13 Jun 2012

Mystery Creek field day attracts hundreds of exhibitors

8:30 am on 13 June 2012

The 44th National Agricultural Fieldays opens at Mystery Creek near Hamilton on Wednesday.

The four-day agribusiness event is one of the largest in the world and usually attracts about 120,000 visitors.

About 1000 exhibitors are spread out across 1400 sites at the purpose-built venue and will be selling everything from front-end loaders to water tanks, cattle semen and designer overalls.

The event also includes productivity and outlook seminars, an innovation centre and events such as the tractor pull.

Fieldays Society president Lloyd Downing says there's more machinery on-site compared with last year, which he says reflects good confidence among exhibitors.

He expects good confidence among farmers too, despite declining commodity prices for most primary products over the past few months.

Mr Downing expects more international exhibitors and visitors compared to last year when a volcano ash cloud prevented many from flying to New Zealand.

"All the sites we had available for international have been taken, and we've got ambassadors and representatives from Australia, Britain, France, Ireland and United States this year."

Mr Downing says the National Agricultural Fieldays generates about $650 million for the wider economy and he says despite falling prices for most primary commodities, he expects sales to be strong because farmers have had a good growing and production season.

Changing face of farming

The theme this year is the changing face of farming, which highlights the different models of land ownership in New Zealand.

Federated Farmers' sharemilkers section chair Ciaran Tully says that's of particular interest to the sharemilking industry which has shrunk by a third over the past decade.

He says the traditional way into farm ownership is getting harder, as farms merge, axing the jobs of sharemilkers who share in the farmer owner's pay check.

He says it is harder for salaried managers and contract milkers to accumulate the money to buy a farm than it is for those in sharemilking.