Cornish Mutual rolls out hay fire prevention trial with Members

23 July 2021

Burning farm building with hay

ICMIF member Cornish Mutual (UK) has strengthened its farm fire safety message with an innovative new trial.

Farm fires can see lives lost and livelihoods ruined, so Cornish Mutual has launched a pilot to help its Members prevent fires. The latest efforts are aimed at combatting hay fires, which can start suddenly and cause huge amounts of damage.

Glen Beale, Station Manager at Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, says “Hay that is cut and stored in farm buildings is able to self-heat through fermentation. If this self-heating isn’t recognised, fermentation continues until a critical temperature is reached. This is when the hay self-ignites, usually while it is deep within the rest of the crop. The result can be a substantial loss to the farmer, from losing their harvest to losing the surrounding buildings as well.

“For the fire service, hay fires are extremely demanding on resources and can take a significant amount of work to extinguish. This ties up front-line staff for many days, impacting on a large number of our staff throughout the county.”

Alerts and actions prevent fires

Areas and farms that have been affected by hay fires have been identified, and ten Cornish Mutual Member farms have been chosen for a pilot of Quantari’s HAYTECH monitoring system.

“The first of this year’s crops that have already been cut and stored are being monitored by the HAYTECH system. Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service are pleased to be able to support this type of fire safety product, as the information allows farmers to monitor internal temperatures within their crop, build an understanding of critical temperature points and most importantly, react before self-ignition occurs”, adds Glen.

Dominic Jones, Loss Prevention Leader at Cornish Mutual, says “We only launched the trial recently, but are really excited to be hearing positive feedback from Members already. They’ve reported being alerted to rising temperatures in their bales by the HAYTECH system and have been able to act quickly to prevent further problems”.

Cornish Mutual has a wealth of farm safety information on its website for Member policyholders and members of the public alike. The mutual insurer has also prepared a Safety on the Farm guide. In this guide, there are helpful tips on what to think about when carrying out daily tasks on the farm. Click here to download the Safety on the Farm guide.

Other interesting case studies on prevention activity by Cornish Mutual are featured in the joint ICMIF/UNDRR report From protection to prevention: The role of cooperative and mutual insurance in disaster risk reduction which was published earlier this year.


For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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