Wanganui Chronicle

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I WENT to the National Fieldays at Mystery Creek last week where record crowds of 131,000 people and a very optimistic outlook were the features.

While the big ticket items attracted less interest than usual, technology and innovation were to the fore.

The advance of tech in the agricultural sector is now like a tidal wave, moving on the back of the Government's rural broadband initiative, with the many huge advances the tech sector has available to further advance our access to fast broadband and better connectivity.

National Fieldays is New Zealand's premier agribusiness expo and the four-day event is unrivalled for showcasing New Zealand's agricultural expertise and world leadership.

The mood this year was particularly optimistic and there was plenty to see and do for the eager crowds.

Precision Agriculture is the buzz phrase this year as drones and other hi-tech devices are able to offer myriad opportunities in respect of water, electricity and fertiliser management, while also providing solutions to many of our environmental challenges.

The dairy sector has moved very quickly to rebalance their inputs and outputs which was certainly evident among dairy farmers I talked with during the week. At last the quality message is sinking in and quantity is no longer seen as the only solution.

Almost all other sectors were buoyant and the exhibitors were very happy with the positive attitude of those in attendance.

Paul "Spud" Olsen from Opiki in the Rangitikei electorate was especially positive after taking out the Bachelor of the Year title from a strong field - including a couple of Australians.

The National Fieldays also plays a big part in helping to connect rural and urban New Zealand by showing off what is best about our primary industries.

The primary sector is one of the most important drivers of New Zealand's economy, with export revenue expected to reach $36.7 billion in the year to June 2016.

A successful primary sector is a key part of the Government's plan to create more real jobs, raise incomes and build a more productive and competitive economy.

The Mystery Creek event is like no other and is one that always delivers.

Innovation is vital to the continued success of New Zealand's agri-sector and innovation was very much a feature of this year's Fieldays.