South Island Field Days groundwork steps up a gear

Kirwee will become a rural focal point this year, as the new home of the South Island Agricultural Field Days.

The South Island Agricultural Field Days (SIAFD) executive committee recently took ownership of its new site, a 40 hectare property on Courtenay Road, near Kirwee township. Already the small but hard working team are well down the track shifting the venue of the popular event from Lincoln to Kirwee.

Volunteer working bees have been busy getting the property ready for the event on 25-27 March, and sponsors are being lined up to support its various components.

Organising committee member Daniel Schat says the Field Days had out-grown the site it leased near Lincoln University, so the committee decided to purchase its own property.

“South Island Field Days 2015 will be bigger and better than ever,” says Daniel. “It will to provide visitors the same mix of displays and agricultural machinery, and fencing demonstrations that has made the event such a success in the past.

“We will also have the agri-innovation competition, with awards for best New Zealand-made machine, best farm invention, and best imported farm machine. We expect to see a range of new companies and new technologies this year.”

This year as well as launching the new site, SIAFD is also hosting the Farm Trader Top Tractor Shoot Out event, where some of the country’s best farm tractors go head to head, as the Farm Trader team put them through their paces.

Daniel says volunteers have cleared the Kirwee site, put up fences, prepared the way for water and irrigation lines, and planted oats, fodder beet and other crops for machinery demonstrations.

“Both Vodafone and Spark have ensured us that there will be good mobile phone coverage and plenty of data available to ensure new technology can perform at its best,” he says.

Pump and irrigation equipment provider Think Water Leeson has installed and will maintain an irrigator to ensure the crops are in top condition.

Power for the 2015 South Island Field Days will be supplied by generators but in future the Kirwee site will likely be connected to the grid.

Food stalls and a licensed booth will be open for the duration of the Field Days, and lunch will be available the day before they start for exhibitors setting up their displays. Eftpos will also be available on-site.

With more than 25,000 people expected to attend South Island Field Days, the event will give a boost to the local economy of Kirwee and surrounding towns.

In addition to a surge of customers for hospitality businesses, local community groups will raise money by directing traffic, parking cars, and pitching tents at the event.

Malvern Anglican Parish is taking a creative approach by organising bed and breakfast homestays for exhibitors and visitors. Their effort will not only raise money for the parish, it will give visitors a chance to meet local people in their homes.

SIAFD is a non-profit organisation that is staffed by volunteers. A percentage of the money it raises from running the Field Days goes to scholarships for Lincoln University Students. Students can apply for the scholarships at any time through SIAFD secretary Nicola Burgess.

For more information about South Island Field Days or scholarships, contact Nicola Burgess on (03) 423 0537, 0275 858 417 or info (remove the space).

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