Southern Field Days is the place to be.
That's according to 789 exhibitors who will showcase their wares at the South Island's largest rural expo - the Southern Field Days - which starts at Waimumu near Gore today and continues tomorrow and Friday.
Today, Geoff Soper, of Ewan Allan Honda, said the field days for his company meant 40,000 customers could come on to its site to view the products it sells, plus it gave the company the chance to see other dealerships doing their business.
Schouten Machines managing director Marcel van Hazendonk said it was his second time exhibiting at the field days.
"You've got to be here. It's important for exhibitors because if you're not here you could be missing out on business," Mr van Hazendonk said.
Southern Field Days chairman Mark Dillon expected there would be a "mad rush" this morning as exhibitors completed their sites in readiness for the crowds. "As long as the weather stays like this it will be fantastic," he said.
About 180 small stallholders would be housed in the new $1.5 million events centre, which replaced two marquees and had been built to keep exhibitors safe and secure and out of the weather.
The remaining exhibitors would be spread over 20ha, with more allocated for the working demonstrations and the tractor pull, which is expected to draw the crowds.
Tractor pull organiser Jeremy Marshall said competitors could enter on the day.
"The event creates a lot of interest from farmers and contractors who like to compare their tractors. There's a fair bit of skiting involved."
A first for the field days will be a live robotic milking demonstration. Lely, TechniPharm and Cowhouse Construction, who have built a small-scale cow house, have joined forces to host the milking event which will see 10 cows milked by Lely Astronaut robots.
JJ sales rep Peter McKerchar was looking forward to the field days and seeing lots of people at his farm machinery site.
"The farming sector is pretty positive. We're looking forward to doing business," he said.
The field days will be held at Waimumu, 12km from Gore, and the gates will open to the public at 9am each day.
- The Southland Times