The past 12 months have been a hard slog for many farmers across the Wimmera, with a shortage of decent rain leaving many paddocks dry and dusty. Source: The Weekly Times
But organisers of the 54th Wimmera Machinery Field Days are hoping the three-day ag fest will enable farmers to take a load off — whether that be buying new machinery, chatting to neighbours or enjoying other parts of the show.
Harvest has wound up and the field days gives farmers a respite before cropping begins.
“It is undeniable that we have had a couple of tight seasons in a row but people still have to make decisions about the best way forward for their business and what machinery they will need,” said field days president David Jochinke, who grows broadacre crops and finishes prime lambs at his Murra Warra property, near Horsham.
“Some people have had better seasons than others but it is important to remember that we are all in the same boat.”
While the Wimmera Machinery Field Days has earned a reputation for its broadacre focus, organisers are keen to extend its reach beyond its agribusiness trade show roots.
“We are proud of our broadacre emphasis, and not many other field days offer that, but this year we have created an event that is also about the social aspect of the field days,” said Mr Jochinke, who is also the Victorian Farmers’ Federation vice-president.
“We want people to enjoy the lifestyle aspect of the event as much as the machinery side.”
Scores of farmers, locals and out-of-towners will pack the Longerenong site from 1-3 March — some of them locals, others coming from farther afield.
“I went to school in Hamilton and I see people I went to school with who have come all the way from Bendigo or the Gippsland region,” Mr Jochinke said.
“Some of them are farmers, others are locals who aren’t interested in machinery necessarily and want to enjoy the other attractions.”
This year, some 600 exhibitors will showcase the latest in agricultural technology and equipment, information and services for the farming and rural sector, along with caravans, home and lifestyle products, arts and crafts and gourmet food and wine.
With more than $300 million worth of brand new agricultural machinery on site, the field days has become a popular place for those in the market for new equipment.
Field days manager Murray Wilson estimated up to $50 million in trade over the three days, with several million dollars injected directly into the regional economy.
“During field days week our site is fast becoming known as the second-largest city in the region with over half of the Wimmera’s population coming to the event,” he said.