12 Jun 2009

Wet weather keeps visitors away from Fieldays

8:37 am on 12 June 2009

Attendance figures for the National Agricultural Fieldays are down 11% on last year.

The 41st Fieldays opened in heavy rain and cold temperatures at Mystery Creek near Hamilton on Wednesday.

About 24,000 people attended on opening day, down almost 3000 on 2008.

However organisers say Wednesday was the first wet opening day they have had in seven years.

The event's organisers have said they do not expect a repeat of the record levels of spending last year, when $870 million was spent either at Fieldays or in the following months.

The results of several innovation awards were released at Fieldays on Thursday.

The Golden Standard Prize went to two Lincoln University students who have come up with a device called Ezzy K, that attaches to an all terrain vehicle and speeds up the process of moving K-line irrigators.

James Blanchet and Andrew Begg, both 20, were not present to accept their awards as they are sitting exams.

The merit award went to Robert Best for an adjustable gate hinge that allows the user to open it up-hill, while the young inventors award went to Sacha Rennie for a safety halter for horses.

The Zee Tags sheep tagging system won the equipment award, while the merit prize went to Peter Williams from Auckland for his cow lifter.