Heat­wave strikes

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE -

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 130 ha corn crop, some of which now stands about 2 m 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 1.6 km run, needed fine­tun­ing 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 5.30 am and then go in­side to do some pa­per-work when it gets hot,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ll come back about 6 pm. 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.

Lit­tle respite . . . Jar­rod Lukies in his corn crop last Fri­day.

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