Grain producers may burn stubble as part of paddock preparation for seeding to improve passage of seeding equipment. In addition, stubble is burnt to reduce disease, weed seeds (particularly weed populations with herbicide resistance) and pests including snails.
Smoke from stubble and other burning may affect grapes still on the vine as the components of smoke binds to compounds in the grapes, giving the wine a smoky, ashy 'taint', an undesirable characteristic that can make the wine unsaleable.
Effective communication regarding scheduled burn offs - between grain producers, local government and the grape and wine industry - can greatly reduce the risk of smoke taint in grape harvests.
Grain producer communication requirements
- Apply for a fire permit for private land burn offs during the fire danger season. This allows your local council to communicate all scheduled burn offs to relevant people in the grape and wine industry.
- If you are planning a stubble burn outside of the fire danger season, check with your neighbouring grape growers to see if they have any grapes for harvest that could be affected by smoke from the burn.
Grape and wine industry communication requirements
- Notify your local council and/or local grain producers of your grape locations and predicted harvest dates - you can use the email template provided below.
Local council communication requirements
- Communicate scheduled burn offs to relevant people in the grape and wine industry - you can use the email template provided below.
Fire permits for private land burn offs
You must apply for a fire permit for private land burn offs during the fire danger season. Permits are issued by your local council, in close connection with the SA Country Fire Service (CFS).
Fire permits for private land burn offs are not required outside of the fire danger season unless a total fire ban in declared.
Fire danger season dates
Depending on the fire ban district, the fire danger season usually finishes mid-April, and state wide by 30 April.
Season dates are often extended, due to above or below average weather conditions.
We recommend to check the CFS website prior to planning burns to see what conditions and requirements you need to observe.
2019 fire danger season extended
CFS has extended the 2019 fire danger season in 9 districts to finish as late as 12 May 2019.
Check the CFS website for updated information for your district.
How to safely burn stubble
The South Australian Country Fire Service Broad Acre Stubble Burning Code of Practice serves as a guide to the South Australian farming community to assist in the practice of safe broad acre stubble burning.
The advice regarding the conditions which may cause smoke taint is currently under review.
The following email templates have suggested wording for email communication from:
- local council to grape and wine industry ()
- grape and wine industry to local council or grain producers ().
Dave Lewis - Senior Industry Adviser
Agriculture Food and Wine
Phone: (08) 8429 0472