for most producers in Mountain View County. The fall season saw cool temperatures, snow and excess moisture resulting in cessation or complication of harvest activities. Cleaning up the unharvested acres in the spring will be no small task. Farmers are evaluating options that could include harvesting, baling, grazing, mowing, chopping, residue stacking, tillage, harrowing or burning. Call your insurance provider before taking any action other than harvesting.
Burning of unharvested crop is usually as a last resort to remove crop residues prior to seeding as it does not provide any value from the crop, little-to-no effect on crop diseases, reduces soil organic matter, carbon and nitrogen, could increase soil erosion, permeability and affect air quality. However, the County respects that some farmers may be required to burn crop residue. Additional considerations are being recommended by Mountain View County to ensure crop or stubble burning is done in a safe manner while respecting that fire response may be delayed due to other emergencies or available personnel. When applying for a fire permit with the County consider the recommendations below and ensure that you contact your local Fire Department:
- Consult with AFSC or other Crop insurance providers if unharvested crop is being burned to confirm the plan to burn will not negatively impact your insurance.
- Double check Farm policy to ensure you have insurance coverage in the event that your fire gets out of control, or spreads to neighboring lands.
- Burn small areas at a time to minimize risk of escape or changing weather conditions.
- Till/cultivate the outside rounds of the field to create a fire break prior to burning and keep tillage equipment on standby during the burn.
- Monitor your burn at all times, do not leave your field while burning.
- Make sure smoke from the burn does not impact visibility on adjacent roadways.
- Be courteous to your neighbours and take into consideration the wind direction and the extent of the burn. We recommend that you notify your neighbours prior to a large burn to ensure they are aware of your plans and safety precautions in place.
- Have a plan to deal with any emergency, ensuring all necessary equipment is on site and a cell phone on hand to call 911 if fire escapes.
- Contact your closest responding fire department directly prior to burning.
For more information on un-harvested overwintered crops and concerns with burning please click the following link for various resources: https://www.mountainviewcounty.com/content/ag-news-spring-harvest-updates