View & Print Coupons
  • |
  • |
Please insert a friend's information that you would like send an email to.
Friend's Email Address:  
Friend's Name:
Your Email Address:
Your Name:
Special Message:

Agricultural Burning - A Benefit to be Treated With Caution


agriculture field burningFire, although incredibly destructive, is also one of nature's primary tools for renewal. Agricultural burning, also commonly known as prescribed burning, is a very effective land management tool. If it is used properly a prescribed fire can be used to:

  • Reduce the build up of dangerous fuel for wildfires
  • Control disease in young pine trees
  • Improve wildlife habitat
  • Manage range land
  • Preserve endangered plant and animal species
  • Maintain ecosystems that are dependent on fire for their renewal

Burning has long been a tool for the farmer or forestry worker and is still a widespread practice today. For example, the Florida Division of Forestry (FDF) says that its prescribed fire program is one of the most active in the U.S. In an average year, says the FDS, the division will issue around 113,000 prescribe fire authorizations and that approximately two million acres of Florida land will be treated by fire every year.

Field BurningWhile getting a prescribed fire right can be beneficial, getting a prescribed, or worse, an unprescribed fire, wrong can be disastrous. Aside from the potentially deadly threat of a fire getting out of control an incorrect burn could:

  • Make a fire burn too hot if the fire is set during unfavorable weather conditions; a fire that is too hot could expose mineral soil that could lead to soil erosion
  • Affect areas that are sensitive to smoke
  • Allow a fire to enter filter strips or primary Streamside Management Zones (SMZs)
  • Inflict damage on forest soils that are eroded where the depth of the litter is less than half an inch
  • Damage or destroy beneficial plant and insect populations

Also, constructing water bars in firebreak lines that could divert runoff into streams should be avoided.
The United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) has made recommendations on an agricultural burning policy, "The AAQTF Agricultural Burning Policy recommends that states and tribes adopt a smoke management program (SMP) to reduce the public health and welfare impacts of using burning in agricultural production. The SMP is implemented through an agricultural burning manager (ABM), the air quality agency or designated authority responsible for managing agricultural burning at the state, local, or tribal level." The AAQTF says that the policy is based upon two principles to:

  • Allow the use of fire as an accepted management practice, consistent with good science, to maintain agricultural production."
  • Protect public health and welfare by mitigating the impacts of air pollution emissions on air quality and visibility.

Field burningIndividual states will have their own regulations and permit issuing criteria for a prescribed burn. Therefore, the initial point of contact for information or a permit should be addressed through the appropriate state's department of agriculture. Factors taken into account in order to achieve a successful prescribed burn should be:

  • To comply with any smoke management guidelines, including monitoring the fire after the burn
  • Have effective and adequate fire-fighting equipment available and also to have appropriate levels of manpower on hand to use it
  • Time the burn to coincide with higher moisture levels to prevent the humus layer being burned away
  • To set firebreaks on contours, if possible
  • To construct water bars in firebreak lines at frequent intervals on grades which are over five per cent and longer than 200 ft. This will slow surface runoff
  • To use hand tools if and when necessary to tie firebreak lines into stream channels

A prescribed burn should only be attempted by experienced personnel, although many states have programs and regulatory authorities that can provide assistance in planning your prescribed burn. If you have not run a prescribed burn before there are specialist private contractors and consultants available to hire.

Useful Links to State Agriculture Departments.

Maryland (www.mda.state.md.us)
West Virginia (www.wvagriculture.org)
Kentucky (www.kyagr.com)
Virginia (www.vdacs.virginia.gov)
North Carolina (www.ncagr.gov)
South Carolina (www.state.sc.us/scda)
Alabama (www.agi.state.al.us)
Georgia (http://agr.georgia.gov)
Florida (www.doacs.state.fl.us)


Related Products

GridList

Southern States Black Oil Sunflower Seed 20 lb
COMPARE
$9.97
Southern States Black Oil Sunflower Seed 20 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Southern States Wild Bird Food 10 lb
COMPARE
$4.99
Southern States Wild Bird Food 10 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Southern States Tall Fescue Grass Seed 20 lb
COMPARE
$42.99
Southern States Tall Fescue Grass Seed 20 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Imperial Whitetail Clover 4 lb
COMPARE
$35.99
Imperial Whitetail Clover 4 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Rhubarb Swiss Chard
COMPARE
Starting At
$2.99
Rhubarb Swiss Chard
Check Store Availability
Add to Cart
Check Store Availability
Imperial Whitetail No-Plow Wildlife Seed Blend 9 lb
COMPARE
$35.99
Imperial Whitetail No-Plow Wildlife Seed Blend 9 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Imperial Whitetail Winter-Greens 3 lb
COMPARE
$35.99
Imperial Whitetail Winter-Greens 3 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Imperial Whitetail PowerPlant Spring/Summer Wildlife Food Plot 25 lb
COMPARE
$64.99
Imperial Whitetail PowerPlant Spring/Summer Wildlife Food Plot 25 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Imperial Whitetail Pure Attraction 26 lb
COMPARE
$39.99
Imperial Whitetail Pure Attraction 26 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Imperial Whitetail Winter-Greens 12 lb
COMPARE
$99.99
Imperial Whitetail Winter-Greens 12 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Imperial Whitetail Clover 18 lb
COMPARE
$139.95
Imperial Whitetail Clover 18 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Imperial Whitetail Double-Cross 18 lb
COMPARE
$139.99
Imperial Whitetail Double-Cross 18 lb
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability


Product availability and pricing may vary by location.
These products may be purchased at your local store.
Images are representative only. Color and size may vary.
Your Current Store:

You will see pricing and specials based on this store.