Positive farming sector sees tills ring at Fieldays
Wallets were open, tills were ringing and cards were swiped as the spending drought ended at this year's Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Buoyed by a higher dairy payout along with good prices in the drystock and horticulture sectors, and clear blue skies, the event saw a record Thursday for the event with 33,528 people through the gates.
"It looked busy, it felt busy, it was busy," Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation said.
He expected over 40,000 people through the gate on Friday and said the unofficial tally was 40,104, the third highest ever for a Friday.
Large SOLD stickers were shown on a number of tractors at Waikato tractor and machinery company Power Farming.
One $340,000 machine was sold to a Timaru farmer and marketing director Brett Maber said there were lots of inquiries that would be followed up after the Fieldays was over.
"It's hard to tell how well we actually did, to be fair. We'll know in about two weeks once we follow up the inquiries. But my gut feeling is it's been a really good one."
Power Farming was also named "best site" at the Fieldays. Maber said it was nice for his team to be recognised.
"We spend a couple of weeks before setting up, getting all the gear here, assembling it and the signage. So it's quite nice.
"He said the mood was a lot different from last year.
"This time last year farmers were coming off the back of two pretty hard years. They've certainly hit the bottom and bounced back quite nicely."
Suzuki dealer executive Peter Goldfinch said it was a far more positive Fieldays than last year.
"The feeling is much better.
"The only negative is that we have sold out of a lot of our specials, which is a good problem to have. It's been a great show so far."
Goldfinch said the low dairy payout forced farmers to halt spending on a lot of new equipment. Many had quad bikes and tractors that were worn out and were spending a lot of money on maintenance rather than investing in a new machine.
That was starting to change with new machinery being bought, he said.
"Out there, there's a lot of really tired machines and one of the things we are seeing this year is that they have got a little bit of cash, and they have decided to do that."
Goldfinch said their ATV retail sales in May were 45 per cent higher than at the same time last year.
DeLaval Oceania sales director Justin Thompson said it had been a very successful Fieldays and inquiry levels had been positive.
"People have been looking for new things and searching out technology and it's been great."
Farmer sentiment had been positive with inquiries on a par with previous years.
"It's been a success and there's not as much doom and gloom," he said.
Many punters made the most of the Fieldays specials, as many had both hands holding bags, especially distinct red tartan Swanndri bags.
Swanndri territory manager Ryan Henderson said it had been their best Fieldays to date with sales.
"It's gone incredibly well so far, the crowds have well and truly turned up all looking to buy some Swanndri gears."
The New Zealand clothing label had two sites set up at Fieldays.
"We come to Fieldays every year, and it seems to grow each year," Henderson said. "It is our biggest sale of the year, for sure, and we're already starting to run out of sizes, lots of empty bins already".