Farmer Focus: Technical events vital for inspiration

Jayne and I are just back from three days at the National Agricultural Fieldays held at Mystery Creek, near Hamilton in the North Island.

We try to attend every three to four years and for the first time took our eldest son Samuel who has just turned 12.

The Mystery Creek Fieldays is the biggest agricultural Fieldays in the southern hemisphere, with more than 1,000 exhibitors attracting 130,000 visitors across four days.

See also: Read more from our Arable Farmer Focus writers

While it is more focused to the dairy, sheep and beef sectors, there is still plenty to draw the interest of an arable farmer even in the absence of combines.

The displays of equipment are a credit to each of the exhibitors, particularly in how they are presenting us with the very best of equipment available worldwide.

For a machinery show targeted at the livestock sectors, there sure was some big kit on offer, which is a reflection of the trend for farmers to do much less of their own agricultural work and rely on the services of big contracting businesses instead.

©David Clark

David Clark catches up with Tim Fanning, operations manager, Case IH New Zealand © David Clark

For us, we find Mystery Creek a great place to maintain relationships with key personnel from our supplier companies and also a chance to speak with overseas representatives of the manufacturers.

The key theme I came away from the event with was technology is moving at an exponential rate and in some cases the technology behind the machine is more important than the machine itself.

By virtue of regulation, we are now required to gain land use consents from our regional council and justify all on-farm management by way of a farm environment plan.

As a result, a key discussion was organising the connectivity of our fertiliser spreader and the RTK Autosteer already in our spreader tractor via Isobus to allow for proof of placement mapping, auto headland switching, rate control and active calibration with future-proofing built in for variable rate.

I was taken to Mystery Creek every year by my parents as we used to farm in the North Island and it was a place where a boy dared dream about what a life in agriculture could offer.

Who knows what dreams could start as a result of things seen through Samuel’s 12-year-old eyes at Mystery Creek…


David Clark runs a 463ha fully irrigated mixed farm with his wife Jayne at Valetta, on the Canterbury Plains of New Zealand’s south island. He grows 400ha of cereals, pulses, forage and vegetable seed crops, runs 1,000 Romney breeding ewes and finishes 8,000 lambs annually.