In 2021, several Midwest states had a lack of rainfall and struggled with extremely dry conditions throughout much of the spring and summer. Forecasters say there could be similar weather this year, depending on the location.
Bridgette Readel is a territory manager for Corteva Agriscience in North Dakota, which faced severe drought for much of last year. She says it’s very important to stay safe in the field when conditions are so dry and to take steps to avoid field fires.
Readel says one of the most important things you and your customers can do to avoid field fires is to keep equipment clean.
“Keep equipment as free as possible from grease and oil — things that can be flammable on the equipment,” Readel says. “Also, remember to keep dry plant material off equipment whenever possible to prevent a spark from catching it. Additionally, equipment like tillage tools might cause a spark and ignite something.”
Readel says another good practice to remember is to keep vehicles out of areas like pastures and ditches that have tall, dry grass. She says a hot engine also can spark a fire.
Readel advises keeping a few important items with you while you work: a shovel to put out sparks, a fire extinguisher to put out small flames and a fully charged cellphone so you can call emergency services if needed.
As a retailer, you have an emergency plan in place. You know what to do if a fire breaks out. And, Readel says, this is a great time to review that plan with your employees and/or colleagues, especially if there are any new staff members. This way, you can make sure everyone knows what to do if something goes wrong.
Readel says this time of year also provides a good opportunity to talk with your farmers about their emergency plans. If necessary, you can help your customers plan how they will prevent fires on their operations and what they will do if a fire breaks out.
Finally, Readel says, one of the most important things you can do is stay focused in the field.
“As always, whenever you’re in the field, pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you see a small fire start, grab your fire extinguisher and make sure to put it out as quickly as you can. If things start to get bigger, grab your phone, call 911 and get help from your fire department,” Readel says. “Finally, if there is an area in the field that has already been burned out, go there to stay away from the flames; park equipment there. That area won’t burn twice, and you now have the opportunity to stay safe and out of the way.”
After you’ve watched the video above, be sure to visit Inputs & Insights on Corteva.us for expert advice as you prepare for a safe and successful spring 2022.
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