Researchers are analysing data from sensors set up inside a burning haystack to monitor changes in temperature.
It’s part of a Food Agility CRC collaborative research project with Charles Sturt University, IAG, WFI and Myriota examining what data is most essential to understanding haystack degradation as a precursor to fires.
Variables such as moisture at harvest and storage, sugar levels in the hay, aeration and temperature all play a part in the likelihood of a spontaneous combustion.
The research team will model existing and new data to identify the critical indicators that can lead to spontaneous combustion. With this information, farmers will have a better understanding of sensor configuration and placement within haystacks to generate timely alerts when haystacks are at an increased chance of combustion.
Project leader, Dr John Broster from Charles Sturt University explained what the team was looking for during a recent controlled burn of a haystack on the Global Digital Farm in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
“To evaluate the sensors and also to understand the changes of temperature within the haystack as the fire develops,” Dr Broster said.
“Within the stack we have seen temperatures reach up to 700 degrees Celsius.”
Later this year several haystacks across the Riverina will be individually monitored, with the data transmitted via Myriota developed satellite communication technology to a central monitoring and visualisation location.