Technology a focus of field days

Hive of activity . . . The Otago Field Days will fill the Palmerston Sale Yards on State Highway...
Hive of activity . . . The Otago Field Days will fill the Palmerston Sale Yards on State Highway 85 early next month. PHOTOS: ALLIED PRESS FILES
October 4 and 5 are shaping up as the biggest days in the rural calendar.

The Otago Field Days present the latest technology, equipment and services available to the primary sector, plus a welcoming place to socialise with like-minded people.

The event is continuing to grow since its inception in 2016. It now occupies the large Palmerston Sale Yards site alongside State Highway 85, just a few kilometres west of the town.

There is plenty of parking space in a paddock next to the flat, easyaccess location.

Visitors can take their time to stroll among the stalls and displays, get first-hand information on anything that takes their interest, and sit and relax over the variety of foods and drinks onoffer.

There would be covered areas provided this year, in case the famously fickle spring weather is inclement.

Chief executive Paul Mutch said the field days’ focus was on enabling farmers to access new technology, talk to those providing it, and find out how to meet new environmental standards without hampering productivity.

It could even be enhanced, thanks to refinements the technology brings to farming systems, he said.

He believed the field days were becoming an important place for gaining knowledge.

 ‘‘They’re not just selling product.’’

Cut above . .. Otago Field Days chief executive Paul Mutch mows the grass at the yards in the...
Cut above . .. Otago Field Days chief executive Paul Mutch mows the grass at the yards in the build-up to the big event.
Some of this year’s innovations are electric side-by-side farm bikes and garden equipment, the latest advances in soil mapping, forestry ventures, new seed cultivars and fertiliser breakthroughs.

The charitable trust set up to run the Otago Field Days has the goal of fostering community resilience and wellness programmes. That philosophy is evident across the site, which includes a health hub, fundraising ventures for local schools and recreational activities.

The Health Hub is provided by the Southern District Health Board with support from Otago Polytechnic. Not only is it a valued outreach opportunity for practitioners, it is also a chance for visitors to have quick health checks and discuss issues with the professionals in a relaxed environment.

Fashion shows are being staged by East Otago High School pupils to raise funds for their activities.

Waikouaiti Auto & Engineering (WAE) is sponsoring the bar that will be set up behind the main marquee. Everyone can gather there to share a drink with friends and ‘‘chew the fat’’.

There is also a place where parents can tend to their babies and toddlers discreetly and comfortably.

Mr Mutch said the Otago Field Days benefit from a lot of volunteer input and generosity, including from the Palmerston Sale Yards committee and neighbouring landowners Linda and Lloyd Smith.

Field days details

The gates will be open from 8.30am to 4.30pm both days. Admission is $10 for adults. Admission is free for those aged 16 and under.

 

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