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Cotton Picker/Stripper Fires on the Rise


John_Deere_CS690The industry has experienced an increase in fire occurring to insured strippers and pickers, especially with balers.

One reason that has been attributed as a cause is the low micronaire year on cotton. When this occurs there’s a lot more fuzz flying around that accumulates on the harvesters. Low mic cotton is significantly more flammable. 

Regardless of the reasons, the fact is that a fire in the field can cause significant damage and often a total loss to equipment. The fire cannot always be avoided, but with an installed fire suppression system, the equipment damage can be greatly reduced or avoided altogether. That is why some insurance companies have created the underwriting requirement that this after-market system be installed. 

Burned Stripper

Besides the protection of property, the risk to life can be protected by detection and suppression equipment. [After publishing this blog - the following was contributed to this site] 

My brother Dan Langford was killed when his stripper caught fire in 2012.  His Bowl buddy had gone to dump the cotton and just got back when Dan finally saw the fire.  Dan had turned out of the cotton but the tractor stopped and the wind was blowing the smoke and fire into him and onto the steps to exit the machine.  – no fire detection – no fire suppression – no smoke detection – no escape door other than trying to kick out the window on the right side – no fire alarm – no fire extinguisher in the cab.  This was in Collingsworth County Texas.  We wish to express our sympathies to his family.

So dumping is the prescribed response: If there is someone out in the field watching the stripper where the operator cannot see behind, they can notify him to turn the machine so the dump is downwind, and quickly take the necessary steps to dump. But if isn't caught in time, significant damage if not a total loss can occur. And even worse, as explained above.

John Deere is sensitive to this problem as evidenced by their going from plastic to metal gas tanks on these units. They are reportedly in development of detection and suppression systems which can be added by companies specializing in it. 

One such company: AFEX is a fleet manufacturer for construction and agricultural equipment fire suppression systems. Their distributor/installer for Texas is located near Dallas but serve the entire state. They are available to quote and install a suppression system. Although this aftermarket add-on has a cost in the $20K range, that is relatively nominal when compared to the value of the equipment, potential downtime and extra expense in locating rental equipment replacement, and the cost of insurance and deductible.  

Click here for contact information for the All State Fire Equipment Fleet Solutions in Texas.

Another resource is: Stripper Saver serving CS690 machines in Texas.

More information will be provided as we acquire it.

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