Machinery fires ruin more than a thousand pieces of farm equipment every year, resulting in insurance claims that run to millions of pounds.

But the latest simple-to-fit fire-extinguishing system could help reduce the chances of it happening.

Combine, tractor and baler manufacturers work hard to minimise the opportunities for fire to arise, but the often arid conditions and combustible materials encountered on farms in hot weather mean it is almost impossible to prevent it.

Burning tractor fire flames

In 2007 NFU Mutual, the UK’s largest insurer of agricultural equipment, received 963 fire-related claims – marginally less than in 2006 and 2005 – at a cost of £6m. While conventional extinguishers serve as an excellent first line of defence, by the time the operator is aware that the machine has caught fire it is often too late for it to be rescued.

Burning tractor fire flames extinguisher

East Anglia manufacturer of fire protection systems, FlameSkill, has worked with machinery dealer Ernest Doe to develop an early warning system that tackles the fire almost as soon as it occurs.

The easy-to-fit kit, which consists of a pre-charged fire extinguisher and 5m of plastic hose, can be fitted to any machine, including balers, combines and farm 4x4s, at a cost from Does of £165. The polymer tube is attached to an inside panel, such as an engine hood, and in the event of fire the tube ruptures and the contents of the extinguisher ejected in to the inflamed area. Extra tube is available at £8/m.