Special report: Fieldays 2022

After a series of postponements and cancellations, the mighty Fieldays was back, showcasing new machinery releases and innovations

Fieldays 2022 viewed from the hilltop

It was New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays® but not as we know it. After a chaotic couple of years for event management teams, changing the iconic Fieldays event from its historic mid-year June date to November/December was a bold move, but one of necessity given ongoing COVID restrictions.

While the lead-up marketing touted the opportunity to swap winter woollies and gumboots for shorts and jandals, it turns out that even that was a tad pre-emptive. Fieldays opened to torrential downpours, which continued throughout the day, building to thunderstorms. Not the most appealing conditions to venture out in – and off-putting to the general public. On the flip side, it did mean that ag contractors had the perfect excuse to turn the hay machinery off for the day and head along to see the newest machinery releases and innovations in person.

Fieldays 2022 crowds on a mission (and dodging weather squalls)

With some of the key tractor and machinery brands opting not to exhibit at this Fieldays, there was still plenty to see, with impressive line-ups from Case IH, New Holland, Norwoods, Power Farming, John Deere, Kubota, and more. The newest tractor on site landed at the wharf in Auckland only the day before Fieldays kicked off, and a remarkable effort was made by all involved to get the Case IH Optum 250 AFS Connect up and running and into pride of place on the site before the gates opened on Wednesday.

Day 1 saw a lower turnout than anticipated with 17,000 through the gates and the event wound up with approximately 75,000 visitors across the four days.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony with society president James Allen, Tumuaki o te Kingitanga Hone Thompson, and minister for trade and export growth Damien O’Connor

“We expected a reduced attendance, due to the timing, lower confidence levels in the economy, and supply chain issues still evident for many,” says New Zealand National Fieldays Society chief executive Peter Nation.

“These impacts are amplified by lower staffing levels, and ever-present COVID, which, unfortunately, despite the postponement decision to ease this concern hasn’t gone away. We’re living in very challenging times, and I think our event may have reflected these challenges.

The official opening ceremony of Fieldays 2022 included a pōwhiri and the rising of flag

“From our early discussions with our exhibitors, it appears as though many have seen genuine sales, along with positive discussions, and have enjoyed the very focused interactions with the visitors that may not have transpired with the traditional larger scale event.”

The decision to move from June to November was not made lightly.

Farm Trader Ed Lisa Potter manages a sneak peek at an upcoming Kubota new release

“The rural sector is really facing a lot of challenges at the moment,” says Peter. “We’ve navigated not only the seasonal nature of the primary industries in New Zealand but also navigating other major events.”

The event returns to its traditional winter dates in 2023 from 14 to 17 June and planning is already underway for what will be the 55th Fieldays.

Case IH Australasia GM Pete McCann, Farm Trader’s Dan Reymer, Giltrap AgriZone MD Andrew Giltrap, and Farm Trader’s Mark Fouhy

Find new and used farm machinery for sale in NZ 

Photography: Lisa Potter

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