Hay field ‘self-ignites’ in rare freak accident

Last week, James Barry – from Woodlawn, Co. Gaway – was hopping into his tractor to row up his field of hay, when he noticed smoke coming from an area of the field as it “self-ignited“.

“There was a couple of old glass bottles on the wall near where the fire started,” Barry told AgriLand.

He believes that this may have caused the fire to start in the hay field. The Woodlawn farmer indicated that he lost in the region of 80 to 100 small square bales as a result of the incident.

Lucky for James, a quick-thinking neighbour arrived on the scene with a slurry tanker filled with water and brought the blaze under control – saving some of the crop. The fire brigade arrived on the scene to ensure fire had been fully quenched.

Thankfully, no one was injured in the blaze and the Galway farmer said that his ordeal should be a lesson for other farmers on how easy fires can start – especially during prolonged spells of dry weather.

Meanwhile, the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) is warning contractors to be mindful of potential fire hazards.

In a recent Facebook post, the association highlighted the potential risks of overheating machinery.

The FCI advised operators to avoid a build-up of flammable material on machinery – including common hazardous materials such as crops, chaf, twine and net-wrap.

Special care must be shown around areas close to bearings, at the ends of baler rollers and around the slip-clutch, according to the FCI.

To counteract the dry conditions, operators are being advised to air hose balers at the end of each working day.