After two years of La Nina and plenty of rain we haven't had significant
rain in three months. But clever people still want to burn their pasture
... sigh. Let's have a big round of applause for the (all volunteer) Rural
Fire Service who have to deal with such nonsense on the ground.
As well as bushfires there are some local wildlife and garden shots here
we get knuckleheads like that around here too.
they'll pick the windiest days to burn ditches
or leaves or trash...
i'll even believe a fire started by lightning
here or there too, but some are started by cigarettes
tossed out windows of cars in passing and that's
someone being just plain brainless during a drought.
do they let some of the fires burn freely if
they don't threaten houses or are all fires
it looks like you are surrounded by nice
green pastures. :)
Their activity is pretty well proportional to the risk of damage to property
or loss of life. In some cases the terrain is so difficult there is no
access so they cannot do anything on the ground anyway. Such areas do not
have much in the way of property or people but if (say) a wind comes up and
threatens to blow the fire towards a town they will water-bomb the forest to
try to save the town. These people are not only unpaid but they can be away
from work for days losing pay. An employer who didn't let them go would
probably be lynched.
I am in a beef cattle area where there are many landholders who still do
things the way that Grandpa did. Every Spring just before the expiry of the
burn-without-permit season they burn their paddocks. They overstock and use
set stocking in big paddocks and don't mind if their bulls cover their own
offspring. It's a time warp.
True. They join up because they loooove fire. Its like the priests and
Brothers who teach because they loooove little kids. The same penalty
should apply but Cardinal Pell will keep it behind the seal of the
Yep. I put the house in the centre of a 5 ha paddock with no forest nearer
than 150m and no tree nearer than 60m and I paid for steel/hardieplank
instead of wood and I mow all round. During this episode, which was mainly
on a neighbour's place, I was taking pictures not waving a hose and
worrying. Should freak conditions arise where fire might cross the gap I'm
staying to defend. I have enough water to soak everything for days.
LOL. It sounds like it. We know one grazier who has a closed herd and his
cattle are pathetic, but he's the only one. His ancestor was one of the
more famous conservative Colonial parsons so I've always thought that might
be his excuse for such dim behaviour.
Yeah. Bastard priests and also those who went into politics after thinking
the priesthood might be an option.
Well done. I'm still planning to do a plan. But I have sent Himself off to
the tip today with 2 trailer loads of tree trimmings and he's changing the
oil in the tractor because he's been slashing. Once things hay off, I'm
going ot kmake sure all tanks are filled frequently and all hoses are laid
out. I might even get him to move a tank that is on a hill and doing
nothing useful into a better, closer position where it can be gravity fed in
case of danger.
if the genes are weak then the inbreeding will make
i don't understand the burning thing though, as it
puts nutrients into the air instead of into the cow.
perhaps they breathe it in like people who smoke
herbal cigarrettes for their health...
sounds sensible in a brushfire area. congrats.
Actually burning is quite beneficial to the soil because it adds (if I
recall correctly) phoshorus to the soil (although it may be another, or even
a number of other nutrients). Australian Aboriginals and many other native
peoples did it as a 'farming' technique as after the burning, grass grew
strongly and brought in grazing animals that they then killed for food.
It's not a good technique though in fire prone areas and quite antisocial
these days because of pollution.
Burning only adds phosphorus to the soil if it is present in what you burn.
This is the basis of slash and burn agriculture where the nutrients in trees
are released allowing a crop to grow in the ashes. In Oz which tends to
have phosphorus impoverished soil the P is held mainly in the trees, burning
the forest releases this. So our white forebears used fire to clear forest
and increase fertility at the same time but then found that the great crops
they got in the first year or two couldn't be sustained. S&B only works if
you have plenty of forest to move on to when the current patch becomes
exhausted, which was fine for the aboriginals who lived at a low population
density and were ready to move as required.
Burning pasture doesn't achieve anything like that, you are much better
slashing with a mulcher which retains nutrients and carbon in the soil. The
perpetrators are seduced by the apparent reduction of weeds and the nice
flush of new growth you can get if there is rain afterwards but in the long
run it's a loser as volatile nitrogen compounds are lost and so is soil
carbon. But as one neighbour put it "its fun".
Well as I mentioned, I don't recall what it sis that is added so perhaps it
But you mentioned your grazier neighbours who were burning pasture. That is
not slash and burn agriculture.
Of course it's a loser in the long run, but as I said, it does add
nutrients. Anyone who does it annually is a total nong and anyone who does
do it, but doesn't ensure they do a low heat burn
is also a nong.
right, slash and burn agriculture is a completely
different thing than pasturage as also would be the
burning of wild areas for encouraging native
species and those who must have fire for completing
their life cycle.
the point of "adding" anything to the soil by
burning is more like the changing the accessibility
of the nutrient, but like you say that only works
if there is rain shortly afterwards. the greater
the gap between burn and rain the more likely
there is a breeze to take the ashes away. a heavy
rain means runoff which puts a lot of those freed
up nutrients into the streams. there really isn't
a whole lot of good about slash and burn compared to
other things that can be done. even taking the
brush and burying it will at least keep the carbon
and nutrients nearer the place where they were
formed instead of exporting them into the air or
into the streams.
but to get to pasturage, burning during a drought
exposes more of the soil surface to drying winds
and the heat of the sun. plus removing any of the
dry stalks that can soak up some of the extra
water if a heavy rain comes along, protecting the
soil from the rain drop impacts (reducing compaction),
erosion protection... it's just so completely
and boneheadedly wrong.
It's just slackness, there are plenty of reasons not to inbreed to that
degree they just cannot be bothered managing their herd properly.
This is also slackness, burning is cheaper than slashing or many other
pasture management practices. Yes it reduces the nutrients (especially N
whose compounds are often volatile) but it also reduces soil organic content
which reduces the capacity of the soil to hold both nutrients and water. It
also favours rank grasses and some weeds which are better adapted to fire
than more nutritious grasses.
I have friends who built in a eucalyptus forest because they like the
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