By Kate Pierson
The largest agricultural exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere has, as things tend to do, come and gone – so the question is how well did the 42nd rendition of Fieldays, and its revamped formula, function?
In case you missed it, Fieldays ran from June 16-19 at the Mystery Creek Events Centre in the Waikato. Supported by strategic partners; the National Bank and the University of Waikato, opening day saw 26,118 inquisitive Fieldayers explore the interactive exhibitions areas – a substantial increase on last year’s opening day attendance of 23, 975.
In total, 122, 349 visitors from all over the world passed through the Fieldays gate, compared with 117,000 the previous year. Saturday, the final day, 28,139 occupied the exhibition area – 11 percent up on the previous year.
Prime Minister John Key officially opened New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays with the unveiling of the ‘Innovation Tree’ sculpture created by Marti Wong, which was commissioned to demonstrate the 2010 premier feature theme, ‘Innovation for future profit.’
This year saw the launch of the Fieldays Blue Pass Programme; a criteria based ticket introduced to facilitate identification and relationships between exhibitors and qualified key decision makers and business leaders in the farming sector. As sponsors of the Business and International Leaders Breakfast, KPMG also hosted the inaugural Fieldays Blue Pass KPMG Agribusiness Leaders Breakfas.
As a platform for agricultural show and tell, business and product diversity was at the heart of the Fieldays event. Managing director of Interbloc, Scott Bright says his own success at Fieldays has been a catalyst for business growth.
In 2003, Bright developed an interlocking concrete block system mainly for the construction and roading industry.
“We really enjoy working with farmers; they’re our best clients to deal with, which is why it’s critical for us to be at National Fieldays, he explains. “We’ve had the best Fieldays with more than double the sales of last year. The quality of people is excellent; people come in and know what they want.”
And the Isuzu D-Max was back by popular demand it seems. On show for the first time at Fieldays, the model has recently returned to the land of the long white cloud. Trusted by Kiwi farmers, tradespeople and weekend warriors, Isuzu general manager Greg McDonald says, “We were very surprised with the recognition of D-Max.
“People came in to say they’d heard Isuzu was returning… and they had much greater awareness of its features and benefits than we expected. Better still, we sold a dozen vehicles during the four days…that really caught us by surprise.”
For 2010, popular rural website ruraltrader.co.nz offered a cash of prize of $5,000 for Fieldays online ticket holders. The promotion was a way to encourage further online ticket sales and to provide a reward for those who buy online tickets
Rural Trader director Dave Meaney explains, “This is a significant step forward for Rural Trader and collaboration with such an event helps secure Rural Trader’s position as one of the country’s most recognised online rural portals.”
Meaney adds that approximately 35 percent of Fieldays tickets were sold online, which is a further indication that the rural community has an increasing online presence.
Fieldays 2010 saw the launch of a diverse range of products and services. Two highly anticipated products by Hansen Products NZ Limited were released; the new creations refined in-house by Hansen’s research and development team to ensure quality.
Crown Research Institute, Scion brought innovation to the fore through its demonstration of a new prototype – an online land management tool devised to help farmers capitalise from their land.
The release of a new rural publication titled “Landcare” A Practical Guide,” also coincided with Fieldays 2010. Published by the self-governing organisation, NZ Landcare Trust, this guide presents landowners with realistic information on sustainable land management.
Celebrating 100 years of business operation in the agricultural market, two major New Zealand brands, Masport and Skellerup exhibited at Fieldays 2010 and were considered “must see” exhibitions throughout the event.
With some multi-cultural flavour introduced by the International Exhibition area, which hosted agricultural companies from across the globe, Fieldays 2010 took the best of here and abroad and then gave these businesses and organisations the opportunity to show what they’re made of in order to provide a platform for progression within the agricultural industry.
For information about Fieldays 2011 and how your business can become involved, visit www.fieldays.co.nz