Cropping

Work must continue despite heat

By Country News

Christmas Day or not, 40°C or not, the paddocks are calling and the farmers must answer.

The cows have to be milked whether it is a gazetted public holiday or a regular week-day.

And in the summer heat, an irrigation can’t be postponed because of Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

Katamatite farmer Jarrod Lukies was out checking the irrigated sprinkler systems which feed his corn crop on Christmas Day, and last week he was spending time working on one of his irrigators which appeared to be out of alignment.

Two sprinkler systems supply water to a 130ha corn crop, some of which now stands about 2m high.

It’s crucial that he pays close attention to the crop.

‘‘You only need one bad day to get a bad result,’’ Mr Lukies said.

One lateral irrigator, which has a 1.6km run, needed fine-tuning so Mr Lukies was tinkering with it in 39°C heat which was only tempered by the fine spray pushed across the machine by a light wind.

‘‘On days like this I start about 5.30am and then go inside to do some paper-work when it gets hot,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ll come back about 6pm. You don’t want to be out in the heat if you can avoid it.’’

Vic Emergency declared an extreme heat warning last week.

Shepparton’s temperature peaked at 43°C on Thursday, and 40°C on Friday. At Kerang the mercury hit 44°C on Thursday and the area suffered above 40°C maximums from Tuesday to Friday. The Deniliquin area also had a 44°C maximum on Thursday. Towns in the north-east, such as Benalla, also experienced a hot Thursday, but maximums were slightly lower.

CFA District 22 mobilised extra staff as a contingency with people in place at the District Command Centre and Incident Control Centre in readiness in case of fires.