Home News Free State farmers warned: Frost raises fire danger

Free State farmers warned: Frost raises fire danger

Three more weeks. That is what farmers in the eastern Free State are praying for after a few consecutive nights of frost. Late crops are yet to reach its full potential while firefighters have been placed on high alert

-

- Advertisement -

Farmers in the Free State are keeping their fingers crossed for another three weeks without frost so that threatened crops have sufficient time to dry.

This, coupled with veld and especially tall grass along the roads posing a fire hazard, have farmers and organised agriculture on high alert.

Free State Agriculture (FSA) warns of a potential fire danger risk with farmers in the province hoping for just three weeks of grace against the winter cold.

Frost and fire alert: Regional representative of Free State Agriculture, Johan Fourie. Photo: Supplied/FSA
Regional representative of Free State Agriculture, Johan Fourie. Photo: Supplied/FSA

This is so that late crops can reach their full potential. Over the past four mornings, frost has occurred in the low-lying parts of the southern Free State already.

Regional FSA representative Johan Fourie explained that night temperatures in low-lying parts of Dewetsdorp, Wepener and Vanstadensrus have significantly dropped, creating frost in the process.

Fortunately, at this stage no crop damage has been reported.

FSA’s Letsemeng regional representative, Kempen Nel, says farmers in the Jacobsdal area hope for three weeks without frost so that crops have sufficient time to dry.

Fire protection associations on stand-by 

Meanwhile, Dr Jack Armour, commercial manager of FSA, warns that farmers should be aware of a fire hazard after the frost.

“The good rains of the past season have contributed to good veld and growth conditions. However, the veld and especially tall grass along the roads pose a fire hazard.”

Frost and fire alert: Dr Jack Armour, commercial manager of Free State Agriculture. Photo: Supplied/FSA
Dr Jack Armour, commercial manager of Free State Agriculture. Photo: Supplied/FSA

FSA encourages fire protection associations to get their structures and equipment in place in the wake of the frost-related fire danger.

“The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has indicated that their contractors will only start cutting the grass from 14 May when no regrowth can take place,” Armour says.

Armour also explains that the late rains that occurred in large parts of the Free State during December and January had an influence on planting dates. Earlier, this also led to flood damage in some areas.

“Many farmers’ initial plantings were washed away or were compacted and had to be replanted later. This has a major financial impact on farmers. So, if frost occurs too early and the late plantings are also damaged, it will be a big blow to these farmers.”

ALSO READ: Tears of joy and sorrow after heavy rains across SA

- Advertisement -
Duncan Masiwa
Duncan Masiwa
DUNCAN MASIWA is a budding journalist with a passion for telling great agricultural stories. He hails from Macassar, close to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where he first started writing for the Helderberg Gazette community newspaper. Besides making a name for himself as a columnist, he is also an avid poet who has shared stages with artists like Mahalia Buchanan, Charisma Hanekam, Jesse Jordan and Motlatsi Mofatse.
44,639FansLike
4,809FollowersFollow
10,334FollowersFollow
428SubscribersSubscribe

EVENTS CALENDAR

Must Read

The vast mushroom kingdom could play an important role in tackling the planets's problem with plastic, believe researchers. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

No jokes! This mushroom actually eats plastic waste

Since the 1950s, humans have created over nine billion tonnes of plastic. A total of 9% has been recycled, while only 12% has been...