NZ Central Fields feel the heat

New Zealand’s Central Districts Field Days attracted farmers and contractors to the big machinery as confidence lifted at the prospect of a higher dairy payout. Source: Stuff NZ

But many said farmers they were taking the opportunity of fine weather to get chores done on the farm and they thought attendance was down on previous years.

Alan Morrison from Origin Agroup, a Cambridge cultivation and forage equipment supplier, said there had been good general interest from farmers and contractors.

“But people don’t buy here. They look and we take prospects and contact them later.”

Norwood farm machinery based in Palmerston North said there had been good inquiry.

“Solid inquiry, not tyre-kicking,” said regional manager for the lower North Island Janoah Smith.

He said the group offered chainsaws, mowers and weed eaters which were good for residential places, compact tractors for lifestyle blocks and big tractors that boasted 300 horsepower and cost around $250,000.

However, he said health and safety regulations might mean that in the future it might be too costly to set up sites at the Field Days. Many people checked products out on line, and in the future, there might not be machinery on site, but rather people would use virtual reality.

“It is only my opinion, but in the future, they will put on wrap-around glasses and know how a tractor drives.”

In the meantime, the site was covered in machinery.

“There are three different sectors of clients. We have a lead and a buyer firms up on an idea and will buy, people are looking but they mightn’t do something for 12 months, or thirdly they have just started looking and will buy sometime in the future.”

Smith said when it was super fine, as it had been for the Field Days, many farmers took the time at home to get jobs done.

“Specially given the summer we have had. You get more people often when the weather isn’t so good. They think, well we can’t do anything at home, might as well go to the Field Days.”

Gary Hoyle from Farm machinery said it was rare to get sales on the day, but rather they got “hot-leads” which they followed up on.

“The dairy industry has picked up and people are more confident. They think more about spending.”

And Dan Clavelle, branch manager for Feilding-based John Deere, said The Field Days was a time to talk to potential clients.

“It is all about having a discussion, not closing sales. It is building relationships and people can see all the equipment in one place.”

He said low interest rates had made equipment cheaper.

“They are attractive. We think we offer a good deal and have been for some time.”

Clavelle said they offered shade, cool water and had a good site for relationship building.

People were seeking cold drinks, ice cream sales went through the roof and there were singlets, not gumboots as the sun beat down.

Good interest in farm machinery, but too hot for record field day attendance. And sunblock around the field days’ site had to be refilled regularly as temperatures soared.