A reader has a suggestion in view of the number of farm machinery fires.

Robert U'Ren, a farmer's son who lives near Totnes, writes: "I see in your paper each edition seems to have more reports of tractor and machinery fires.

"I guess they are caused in the main by electrical wiring rubbing through, or shorting out?

"Modern farm machinery has become so complicated with all the electrical gizmos and in-cab paraphernalia just like our modern cars have today.

"A lot of these electrical fittings we don’t necessarily need, but it's standard fitments.

"Surely we could save all this destruction of expensive machinery by making sure we carry a medium sized CO2 fire extinguisher fixed to each expensive tractor or handler?

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"Not to mention the saving of pollution the fires cause to the environment, and the costs involved to the emergency services, the inevitable higher insurance premiums driven up by countless farm machinery fires.

"A simple reusable carbon dioxide fire extinguisher could be used several times before needing re-charging, and even an out-of-date unit would still have a 100 per cent higher chance of putting out a fire quickly than no fire extinguisher at all.

"A simple bracket could be fixed on the side of the machine to hold the fire extinguisher.

South West Farmer: A tractor caught fire at Crooked Oak Hill, Melplash in MarchA tractor caught fire at Crooked Oak Hill, Melplash in March

"If the fire is electrical, a battery immobilizer switch could also have been fitted very cheaply.

"This would allow the farmer or contractor to quickly address the fire with a very high chance of extinguishing it fast before it gets a hold and turns into a roaring blaze.

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"I can't understand why the insurance companies don’t do a promotion and offer insurance discounts to people who carry an adequate fire extinguisher on a machine.

"Even a large barn fire could possibly be avoided if discovered early and the owner had his trusty fire extinguisher to hand, so there is another benefit of having one near by.

"I purchased a few lovely new, unused fire extinguishers from a factory demolition - they cost me next to nothing because their test date was running out.

"I have placed them all around the farmyard and carry one on my old telehandler as these oily machines are highly at risk of catching fire due to the oil that builds up on them over the years, and hay and straw chaff that sticks to it.

"A good pressure wash off once a year is another great thing to do to reduce the chance of a fire.

"I have on a couple of occasions over the years stopped a possible out of control fire by quickly grabbing a fire extinguisher.

"If you see a grand prix car crash, and the car bursts into flames, it's usually put out with a fire extinguisher in seconds.

"They don’t sit on the side of the track and wait for the fire engine to arrive do they?"

If you would like to respond to Robert's ideas or if you have observations about a different issue in farming that you'd like to share, please email editorial@southwestfarmer.co.uk.