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Burning Snails & Weed Seeds

Author Growing Solutions
Branding Ag Excellence
Credits SA No-Till Farmers Association
Video Transcript

Tradition of Burning Paddocks

Burning has been a traditional practice in farming for many years, however in the main a lot of people don’t want to burn. It’s a dirty job. It’s down time. It’s pollution, but most importantly, they’re losing their ground cover. People understand that energy is money these days and that keeping protection on top of their soil is super important in terms of erosion but also in productivity in particular in dry years.

I guess we’re still in a position we’re still evolving conservation farming systems and for any number of reasons such as resistent weeds seeds in the crop. or other pests which are very problematic like snails at the moment, is that people will burn and use that energy to actually help take out a pest that would otherwise be difficult to manage.

Snails are a huge issue and I guess it was really highlighted once we started to bring canola into the rotation and also stubble retention has seem to of increased or made a environment that the snails have liked and  enjoyed and being able to multiply quite rapidly. A lot of people in the area have gone back to burning stubbles just to try and get a control.

Moving from wholesale burning to strategic burning

So I think theres a cause for burning at times and I think what we are seeing now in terms of best practice is a change from wholesale burning, where we just burn the entire paddock, to more strategic types of burning, such as a windrow burning and I think this year we’ve seen a significant amount of wind row burning where people have taken the time to basically collect up their pest be that the weed seeds or the snails, and then just easily burn just that area, and I think that that makes a significant difference.

It certainly reduces the overall risk of wind and water erosion. and at the same time, you’re still able keep a reasonable amount of energy inside the paddock, and cover on the paddock and in the main get a kill on those pests, which is still more than satisfactory. We take the spinners and spreaders off the header at harvest time to put it in a big windrow from out the back of the header.

Burning Snails Helps Eliminate Weed and Rye Grass

We have a problem snails and slugs and also it helps another weed problem in rye grass, or any seeds that get collected in that wind row get burned as well. We’ll see how it goes in the future, whether we continue to do it because as we’re building up more stubble we might end up burning more than we really want to, so we’ll see how that pans out.

At the moment it’s a very good option for us and with such a high temperature burn with the oil in the canola rather than just a normal wind row with cereal straw the temperature’s almost ten-fold and it does a good job of killing everything in that wind row

Local farmers and experts speak to us about the increase in burning snails and weeds from paddocks prior to the commencement of the 2012 season.

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