AS THE mercury on the thermometer rises through one of NSW's hottest summers, spare a thought for our farmers.
Whether they are growing crops or raising livestock, North Coast farmers can be affected, not only personally, but economically by the high temperatures in the area.
Ridley Bell, owner of Mountain Blue Orchards at Lindendale grows blueberries and is watching the weather forecasts carefully.
"As long as we keep the water up it's not a problem for us," he said, referring to this week's heat.
"We have adequate water and we are keeping our eyes on the weather."
Mr Bell said he has seen where blueberries have undergone long periods of heat in other farms, and where it was impossible to keep the water up to them.
"That's where you can get blueberry raisins," he said.
If the high temperatures continue Mr Bell said planting on their new farm out at Tabulam, which is about to start, will be delayed.
Ian Clark of Greenridge raises Charbrays, Charolais and Santa Gertrudis cattle.
"The only way we can make sure the cattle are okay is to get them good clean water to drink and plenty of shade," Mr Clark said.
"There haven't been any signs of heat stress but bos indicus cattle can handle hot weather better than most.
"They can probably handle it better than us."
Dairy farmer Nicole Nichols of Rukenvale is also ensuring her herd gets plenty of water and shade.
"With the cows we get them out to pasture early in the morning and in the afternoon we put the sprink- lers on them to keep them cool," Ms Nichols said.
"The cows start losing production as soon as the temperature hits around 25 degrees.
"This means our income reduces but the costs still stay the same."
The Nichols also grow corn for silage and soy beans.
"In the case of our crops all we can do is pray for rain," Ms Nichols said.
Not all crops suffer in the heat, however, as Trevor and Amanda Roberts from Forest Glen Organic Farm can confirm with their tea tree plantation.
"Tea trees love the heat," Mr Roberts said. "In the hot, dry spells they thrive."
Mr Roberts said being native to the Northern Rivers region, tea tree crops are adapted to the heat.
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