The potential for positive environmental impacts, improved animal health awareness, and on farm financial gains was what drew the judges of the South Island Agricultural Field Days Agri Magic Smart Farming Award to Halter Cow Collars.
The event is well known as an opportunity for farmers and contractors to see the latest gear. However, this year it has something for the whole community, with a greatly expanded lifestyle section and a Tractor Pull competition.
SIAFD takes place March 27-29 at Kirwee. It is one of the oldest and largest agricultural events in the South Island, going back 65 years. Every two years it attracts about 30,000 members of the farming public.
SIAFD organising committee chairman Rodney Hadfield says interest in this year’s event has been strong and virtually all exhibition sites have been sold.
“We have done a lot of work since last time in gravelling all the laneways and improving infrastructure, but the format will be the same as always.”
He says SIAFD allows farming people to network, meet customers and view new machinery. With its focus on presenting working machines, the event reinforces the relationship between farmers, manufacturers, retailers and technical experts.
“The field days get the people who want to buy to come along and look,” Hadfield says. “It is an event for people who are ready to make financial decisions and spend their money. We want them to come to our event and get their field days deals.”
Power Farming Canterbury dealer principal Geoff McCabe says his company has doubled the size of its site at this year’s SIAFD.
“The field days are very important to us. They are a great place to show off our machinery and we showcase our new gear that people haven’t seen before,” he says.
“People come from far and wide to the field days to look at machinery. They are very important for customers because they get the chance to compare all the brands.”
Trevor Goodeve is with Canterbury manufacturer Taege Engineering Limited, and he says SIAFD provides an invaluable opportunity.
“Because it is in our own area, we can get feedback from our customers on the machinery that we design, build and develop. This ensures we are able to work directly with those farmers and contractors to improve our business.”
The timing of the SIAFD at the end of March directly helps Taege Engineering showcase its new equipment and set up its winter machinery manufacturing programme.
At its 2017 event, the SIAFD organising committee introduced a lifestyle section on a trial basis and its popularity has led them to expand it this year.
Lifestyle section coordinator Michaela McLeod says there will be at least 100 lifestyle stalls.
“They will showcase a wide variety of products – from garden sculptures and outdoor furniture to jewellery, clothing, art, plants and food products. Some of the noteworthy stalls include Vege Pods, Container Pools Canterbury and Mt Hutt Pods,” she says.
“Local producers including Kirwee Bees will also be participating, and we will also have a food court in the lifestyle section with Funky Monkey Bars showcasing their jungle gyms and play equipment next door.”
Tickets to SIAFD are $20 per day (children are free) and can be bought at the gate.
Smell the diesal
This year will be the first time Tractor Pull has been held at SIAFDsince they moved to their new home at Kirwee.
DieselTune NZ is sponsoring the event and providing prizes.
Tractorpull NZ Inc general manager Vaughan Coy says the first two days of the field days will be practice days and day three will be the competition day.
“We will have three classes of competitors – standard, modified and pre-1985. Already a number of people have said they will bring their modified tractors from different parts of the South Island, so it should be an exciting event.”
Coy says tractors in each of the three competition categories pull a sled that weighs a percentage of its weight, which means tractors of different horsepower ratings can compete against each other.