Southerly blasts bringing bursts of hail and rain failed to deter over 7000 visitors to the South Island Agricultural Field Days on its opening day, with better weather promising even more visitors for the next two days.
Running from Wednesday 29 to Friday March 31, organisers at the Kirwee site are looking forward to an improvement in the weather with the event’s fencing and machinery demonstrations kicking off today.
“Wednesday certainly was a cold, wet one for all our volunteers and keen visitors, but its moved through and we are looking forward to better weather and good visitor numbers for the rest of the event,” says Field Days committee chair Hayden Dorman.
A first day highlight was the awards ceremony for the Field Days agricultural innovation awards.
This year’s supreme award went to the EcoPond system from Ravensdown. The joint Lincoln University-Ravensdown developed technology is a treatment system capable of removing almost all methane emitted from dairy farm effluent ponds, and is now on the market as an emerging mitigation technology.
Estimates are that if all dairy farms adopted the technology the sector’s total farm methane emissions could be reduced by 4-5%.
Ravensdown received $2500 prize money, while the runner up was another Canterbury based innovation, the Ruts Plus Pivot Rut Filler. Developed to help farmers remediate centre pivot ruts, the innovative design utilises the soil in situ and does not require new material being bought onto farm.
Organisers are looking forward to welcoming a high profile surprise VIP to the site on Thursday and are confident many visitors will be keen to catch up to discuss the state of play in the industry and the economy with them.
Meantime the expansive demonstration site will be firing up with multiple machines demonstrating the latest in cropping and harvesting technology, providing visitors with the opportunity to field trial them in real time.
“We have worked hard to make sure the demonstration site provides some real interest to visiting farmers and contractors. We encourage them to come and see the range of gear and applications we have to view. That includes the planted maize crop that highlights three different drill types including a strip till drill,” says Dorman.
This year’s Field Days also include an offer by ACE Homes to put a movable home up for auction, with proceeds going to the Rural Support Trust.
“The weather is improving all the time, and there is plenty of parking, plenty of food and lots to see over the remaining days,” says Dorman.