12 Jun 2013

Farmers fear Fieldays getting too big

10:16 pm on 12 June 2013

The increasing size of the National Agricultural Fieldays near Hamilton has some farmers wondering if it's getting too big and losing its focus.

The event at Mystery Creek now holds nearly 1000 exhibitors spread over many hectares. Last year 128,000 people swarmed over the sprawling site, breaking the record, and organisers hope to exceed that number this year. With Wednesday's fine and warm weather, first day numbers are likely to break records as well.

It's the 45th year for the National Agricultural Fieldays.

It's the 45th year for the National Agricultural Fieldays. Photo: RNZ

The size of Fieldays - the largest in the southern hemisphere - worries Alan Townsend, a dairy farmer near Morrinsville. He says it seems to be catering for bigger farms.

John Harold is a kiwifruit grower at Edgecumbe in Bay of Plenty who has been coming to Fieldays since it first started on a small site at Te Rapa in 1969.

He says in the past it was possible to test the machinery out, but now there is not enough room because of the number of people attending and the displays are static.

Thousands attend fieldays each year.

Thousands attend fieldays each year. Photo: RNZ

With the number of ag-related businesses wanting to exhibit at fieldays increasing each year, the industry still believes it's a must do each June.

Smart Farm Systems is a Southland-based company that provides hi-tech monitoring systems of effluent disposal and irrigation.

Doug Hawkins says his company has been at the last six Fieldays and it's a good place to show off the company's technology.

Nacre Maiden works for Herd Homes which provides covered feeding areas for cows. She says it's important to be at Fieldays because the competition is also there.