Scorching heat with little respite through January and February has become part of each new year this decade.
It’s official, 2017 was the hottest year on record for NSW with Tibooburra topping the state at 45.6 degrees Celsius last February.
So make sure to keep cool on Friday as temperatures are going to soar upwards from 40 degrees – plus and no doubt over the 50 mark in places. Bourke is predicted to reach 45.
However, Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino, said the weak and late La Nina in the Pacific Ocean would bring an even chance of above or below average rainfall in February.
“Because of the chance of increased cloud cover next month it could result in near of below average maximum temperatures as well.
“But bear in mind February is one of the hottest months of the year and will not be cool - cloud may erode the hotter periods.”
While the heat can be insufferable, summer crops, especially those irrigated are thriving.
At Deniliquin where it is expected to reach 42 degrees, Elders’ specialist agronomist, Adam Dellwo, said rice farmers are happy with the heat as their crops in the Riverina are well into the reproductive period.
“This is a critical time for rice growers as if it turns cold we won’t get the higher yields,” he said.
Water usage along the Murrumbidgee Valley has been a little higher than average due to the heatwave, however, Mr Dellwo said crops were looking “amazing”.
In the north it’s the same with sorghum crops particularly east of Moree sown on good moisture profiles, looking to yield upwards of three tonnes per hectare.
At Moree where it will reach 40 degrees on Friday, B&W Rural agronomist, Peter Birch, said harvest would probably begin the first week of February.
“Growers will start spraying out in a fortnight,” he said, “and if we had another 50 millimetres of rain last week it would have set things up perfectly.”
Dryland Bollgard III cotton sown late are ready for rain but will hang in better than the earlier varieties while irrigated cotton in the Gwydir and McIntyre Valleys are also looking good, Mr Birch said.
“But they are chewing through water at a great rate and will soon begin to run out unless there is significant rain. It’s all about getting through to the end of the irrigation season with the amount of water they’ve got, and that’s going to be problematic.”
In the meantime, veterinarians are urging livestock producers to be mindful of the hot temperatures in January and February.
There are a number of management practices that should be followed.
Among these Local Land Services veterinarians suggest moving stock during the coolest parts of the day (early morning and evening) and ensure stock have easy access to sufficient good drinking water.