Why Do Farmers Burn Fields?
Farmers apply numerous methods to boost crop productivity, ranging from practicing seasonal soil rotation, ensuring proper water drainage to adopting technology and innovations. However, have ever you thought about burning fields to increase agricultural productivity? If you are curious to know why do farmers burn fields, what are the right conditions for burning fields and why is burning fields become common, do not miss out on my article below.
Why do farmers burn fields?
Fire is very dangerous because it can cause houses, trees, and many other things to burn into ashes. However, throughout history fire has played a vital role in land management.
At the end of the growing season, plants will leave a lot of straw stubble and dead matter on the ground. These things are not easy to be decomposed overnight. Fire breaks down plant matters and releases the nutrients to help promote future plant growth.
Controlled burns (also known as prescribed burns) are used to put nutrients back into the soil and revitalize the land. These controlled burns are applied to roadside ditches so that dead plant matter can build up quickly.
Furthermore, fires can help seed new plants. Many kinds of seeds have a thick outer shell, thus they need to be broken before the seed begins to germinate. Fire break this shell then the seed can lay in a nutrient-rich bed before start growing.
The main goal of using prescribed burns is healthy soil. The next main goals of using fire are brush and weed control. Fires can manage the grasslands as well as control ticks and parasites that may infect livestock that grazes on the land.
What are the right conditions for burning fields?
Burning the fields depend on various factors: wind direction, soil moisture, temperature, the right stage of plant growth.
If it is blustery, the fire may burn out of control. If there is no wind, the fire cannot be predictable. If the field is too dry, it can spread quickly but rainy weather leaves fields too wet to burn.
The ideal conditions for burning fields are typically days from July to September and wind speeds at 4 to 15 mph. Farmers have to set schedule carefully for a time when the fire will not pose a threat to the public or to property.
Why are burning fields more common in certain areas?
In some places, the soil has high clay content which is prone to drainage and compaction problems. Therefore, burning fields becomes an ideal option than tillage.
Certain areas that have the clay soils around are like Winnipeg produce high yielding crops, which means a huge number of straws are released. This makes it more difficult to put the straws into the soil.
For this reason, burning farming has been a traditional practice for farmers in some areas. New agricultural technology, however, can make it possible to incorporate all residues into the soil.
What tools are needed for burning fields?
In addition to having the correct weather conditions, it is essential to have proper and adequate burning equipment. Normally, farmers need a lawnmower or larger machinery to clear away burnable matter around the edges of the field.
The most widely used tool in burning fields is a drip torch. A mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline in drips cause flames spread easily. The ratio may vary by preference and air temperature but usually ranges between 30:70 to 50:50 gasoline: diesel. Using a drip torch requires safety and some personal experience as well.
Moreover, shovel or flapper can be utilized to construct firebreak, suppress low-intensity fires, and dig out stuck vehicles. Individuals should wear clothing that is safe and comfortable but does not limit their mobility: face protectors, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and pants made of fire retardant material.
Why does burning fields not get out of control?
The most important step in burning fields is monitoring the weather conditions. Plus, personnel should have the training and experience to know when a burn would be unsafe. If the prescription which includes personnel, weather conditions, equipment is not appropriate, do not start the fire.
Before the burn, the edges of the field need to be mowed short, watered down, and plowed up to leave a strip of ground that will not catch fire easily: the fireline. On the inside of the strip, the burn crew will burn the edges of the field to enlarge the unburnable area.
Consequently, the firelines need to be broad and clear that the flames on the inside will not enable them to burn their way across.
Although fire might initially cause ugly, charred pieces of land, it is an important tool to create lush and fresh vegetation. Hope the article brought valuable and useful information about why do farmers burn fields, what tools are needed for burning fields, and other questions associated with burning fields.
After you know this knowledge, I am sure you can discuss this with the farmers, and they will be surprised by your knowledge.
If your loved one is a farmer, let’s buy for them a gift from our list of farmer gift ideas here!