Tamworth Jockey Club track manager Lindsay Bowne doesn’t mind the temperature sitting in the mid-30s but when it climbs into the 40s, that’s when it starts bothering the former NSW Country rugby league representative.
That’s when the turf out on the Tamworth Racecourse starts to really feel it.
“The main thing is the dryness you get this time of year with the heat because the soil temperature warms up as well,” Bowne said.
“That’s what affects your root growth which seems to struggle when it gets to a certain temperature.”
Bowne and his team have been combating the heat by putting about 30 per cent more water on the track than usual, applying a wetting agent – which is essentially soapy water which helps the soil hold moisture – and watering after nightfall.
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“The best time to irrigate is late at night and you don’t need to give it too much water. Give it just enough to get by each day through the heat,” Bowne said.
“The worst thing about irrigation at daytime – after the temperature gets to 36-37 degrees, you're losing 10 per cent of irrigation. It evaporates before it hits the ground.”
While the temperature poses a tough challenge, that is exactly what Bowne loves about the job.
He’s been working with turf of some description since he was 16 when he did his greenskeeping apprenticeship in Swansea and Bowne said the ever-changing conditions keeps him interested.
“That’s the good thing about the trade – it’s always a challenge with the conditions,” he said.
“You can have hot and dry times and a very cold, wet and rainy winter that’s frustrating when nothing will dry out for you.
“You have to work around all those factors which is part of the industry.”
Bowne has been in his role for about four months now and wants to make the Tamworth track the best in Country NSW and he said its going in the right direction.
“I think the club’s on the way up in a lot of areas. I’ve got good outdoor work staff and the staff under Kay (Jeffrey) are doing a great job around here,” he said.
The Tamworth Jockey Club next race on January 25.