Dairy

IDW turns up the heat

By Country News

With temperatures climbing to 40°C at Tatura Park, many people at last week’s International Dairy Week were not just sweating on the results.

A constant fixture in late January, many people at IDW were left asking when the weather would ease, as the airconditioners did little to cool handlers and cows in the arena.

Holstein Australia chief executive officer Graeme Gillan said although many were sweating it out in the ring last week, things have come a long way since they were ‘‘showing outside under a tree’’.

He said recent investments in airconditioning at Tatura Park had helped to ease some of the discomfort of the event.

‘‘You know that January in northern Victoria is going to be relatively warm,’’ Mr Gillan said.

‘‘It hasn’t changed in the 30-odd years I’ve been going.

‘‘You know there’s going to be one or two days that will get you.

‘‘It’s a difficult one and certainly a topical one in the general community.’’

And while it may be a point of conversation with handlers, Mr Gillan said he was ‘‘constantly amazed’’ at the lengths exhibitors went to, including wet towels and fans, to keep the cattle cool and relaxed.

Not everyone was fazed by the heat.

Handler Roger Turner — who hails from Madison, Wisconsin in the United States — welcomed the scorching temperatures.

‘‘It’s a little bit on the warm side but it’s a nice break from the cold,’’ he said.

With dairy week firmly placed during school holidays, the number of young people is a critical consideration for the date of the event, according to Jersey Australia president Chris MacKenzie.

He did not expect the January date of the event to change for the future, despite the extreme weather conditions that graced Tatura Park last week.

‘‘I’ve shown there before and it does get a bit uncomfortable,’’ Mr MacKenzie said.

‘‘This year, because of the constant hot weather leading up to it, I think people had enough of it.

‘‘A lot of younger people are involved is a crucial point to when it’s held.

‘‘It’s a fixture that’s there and I can’t see it changing myself. If I go to show there, I’d prepare for that time next year.’’

While changing the date may be complicated, Mr MacKenzie said changing the format could also be a problem.

‘‘I wouldn’t like to be the organisers.

‘‘On Tuesday, when there is two breeds going at once, there is still a large proportion of animals moving around in the heat.

‘‘I’m not sure how they could accommodate the same thing for Jerseys and Holsteins because many of the classes are so big.’’