NZ Fieldays kicks off with government support for farming


The annual Fieldays farming extravaganza has kicked off in Hamilton, New Zealand bringing together farmers and 1008 exhibitors. Source: Newshub NZ

More than 120,000 people are expected through the farm gates at Mystery Creek between Wednesday and Saturday, but with falling dairy prices over the past two seasons will it be the money-go-round of previous years?

Around NZ$1 million was withdrawn from ATMs on site last year and the trade show contributed NZ$396 million to New Zealand’s economy, with Waikato’s slice of the pie totalling NZ$142 million.

Traditionally it’s the time of year farmers splash out on new tractors, technology and vehicles, but DairyNZ CEO Tim Mackle says he expects this year to be different.

After a challenging couple of seasons with the reduced milk price, he believes they’ll be conservative with their purchasing.

“Expenditure on repairs and maintenance has declined NZ$18,000 to NZ$20,000 from 2013-14 to 2015-16 [two seasons], or about a one-third reduction over the two years.

“Farmers right now are focused on how they can improve their farm’s efficiency, maximising their pasture and keeping costs under control. While we are in challenging times, the majority of dairy farmers are resolute and are remaining as positive as they can be at this point,” he said.

It’s during these challenging times the Government is trying to entice young people into farming.

A report says 50,000 more workers are needed by 2025; half of them will need to have NCEA level 4 or higher.

The Government has called in big guns like former All Black captain Richie McCaw and Rob and Sonia Waddell to be Primary Industry Champions.

They’ll be part of a campaign, which is supposed to convince young people farming is about more than simply milking cows.

More is also expected from the Government on how it plans to support those in the dairy industry facing immense financial pressure.