Stubble management

Responsible Stubble Management

Stubble burning is an important tool for rice growers, but smoke can affect local communities when poor practices are used.
Every incident that negatively affects local communities puts your right to burn at risk.
Take care to minimise the effects of stubble burning by preventing smoke from covering nearby towns, neighbouring dwellings or roads.
Link to the Stubble Burning infographics.

Fact Sheet - Responsible Stubble Management.

Top 10 tips for Best Practice stubble burning

1. Contacting the RFS to notify them of your intention to burn. 

2. Contacting your neighbours. 

3. Ensuring adequate fire breaks are in place to avoid fire escapes and protect paddock trees.

4. Having fire-fighting equipment on site.

5. Being prepared to sow the paddock as soon as possible after burning. This will minimise the risk of soot and ash being blown into neighbouring houses or places of work. There have been incidents where strong wings after burning have contaminated houses, water supplies and caused respiratory illness for family members for residents living close to burnt fields.

6. Burning as close as possible to the middle of the day so that burning can be completed before early evening when an inversion layer (low mixing height) is likely. Recommended burning window is between 11am and 4pm.

7. Checking the ‘mixing height’ information in the MetEye section of the of the Bureau of Meteorology’s website. This provides excellent information on current and predicted burning conditions including wind speed and direction.

8. Burning dry stubble; mulching and leaving to dry for at least 4 days in warm conditions will create a cleaner burn and reduce the volume of smoke. If stubble is not mulched the drying time will be longer and burning should be delayed accordingly.

9. Avoiding burning when winds are variable i.e. when winds are gusting and varying in direction. Wind speeds of 5 to 25 km/hr are best. Strong winds can lead to fire escapes. 

10. Avoiding burning when the wind direction is towards towns or other residential areas. This will reduce the chance of affecting others, including the likelihood of human respiratory problems.

If the wind direction changes sending smoke over roads call 000 immediately. They will refer the call to the local authorities who will advise of what action to take.

Burning tool from BOM (Access via desktop)

Check for suitable burning conditions using a new weather tool on the Bureau of Meteorology’s website. The Bureau’s ‘mixing height’ information is used by fire authorities when determining appropriate conditions for hazard reduction burns and is an excellent tool for farmers when planning for stubble burning.
How to find mixing height information
1. Visit the MetEye section of the BOM website.
2. Click on the ‘Wind Forecasts’ tab on the left of screen.
3. A button offering the ‘mixing height’ option will appear – click on this.
4. Use the zoom function to zoom into your location on the map, and the arrow above the map to get a forecast for burning conditions over coming days.

Wind direction information
5. Another button under ‘Wind Forecasts’ is ‘speed + direction’. Again use the zoom function for your location and the arrow above the map for a forecast over coming days.

What to look for
6. Using the ‘mixing height’ tool, look for dark orange and red as indicators of the best conditions for burning.
7. Using the wind ‘speed + direction’ tool, look for wind direction to avoid local towns and roads, and light blue colours for the right wind speed.