TOUGH CONDITIONS: Dairy farmers such as Luke Stock feel the effects whenever a heatwave hits.
TOUGH CONDITIONS: Dairy farmers such as Luke Stock feel the effects whenever a heatwave hits. Lachlan McIvor

Severe heat to plague January

SOME relief may have come with the rain at the weekend but sweltering conditions are expected to continue until the end of the January.

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Dr Jeff Sabburg said another heatwave before the end of the month was certainly "not out of the question”.

"The median maximum temperature for Gatton in January is 30.8°C, with an 80% chance in January for temperatures to be higher than this median temperature,” Dr Sabburg said.

"Gatton could get another heatwave in January.”

The conditions over the past week meant temperature readings were deceptive.

"Another feature of this particular heatwave is high humidity,” he said.

"Even if temperatures aren't record breaking, what was adding to the feeling of higher temperatures was the added humidity.”

With temperatures set to hit the late 30s again this week, it is important to take the right steps to stay safe.

"The best way to reduce the risk of heat-related illness and stay cool is to drink plenty of water,” he said.

Glenore Grove dairy farmer Luke Stock said farmers were hit hard whenever a heatwave struck.

"The main thing is you can nearly automatically expect a 15-20% drop in production, it just has an immediate effect,” Mr Stock said.

"You know as soon as you're going to get that 35-40 degree weather and you're going to consistently get it for three or four days, you'll expect that drop.”

Current trends didn't help matters, with more expected out of cows each year.

"We're pushing them more, with more and more feed and trying to get more production out of them,” he said.

"Therefore we're growing a bigger animal and they're more affected by the heat.”

But many farmers have installed infrastructure to try and minimise those losses and make it more bearable for their cattle in tough conditions.

"The fact is we farm in a subtropical climate and you're always going to have these factors,” he said.

"Whether it's (installing) shade structures, fans or sprinklers in your dairy.”


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