Field burning

  • Bill Butterworth


There are many methods of burning straw. Some are more effective than others, some are easier to control, some have a greater devastation of wildlife. Burning from a line upwind, for example, does tend to allow wildlife to escape, burns rapidly and effectively but easily damages downwind hedgerows. Possibly the most effective burn is obtained by a method sometimes called ‘vortex burning’ after the saturation bombing of World War II. Lighting the outside of the field in a ring produces a draught which sucks the fire rapidly into the centre. The hedges are not seriously affected, the burn is very rapid and thorough but wildlife trapped within the circle is devastated. It is worth noting that some desiccants under some conditions can make straw burn more fiercely but, conversely, they can also reduce smoke and help create a more even, clean burn.


Weed Seed District Council Direct Drilling Straw Burning Field Burning 
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© Butterworth 1985

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  • Bill Butterworth

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