Today's date: Thursday November 15, 2018
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A weekly report prepared by the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). If you require further information, regarding this report, call the Elora Resource Centre at 519-846-0941. Office hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm. For technical information, call the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or visit the OMAFRA website:


Faulty electrical systems cause approximately 40 per cent of barn fires with a determined cause, making it one of the leading known causes of barn fires. What can you do?

Regular inspections and maintenance are key to reducing the risk of a barn fire. We recommend that you work with a professional to inspect and monitor your farm buildings.

- have your buildings inspected and maintained regularly by a licensed electrical contractor;

- develop a preventative maintenance and housekeeping schedule;

- work with a professional to monitor the heat conditions of your barn using infrared technologies;

- work with your local fire department and insurance company to identify problem areas on your farm, and fix any problem areas identified;

- have a plan ready to deal with any emergency; and

- train your family and employees on what to do if there is a barn fire. Learn how to handle and what to do with livestock, make a list who to call during and after a fire, and establish a safe meeting point.

Visit to find helpful resources, including:

- the Reducing the Risk of Fire on Your Farm book that examines the main causes of farm building fires and what you can do to minimize risks;

- a checklist to help you assess your farm’s barn fire risk;

- a link to the Farm Fire and Emergency Sketch web page that explains step-by-step how to create a sketch for your operation;

- our Electrical Systems in Barns Factsheet that provides information on how an electrical system can start a fire, regulations and barn electrical maintenance practices;

- links to different inspection, monitoring and extinguishing technologies, such as FLIR heat-sensing cameras, Cole-Parmer gas detectors and the DSPA 5 aerosol generator;

- a link to Livestock Welfare’s Emergency Response web page, offering great resources on what to do with and how to handle livestock during an emergency; and

- a link to Equine Guelph’s training program on livestock behaviour in emergencies and barn fire prevention tools.

Barn fires can create unique challenges for farmers, including the disposal of large volumes of deadstock. OMAFRA has a regulation ( that gives you options for deadstock management. These options help to protect water quality, reduce environmental impacts and minimize biosecurity hazards, such as scavenging.

For more information and to suggest a different fire prevention device, technology or program that could be listed on our website, contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre (AICC) at 1-877-424-1300 or

Visit for other resources and tips for keeping a farm safe.


Ontario has seen the emergence of a niche dairy housing system using a composted bedding pack, in many cases having transitioned from traditional tie-stall barns. The composted pack barns may offer a lower capital cost barn design (in part because there is no need to purchase stalls) than free-stall barns and significant animal welfare advantages over conventional tie-stall barns.

OMAFRA has planned three workshops to be held in Alma, Durham Region (Solina) and Richmond in February and March, 2018. The AICC is prepared to take phone inquiries at 1-877-424-1300.  Registration is through Progressive Dairy Operators via


Feb. 14 - Dufferin Soil and Crop Improvement Association annual seed and feed show and meeting. Amaranth Township Hall, 374028 6th Line Amaranth. For more information, contact Jim Irvine at 519-835-9929.

Feb. 15 - Composted pack dairy barn workshops. Alma Community Centre, 51 Simpson Street, Alma. To register and for more information visit or call the AICC 1-877-424-1300.

Mar. 3 - Managing trees on your property workshop – GRCA admin office, 400 Clyde Road, Cambridge. To register, visit or email or call Sue Brocklebank at 1-866-900-4722 x2278.


February 2, 2018


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