When it comes to the ingenuity of farmers in dealing with the various conditions that beset the prairies, look no further than Alameda-area producer Edgar Hammermeister.
The tinder-dry weather this year poses risks when the combines start rolling. After a long day of work, the machines can be quite hot to the touch, and thus a field of tall, moisture-less grass is a hazard when brushing the belly of the equipment, or coming into any contact at all. Fire Chiefs advise keeping fire extinguishers on hand, and many harvesters will have someone on hand with a truck and a water tank to quash any flaming rebellion. However, Hammermeister went the next step and found a practical solution.
"We've made an adjustment to my sprayer, where we can use it as a mobile fire suppression wagon in the field. It's a very simple adjustment. It is a two man operation to run the sprayer as a fire truck, but it will let you move anywhere in the field, and you've got 800 gallons of water or more to quickly attack a fire," he explained.
The modification requires simply installing a couple of additional valves, so fluid can be redirected from the boom to an outlet for a fire hose. A platform on the side of the unit provides a spot for someone to stand and spray, while a driver occupies the cab.
"It's very simple to set up, and it's equipment that's in the yard anyways, and it's very robust to move around the field...I'm very happy to share it," said Hammermeister.