Fieldays ranks well, but bigger plans on way

NARELLE HENSON
Last updated 09:21 26/07/2014

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Planning is already well underway for next year's Fieldays, as the team celebrates the success of the most recent event.

Statistics released yesterday showed 119,982 visitors poured through the Mystery Creek gates and into the Fieldays last month, with 81 per cent of them rating their experience as excellent or very good.

Just under half of all visitors thought the Fieldays was the most important day in New Zealand's calendar.

The event also managed to pull visitors from 50 different countries, who booked a total of 106 hours of meetings that required a total of eight interpreters.

While total numbers were down on the 125,000 from last year, Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder said it wasn't a bad result given the bad weather which kicked the event off.

"Actually despite the weather it was around, I think, 75 to 80 per cent visitor satisfaction," he said.

"We were pretty happy with how it finished up despite the rough start on Wednesday."

However, his attention has already turned to planning the next event. Fieldays 2016 will have "somewhere between" 100 and 150 new stalls, he said in response to the large waiting list for this year's event.

"We still had well over 100 companies on the wait list when we opened on the Wednesday," he said. The other reason behind the expansion was the number of exhibitors wanting to grow their sites.

All up there were 935 exhibitors at Fieldays 2014, 98 per cent of whom said they would be back in 2015.

Exhibitors may also be grouped together, with the dairy exhibition likely to gain the most attention.

"We've got discussions under way to create a dairy innovation centre for Fieldays 2015.

"We want to build a dedicated, semi-permanent structure that would house a herd of probably 30 cows and actually demonstrate dairy farming end-to-end," he said.

That would see automated feed-systems, effluent management systems and robotic milking systems all on display at once.

"We've got four major dairy exhibitors that are part of [a] working group helping us work on design and concept and they would hopefully become anchor tenants in that development," he said.

narelle.henson@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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