Every year without fail, the season brings with it a rash of tractor fires on farms. For the benefit of our city readers, here's how it works: Spring = birds = birds make nests = tractors make hay = hay is neat stuff to make nests out of = tractor engines have lots of nice dark recesses in which to build nests = birds build nests in tractors = tractor engine overheats = fire. Not a happy equation.
This season is as busy for farmers as it is for insurers. Fire is a big deal on a farm. Hay is being made, fields are being ploughed and seeds are being planted ready for the year ahead. Tractors are needed for all this preparation and even if an insurance policy covers Loss of Use, most farmers would rather carry on working than deal with the disruption. After all there’s always so much to be done on the farm.
It takes most birds just 17mins to build a nest so here’s some advice to help farmers prevent tractor fires and avoid interruption:
- Keep making noise. Not every tractor fire is started by a bird, but many are. So make noise to keep birds out of tractors and barns and be sure to visually inspect your equipment before you use it just in case a sparrow has snuck in and made a nest.
- Clean tractors, harvesters and any agricultural equipment after use. High pressure hoses are good for this. Crack open the bonnet and clean the engine area. Heavy use of equipment at this time can coat the engine in chaff and grime, a build up of which can cause the engine to overheat and catch fire. We see this as often as we see birds’ nests cause a blaze.
- Allow equipment to cool down before storing it in your barn overnight. If a tractor is lost it disrupts the farm, but it can be devastating if a fire spreads to the barn, stored animal feed, tools or other equipment or vehicles.
- Apply Wingo Bird Repellent to engine bay and other obvious nesting areas. Wingo gel remains stable to a very high heat point and the cinnamon smell will put birds of approaching the tractor long term.