Proposed changes to Grain Harvest Code will have huge ramifications for our grain industry

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services and Member for Hammond, Adrian Pederick MP together with Shadow Minister for Primary Industries the Hon Nicola Centofanti MLC are standing with South Australian farmers and Grain Producers SA in opposing the proposed changes to the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice. 

The changes put forward by the CFS seek to reduce the Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) cease harvest number to 40 at 10 metres - the equivalent of approximately 28 at two metres. 

Mr Pederick said the current practice of ceasing harvest when the GFDI reaches 35 at two metres has been adhered to without issue since the Code was formed and does not believe the changes are necessary. 

"Most farmers describe the low 30s as optimal harvesting weather so to introduce changes this close to harvest commencing will be a real challenge and restrict the number of hours farmers can harvest," Mr Pederick said.

"I am also concerned that reducing the GFDI to 28 will risk extending harvest into the hottest months of January and February and increase the chances of grain quality being affected or crops being lost completely."

This proposed change will double the amount of lost time for farmers at a critical time of the year and has the potential to result in farmers spending long periods in headers during acceptable weather conditions, increasing the risk of driver fatigue.

"Reducing the window in which harvest can occur only adds to the fatigue and stresses that farmers already face during a busy harvest period. Operator safety is of critical importance, ensuring our farmers get back to their loved ones," Mr Pederick said. 

Dr Centofanti says it should remain a farmer-driven model as it has been for the past decade.

"If these changes go ahead there will be massive implications for our $4.6 billion grain industry and I am worried that these implications have not been fully thought through," she said.

Mr Pederick said that are calling on Minister Joe Szakacs to listen to the farming community. 

"With harvest so close we urge the Minister for Emergency Services to listen to grain producers so that he can understand the ramifications this proposal will have before making any decisions." 

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  • Adrian Pederick