Prescribed burning is an agricultural management practice and, in Louisiana row crop production, is used primarily during sugarcane harvest. There are a number of environmental concerns associated with this practice and the state has instituted a voluntary smoke and ash management training program to assist growers in addressing these concerns.
Additionally, a number of research projects are underway to identify possible alternatives to the prescribed burning practice. The training program stresses that growers should have a responsible attitude toward environmental and public issues in their efforts to be as efficient as possible in the production of sugarcane. The following are some of the important objectives which growers should always strive to achieve with regard to smoke and ash management.
• Minimize the adverse effects caused by open field burning of sugarcane.
• Prevent smoke from being blown across public highways and airports.
• Prevent smoke from affecting public areas, especially public health facilities such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and doctors’ offices.
• Prevent smoke from impacting schools during times when students and teachers are present.
• Prevent smoke from affecting subdivisions, individual homes and other housing facilities.
• Minimize ash fallout that may result from burning sugarcane.
To achieve these objectives, growers should practice smoke and ash management by using recommended prescribed burning practices. Prescribed burning can be defined as the controlled application of fire to agricultural fields under weather conditions that allow the fire to be confined to a predetermined area, in a manner that will produce the desired result of reducing leaves in the harvested cane, or reduction of crop residue. Smoke and ash management can be defined as conducting a prescribed burn under recommended weather conditions using burning techniques that reduce the adverse impact of smoke and ash on the environment, or to public health and safety.
LSU AgCenter Prescribed Burning Practices (Website)
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Agricultural Prescribed Burning Program is not employed by or affiliated with the Louisiana Land Conservation Assistance Network, and the Network does not certify or guarantee their services. The reader must perform their own due diligence and use their own judgment in the selection of any professional.
Contact Agricultural Prescribed Burning Program
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
P.O. Box 3554
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3554