Field days in Kirwee a hit

by Kent Caddick

Despite a wet start, organisers say the 2017 South Island Agricultural Field Days in Kirwee were a success.

More than 30,000 people attended the event over the three days, which was an increase on the attendance at SIAFD 2015 the last time the event was held at Kirwee.

SIAFD organising committee chair Rodney Hadfield said rain during the days leading up to the opening of the Field Days meant it was not an easy task to get the agricultural machinery and other display items onto the site. “We had to tow everything in with tractors, telehandlers and even a 4×4,” Mr Hadfield said.

“I am very grateful to the members of the organising committee. They put in long hours in the weeks leading up to Field Days and then had to work extra hard to get everything finalised.”

He said they scraped mud from the access laneways and rolled them before the opening.

         Organisers rolled the walkways to ensure visitors to the SIAFD had 
                                 a comfortable day out

“Visitors were better off in gumboots on the opening day but after that it came right. Despite the weather, our numbers were up from the last time, so we are very pleased.”

The best site awards for 2017 went to Alpine Buildings NZ Ltd which had the best large site, and Sudeley Angus, which had the best small site.

SIAFD media spokesperson Daniel Schat said other highlights of the Field Days were the comparative machinery demonstrations and the Agri-Innovation awards.

“Over the three days, hundreds of people watched harvesting and cultivation equipment run through their paces. The beet harvesting and maize chopping demonstrations were particularly popular.”

Mr Schat said agricultural technology is the primary focus of the event.

“More than 60 new products were released at this year’s Field Days, and we are the only major field days in New Zealand that holds active machinery demonstrations.”

Sheffield’s Taege Engineering was named the overall winner of the SIAFD Agri-Innovation Award for its ‘Power Discs’, which are hydraulic disc openers that can be fitted to Taege seed drills.

Mr Schat said the entries in the Agri-Innovation Award were varied with entries ranging from software to machinery and tools, and this made judging difficult.

He said the success of this year’s Field Days will provide the SIAFD Organising Committee the means to further develop its new site at Kirwee.