Fieldays - a big success

Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year winner  Paul Olsen from Manawatu.
MARK TAYLOR FAIRFAX NZ

Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year winner Paul Olsen from Manawatu.

The last of the marquees are still being packed away but the National Fieldays has wrapped up one of its biggest and busiest events yet.

Foggy mornings, the occasional shower of rain and the low dairy payout didn't dampen the enthusiasm of people who attended event with visitor numbers exceeding expectations.  

Fieldays communications executive Rachel Middleton said 130,684 people attended over the four days up from last year's total of 126,063 and well over the 119,892 in 2014.

Exhibitor numbers were slightly up from last year's total of 1001 with 1010 registering this year.

Fieldays was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Honorable Bill English, along with Te Radar and New Zealand National Fieldays Society CEO, Peter Nation. 

"Fieldays aims to bring town and country together, and this is the real foundation for growth in the industry," Nation said.

"We've seen huge growth in this event, from the idea borne in 1968 to today, and all along we've been dedicated to advancing agriculture not just within New Zealand but around the world." 

Some exhibitors were expecting farmers to keep their wallets tightly closed on the back of a low payout but many reported brisk trade.

Many farmers who spoke to NZDairyFarmer said they came to Fieldays to see what was on offer and what is new and upcoming in the industry.

While some said they were there "just to look" others said they were looking for some good deals.   

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One punter from Hamilton said he didn't believe buying at Fieldays was cheaper than his local store.

"I reckon some prices aren't really that much of a bargain.  I can go to my local RD1 store and get things cheaper."

 Another punter said he had been and bought a new vehicle as his trustee old farm truck had given up the ghost.

Lifestyle exhibitors also reported good sales with socks, hats, jackets and food items being a popular choice.  In the Kiwis Best Kitchen marquee, punters were often four or five deep at some stalls.

There was plenty to keep the crowds entertained with the tractor pull, rural bachelor contest, ag art wear shows and celebrity chefs demonstrating their cooking skills in the Kiwis Best Kitchen which was packed for every demonstration over the four days.

Manawatu spud farmer Paul Olsen was named as the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year.  Also known as 'Spud', Olsen runs a dairy farm and dry stock rotating year round with his potato crop. 

The bachelors were tested on a range of skills including speed fencing, speed dating, log splitting, digger driving and dog training.  In between challenges, the bachelors were able to meet and spend time with the bachelorettes, known as "The Gumboot Girls".

As winner, Olsen not only took home the coveted Golden Gumboot Trophy and bragging rights, he also won a Suzuki King quad bike, $5000 in vouchers from Swandri, Stihl and Skellerup.

Aussie Rob Ewing charmed the crowds to win the People's Choice.  He continued to win hearts by donating his prize - $2000 in vouchers from Swandri, Stihl and Skellerup - to the Cambridge Riding for the Disabled Association.

New inventions and products were showcased in the Innovation Centre and winners announced at the Innovators awards breakfast on the Thursday.

Nation said the level of ingenuity in the Innovation Centre was second to none.

"It's great to see the number of Innovations entrants growing every year," said Nation.

"You're looking at innovations today that could very well revolutionise agribusiness tomorrow.

The LaunchNZ winners were Whakatane-based farm engineering business The Wrangler with their Pollensmart pollinating machine.

The artificial pollinator is the brainchild of orchardist David Horwood of Kutarere near Opotiki, who was unsatisfied by other methods of pollination.  Pollensmart blows pollen over flowers multiple times to ensure better pollination.

 

 - Stuff

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