Spring is one of the busiest times on a farm and it’s not just farmers making the most of the improved weather. Birds are active building their nests, often in tractors or farm machinery motors, which poses a fire risk if it goes undetected.
Birds like to nest in any dry, accessible place in a tractor or other farm machinery including engines and exhausts which warm as the engine is started and operated. The birds use dry nesting materials which presents a significant fire risk as the dry material used to build the nests is highly combustible and easily ignited.
While all birds like to nest, tractors and machinery are most at risk from starlings which roost all year round but are particularly active during Spring. The birds are capable of building nests in under 30 minutes which can result in a nest being built in a warm tractor over lunch.
Although NZI’s Rural Motor Policy can provide you with some assurance with full cover for fire damage, losing a key farm vehicle during Spring can certainly disrupt the business’s operation. This disruption can hinder the farms efficiency and can potentially be damaging to your business’s reputation.
In order to minimise this risk; farmers need to be vigilant in checking their tractors and machinery during the nesting season. As well as the engines and exhausts birds like to nest in switchboards, heaters and light fittings.
Regularly inspect your tractors and machinery, taking care to check under the hood before you start the farm vehicles. This includes after lunch and extended breaks, particularly when starlings are about.
NZI’s National Manager – Rural, Jon Watson shared some tips on how farmers can mitigate these risks.
“Regularly inspect your tractors and machinery, taking care to check under the hood before you start the farm vehicles. This includes after lunch and extended breaks, particularly when starlings are about.”
“Keep tractors, harvesters and agricultural equipment clean. Clear out grass and grime build up in engines periodically using an air compressor blower.”
“Ensure switchboards are enclosed wherever possible and are not easily accessible for nest building.”
“Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the cab should a fire start to provide vital first aid fire protection.”
Maintaining vigilance and taking some preventative steps, particularly during Spring can help greatly reduce the risk of a fire in your machinery and help minimise the risk and potential business disruption to your farm.