Don’t underestimate the risk
But, a risk going along with the heat and storing of fresh hay should not be underestimated and the according safety precautions have to be taken. Spontaneous combustion can only be prevented by storing sufficiently dried hay and by measuring the temperature and moisture.
Several biochemical processes take place in a haystack before it can catch fire by auto-ignition. Bacteria, fungi, nutrients and humidity lead to increased temperatures. If the temperature exceeds 60° C, the danger of fire will force the farmer to take additional safety measures. He has to measure the temperature more frequently, inform the fire department and carry the haystack off.
In order to prevent hazards to humans and animals, the farmer is obligated to strictly monitor the hay by measuring the temperature regularly and entering the results in a table. In the first and second week measurements should be taken daily, in the third week every second day, in weeks four and five twice a week and from the sixth week on once a week.
Ignoring these guidelines can be prosecuted, in worst case, as negligent arson and difficulties can arise with insurance companies in case of damages.
The required measurements can be taken with electronic moisture and temperature gauges.
Be on the safe side!
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