OPINION: There were clear winners and losers in this year's regional field days circuit.
Now in its 26th year, this event has plenty to offer farmers and foodies, tech-heads and townies.
“We’re excited about this year’s event,” says Stuff events and sponsorship director David Blackwell.
“Record numbers of exhibitors and great new areas and activities are sure to make Central Districts Field Days a community event to remember.”
Showcasing everything from international innovators to local growers, the layout at Manfeild is rejigged to make way for 600+ exhibitors.
Must-sees this year will include Mission Aviation Fellowship’s ZK-MAF aircraft which will be landing on site.
And there will be local innovations like the cloud-based automatic Zeddy feeder and the futuristic Halter stock control system that uses a network of technology to revolutionise herd management.
“With a heap of special deals exclusive to the event, plus the chance to have a yarn with sellers and exhibitors, it’s a great time to get the latest trends and developments in farming and agriculture,” says Blackwell. “And there’ll be fun and freebies for the whole family.”
The National Excavator Competition will see the crowning of NZ’s 25th Operator of the Year, and there will be the ever-popular Central Districts fencing competition.
Kiwi Freestyle Motocross (FMX) favourites Franklin Farms will bring its daredevil show to the event for the first time.
“We are practising our Supermans, Tsunami flips and a special jump that takes us 23m from ramp to landing,” says Nick Franklin, team director at Franklin Farms.
New this year, event organisers have worked with Talent Central to put on an Amazing Race-styled contest for year 11-13 students. This will show the range of employment opportunities in agribusiness and horticulture; at least 500 lower-North Island students are expected.
“This is a chance for employers to reach students in a fun, interactive way,” says Sonia Griffin, Talent Central’s AgriQuest coordinator.
To top it off, the field days will host the final in the AdTech Hackathon on the Saturday. Now in its third year, this competition presents teams of forward-thinking tech talent to create solutions for NZ’s primary industries, all in a time-based format.
“The Hackathon suggests the sort of innovations that could transform the agricultural industry, and a chance to meet the minds that will make it happen,” says Blackwell.
The show’s premium food court will have live music, local food stalls and a bar serving beers from the award-winning Palmerston North micro-brewery Brew Union.
The lifestyle courtyard will include wellbeing, home and garden and other specialty stalls.
A new Central Districts Field Days digital event guide will help visitors sort their itinerary. Visitors can even pin where they parked their car on the map and enter competitions offering a share of $20,000 of prizes.
CD field days highlights
- The 25th anniversary of the National Excavator Operator Competition
- Waikato company Halter presenting a groundbreaking, futuristic stock control system
- Palmerston North farming innovator Zeddy showing its cloud-based automatic feeder technology
- Talent Central’s Agriquest, a new Amazing Race-style event for year 11-13 students.
When: Thursday 14 March 2019 - Saturday 16 March 2019, 9am - 4.30pm
Where: Manfeild, South Street, Feilding