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Reducing stubble burning is good for farms and trees: DELWP

Article Category  Ag and Environment
Date Published  Tuesday, March 19 2019
Photo  Wangara Consulting

Reducing stubble burning is good for farms and trees: DELWP
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is calling on landowners to protect paddock trees and small patches of native vegetation when burning stubble.

Grampians Regional Manager Natural Environment Programs, Michelle Butler, said that burning stubble can cause damage to paddock trees and that it should only ever be considered as a last resort option.

“Stubble burning is on a downward trend as more farmers recognise the benefits of improved farming practices such as stubble retention,” Ms Butler said.

“Conservation farming methods for managing weeds, pests and disease are far better for nutrient retention, soil health and moisture.

“Under limited circumstances, where burning stubble is required, it should be well-planned and approved through a local council permit,” she said.

“Strict adherence to grass and stubble burning permit conditions will ensure damage to native vegetation is avoided.”

Failure to comply with the conditions of the permit, including protection of paddock trees, may result in action being taken by the local council or government agencies.

DELWP recommends slashing around the base of the tree to establish an adequate fire break, removing any tree debris from the base of the tree or wetting the area around the tree before burning.

“Paddock trees are generally mature with little or no natural understorey and regeneration is extremely limited. They are irreplaceable in our life time,” Ms Butler said.

“These scattered, large old trees are beneficial for shade and shelter to livestock and soil retention.

“Paddock trees are used by birds such as raptors, bats and other animals for resting, feeding, protection from predators and as a stopover to larger stands of vegetation.

“Tree hollows, including those in dead trees, are used for nesting while fallen timber provides habitat for small ground-dwelling animals such as reptiles.”

Anyone requiring further information about stubble burning permits should contact their local council.


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