Wednesday, June 28, 2017
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Fieldays – big in almost every way

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We know Fieldays is big and that the NZ National Agricultural Fieldays is the largest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

People love it – tens of thousands of them in fact. In 2016, during four days, 130,684 people poured through the gates, and many trudged back up the hill to the carparks and buses again, laden down with goods they’d bought, contributing to the $430 million in sales revenue generated for New Zealand firms during Fieldays.

Of course, they don’t have to walk – but many do. There are buses and even a shuttle service for those bulky purchases bought from one of the 1507 exhibitor sites. More than $1million in cash was withdrawn from ATM machines on-site during the four-day event last year.

What isn’t so well-known is that Fieldays is also big on energy consumption. The daily energy use last year exceeded the entire power consumption of the town of Te Awamutu.

All those people, all that food, all those purchases create waste – but last year 2.8 tonnes of it was composted instead of going to landfill – well done Fieldays.

Take a bus

Last year 4800 visited arrived by bus, and given the traffic congestion – that’s probably a smart move.

It’s safe to say these figures will be equalled or exceeded this year, as Fieldays’ popularity continues to grow – and not just with those in the primary industries, but urban dwellers too.

Attending Fielday requires some careful planning, the right clothing – gumboots are the footwear of choice and practicality – a raincoat, and warm jersey. Wearing layers is good – because it might be warm. Plan where you want to go, what you want to see, and were to meet up if you get lost – because despite street signs, and a programme with a map in it, it is possible to get lost the Fieldays. There are, however, helpful people on hand to point you in the right direction or care for any youngsters who may have strayed.

To do justice to the event requires probably two, if not four days’ attendance, methodically checking out each site, event and contest.

Best deals

For farmers and growers, Fieldays are a chance to inspect a range of machinery of different makes and models, from different suppliers, and talk tough to get the best possible deal. It’s also a chance to see innovation from both established companies and individuals with a bright idea to share.

Clothing and footwear are among the most popular purchases with everyone enjoying the chance to buy some rugged and practical outdoor wear. However, it’s not just big tractors and milking machines. There’s cooking demonstrations and cook wear, art, small appliances and more on sale too.

The fencing, Rural Bachelor and tractor pull competitions are always popular and at almost every turn, there’s a demonstration of machinery or products to watch.

‘Leading change’

NZ National Fieldays Society CEO Peter Nation says ‘Leading change’ is the theme for Fieldays 2017.

“We’ve chosen this theme to help drive prosperity in New Zealand’s primary sector. To excel and grow in the future, innovation and change is vital. It is an exciting and challenging time for the industry, but with good leadership we have great opportunities.”

New Zealand is a world leader in agriculture and primary production, and NZ National Agricultural Fieldays also leads the way as a place where businesses and individuals come for the latest in agricultural innovations and technology.

“We hope ‘leading change’ is a theme that our partners and exhibitors will embrace. The dairy downturn has been challenging for many, but with visionary leadership and fresh, innovative thinking we can transform the future of primary production in this country.”

Leading change supports the Fieldays’ pillars of education, internationalisation and innovation, which are represented at the event with the Innovations Centre, the Careers and Education Hub and the Business International Centre.

The 2017 NZ National Agricultural Fieldays will be held from June 14-17, 2017, at the Mystery Creek Events Centre, near Hamilton.

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