The sheds have been built, the marquees are up and now the six hundred plus exhibitors are busily dressing their sites as New Zealand oldest and largest regional Agricultural Field Days transforms an 80ha site in the outskirts of Christchurch into a satellite village for next week's South Island Agricultural Field Days.
Just minutes from the centre of Kirwee, 21 of the 80 hectares is now starting to resemble a small agricultural town, with numerous banks, primary industry supply stores and some of the latest innovations in the farming and primary sectors all set to display their wares. “It is great to get to this point,” said organising chairperson Michaela McLeod.
“We’re expecting between 20 and 30 thousand people through here next week and with the large array of exhibitors this year, there’s something for everyone.”
With a further 11ha of irrigated land planted in barley, lucerne and other crops, machinery exhibitors from all over New Zealand have the opportunity to showcase their latest equipment starting with cultivation equipment, which leads into hay and silage demonstrations and other types of machinery later in the day.
And it’s not just on the ground where the action takes place, with Christchurch Helicopters set to showcase their spraying and spreading operation twice a day during the three-day field days which run between the 24th and 26th of March.
"Farmers are always looking to do things more efficiently and reducing crop damage or accessing hard to reach areas via helicopters can often be an effective way of spraying weeds and crops and spreading fertilisers", says Christchurch Helicopters Marketing Manager Tim Murdoch.
Christchurch Helicopters will also have their Guimbal Cabri G2 training aircraft on hand for those thinking about getting into the aviation industry.
Kiwi rally ace Hayden Paddon’s 400kw rally monster will also add extra appeal to the Gravity NZ site on Wednesday the 24th before moving over to the Hyundai site on Thursday and Friday.
While the event which started as a machinery sale 70 years ago as a fundraiser for the local Young Farmers Club still has a distinct focus on machinery and demonstrations, SIAFD Chairperson Michaela McLeod felt this year’s field days should also be used as an opportunity for farmers and agricultural workers to get off site and celebrate their wins. “The South Island Agricultural Field Days is the perfect place to meet and talk to like-minded people, share ideas and discuss challenges you might be having. It’s an opportunity to find out where other people are at and take some of those thoughts and ideas back to your business.”