Positive result for Fieldays

Fine weather, big spenders and large crowds  graced this year’s 40th anniversary of the Mystery Creek National Fieldays. Drought and low prices for sheep and beef didn’t hinder an impressive 131,629 visitors attending the event.

The exhibition and demonstration space covered 98 acres and a further 170 acres was utilised for parking.

It seems the dairy farmers were serious about buying machinery, with one South Island farmer spending $1 million at the four-day event. Word from exhibitors suggested total sales were up on last year’s record $300m spend.

This year’s feature – Science in Farming, sponsored by Agresearch, was a huge success with farmers and exhibitors getting behind the theme and exchanging information. The feature emphasised topics such as Traceability, The Business of Breeding, People on Farms, Energy Efficient Farming, efarming, Landcare, Information Technology and Electronics. Next years premier feature “My Farm, Our Environment” was announced on the last day of the event. The feature’s major sponsor is Environment Waikato and the date has been set for 10–13 June,  2009.

Competition Results
Jack of all Trades
Sponsored by Ford, Jack of All Trades set out to find the country’s best all-round Tradie. The winner of the seven-part television competition took home a brand-new Ford Ranger ute stacked full of all the gear a bloke could ever want, as well as gaining national fame, bragging rights down at the pub, and the title of New Zealand’s best Jack of All Trades.
Judges interviewed the top 20 entrants in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in early June, and selected New Zealand’s top 12 contestants. The next stage of the competition was held at the Fieldays where the 12 went head to head in the “Ford Qualifying Event”. The event focused not just on speed, but on the quality of the workmanship. Four finalists were chosen from this qualifying event to go on to take part in the television series.
Judges were delighted to award the 2008 Golden Standard, for invention of the year, to Murray Lopes, for “The Ultimate Mobile Gate Post”, a simple addition to standard gates and fencing that provides the flexibility to create pens and folding gates, creating stock drafting solutions on-farm. Lopes says that he became frustrated with the gates he was using to shift stock around the farm.  “I thought, ‘there has to be a better way,’” he says.

Tractor Pull
In the standard Tractor Pull competition, Mark Bining took first place, followed by tough competitors Luke Houghton (second) and Roger White (third).  In the Weight Transfer class, Mike Reymer took the honours, followed by Richard Waldon, Marcus Horner and Sid Smith. Townsend took out the Teams competition with Gavin Grain and Austins following in second and third, respectively.

Rural Bachelor of the Year
Taking top honours in the Rural Bachelor of the Year competition was Northland finalist Mark Woodcock (35) and winning the Cycletime People’s Choice award was Charlie Taituha (22) of King Country.
Bachelor heats have been a big attraction at Fieldays over the past three days, with the boys competing to show off their rural skills and bachelor eligibility in a range of heats from the STIHL Chainsaw Champs and Fencing to the New Zealand Pork Brekkie Bloke heat, Bachelor Pageant heat and a Bachelor auction that saw an RD1 stock auctioneer sell them off with proceeds going to the Tamahere Firefighters Families Fund.

Ag Artwear
Flax, muka, natural clay oxides, paua and magnolia leaves came together in a symphony of totally natural art for the body this afternoon, as “Papatuanuku and Ranginui”, created by the Huntly Campus of Te Wananga O Aotearoa, strutted away with the Ag Art Wear 2008 Supreme Award for most outstanding design.
Inspired by Maori ontology on the creation of the universe, the two garments that make up this entry represent the Earth Mother (Papatuanuku) and Sky Father (Ranginui) and, as winning entry of the Landcare category in addition to the Supreme Award, are created from natural and untreated products, including flax, muka, natural clay oxides, paua and magnolia leaves. 

Creative Sites
Exhibitors joined Fieldays in celebrating 40 years of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest trade show with creative and elaborate sites.  The Jubilee Trophy was awarded to STIHL who, through their site, contributed most to the spirit of Fieldays 2008.  A celebratory award, The President’s Site Award, which recognised a long-term Fieldays exhibitor, was presented to Gallagher Group. Other titles were awarded as follows:

Best Premier Feature Site:  Dairy NZ
Best Mystery Creek Pavilion Site:  Milk Bar
Best Indoor Site:  LIC
Best Large Outdoor Site:  Goughs
Best Medium Outdoor Site:  Husqvarna
Best Small Outdoor Site:  TRS Tyre & Wheels
Best Eastern Exhibition Area Site:  Village Stone

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