FSA warns of fire danger risks following first frost in Free State

Farmers are hoping for another three weeks of grace against the winter cold so that late crops can reach their full potential. Over the past three mornings frost has occurred in the low-lying parts of the Southern Free State already.

According to Johan Fourie, regional representative of Free State Agriculture (FSA), night temperatures in low-lying parts of Dewetsdorp, Wepener and Vanstadensrus have dropped low and frost has occurred over the past three nights. Fourie says that crops at this stage fortunately do not show any damage.

According to Kempen Nel, FSA’s Letsemeng regional representative, farmers in the Jacobsdal area hope for another three weeks without frost so that crops have sufficient time to dry.

Meanwhile, Dr Jack Armour, commercial manager of FSA, warns that farmers should be aware of fire hazard after the frost. “The good rains of the past season have contributed to good veld and growth conditions. However, the veld and especially tall grass along the roads pose a fire hazard.” warns Armour. “SANRAL has indicated that their contractors will only start cutting the grass from 14 May when no regrowth can take place.” said Armour. FSA therefore encourages fire protection associations (FPAs) to get their structures and equipment in place.

Armour also explains that the late rains that occurred in large parts of the Free State during December and January and that led to flood damage in some areas, had an influence on planting dates. “Many farmers’ initial plantings were washed away or were compacted and had to be replanted later. This has a major financial impact on farmers. So if frost occurs too early and the late plantings are also damaged, it will be a big blow to these farmers.”

VL waarsku oor brandgevaar en risiko’s na eerste ryp in Vrystaat

Boere hoop vir nog drie weke grasie tydperk teen die winterkoue, sodat gesaaides droog genoeg kan word om te oes. Ryp het die afgelope drie oggende in die laagliggende dele van veral die Suid-Vrystaat voorgekom.

Volgens Johan Fourie, streekverteenwoordiger van Vrystaat Landbou (VL), het nag temperature in laagliggende dele van Dewetsdorp, Wepener en Vanstadensrus laag gedaal en het ryp die afgelope drie nagte voorgekom. Fourie sê dat aanplantings op dié stadium gelukkig nie skade toon nie.

Aldus Kempen Nel, VL streekverteenwoordiger, hoop boere in die Jacobsdal-area op nog drie weke sonder ryp sodat aanplanting genoegsame tyd het om droog te word.

Intussen waarsku dr Jack Armour, kommersiële bestuurder van VL, dat boere bewus moet wees van  brandgevaar na die ryp. “Die afgelope seisoen se goeie reën het bygedra tot goeie veld- en groeitoestande. Die veld en veral hoë gras langs die paaie hou egter ’n brandgevaar in.” waarsku Armour. “Sanral het aangedui dat hul kontrakteurs eers vanaf 14 Mei die gras sal begin sny nadat dit behoorlik geryp het.” sê Armour. VL moedig daarom brandbeskermingverenigings (BBV’s) aan om hul strukture en toerusting in plek te kry.

Armour verduidelik ook dat die laat reën wat gedurende Desember en Januarie in groot dele van die Vrystaat voorgekom het en wat in sommige dele tot vloedskade gelei het, ’n groot invloed op aanplantings het. “Talle boere se aanvanklike aanplantings het verspoel en moes  oorgeplant word. Dit het ’n groot finansiële impak op boere. Indien dit dus te vroeg sou ryp en die laat aanplantings ook skade kry, sal dit vir talle boere ’n groot slag wees.”

Luister hier na dr Armour