Fieldays, as it’s commonly called, is a gigantic annual trade expo for all things agricultural. It’s apparently the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, boasting over a hundred thousand visitors each year. We hadn’t been before so we thought it was probably something we should visit seeing as we had recently stepped into the world of agriculture ourselves.
Fieldays runs for half a week and we went today, Saturday, which was the last day. We had heard reports of horrendous traffic to the expo on the previous days, so made the decision late last night to deprive ourselves of sleep and leave Auckland at 5.30am. The expo is held down in Hamilton, about one and a half hours away. The prospect of sitting in traffic for triple the amount of time didn’t excite us, so we chose instead to tackle the day with tired eyes.
We arrived at dawn just before the gates opened, encountering not a smidgen of traffic en route. Our plan had worked. It was chilly but the weather was perfect – not a cloud in the sky. The previous days of the expo it had rained and thousands of vehicles got stuck in the nearby paddocks that were outfitted as parking lots. Lucky for us the ground had dried up by the time we arrived.
We meandered for a few hours around the bustling expo, learning about various inventions and knickknacks, and staring agape at the immense large-scale farm machinery on display. Tractors and all their various attachments don’t look how they used to. They still look powerful, but more like curvaceous sports cars than the industrial juggernauts of yesteryear. They’re wholly impressive but almost too sleek to put to the rigor required of them.
We stopped to watch a lamb deboning demonstration. It was interesting to see how they processed the various cuts of meat. Those deboning knives are scary sharp. We also watched part of a wire fencing competition. One competitor had gouged his cheek with the sharp end of some Number 8. Blood ran down his face. Oh the importance of wearing eye protection. Thankfully all the competitors were.
Whilst it was somewhat fascinating to see all the new technology in the agricultural industry, such as the automatic laser-guided milking machine (which isn’t actually all that new it turns out), I think our interests are more suited to the smaller scale A&P shows, which are bent towards lifestyle block enthusiasts. After all, what’s an ag-day without some goat petting?