OPINION: The news that most banks are pulling back or taking a more cautious approach to lending to the rural sector should come as no surprise.
During the four days Vodafone reported 50% more data traffic than last year and 1TB of data downloaded. Many people used the free Fieldays smartphone app to find their way on the 113ha Mystery Creek property.
Vodafone teamed with agribusinesses to exhibit streamlined pasture and milk monitoring, farm management, health and safety compliance and accident prevention.
"Rural wireless broadband now gets to 78% of the rural population," said Vodafone consumer director Matt Williams.
"So farmers get technology on offer from Vodafone's Smart Farm Innovation Partners, to cut costs and to simplify labour intensive work.
"Technology shared by our partners attracted plenty of interest. These innovations can help improve decisionmaking and be a practical way to do things better to save money and boost productivity."
The company's partner Blerter was on site showing its real-time health and safety app.
Available on smartphones, tablets, PCs and wearable devices, Blerter enables farmers to instantly report incidents, observations and near misses, and use instant messaging to workers.
The Rural Broadband Initiative of Vodafone, Chorus and the Government is bringing wireless broadband to 290,000 rural households.
"Rural people want access to the same internet and data speeds as elsewhere and... no one will miss out on being able to run their households and businesses with the latest technology," Williams said.
In 2013-2015, rural data usage increased by 270%.