THE Mallee Machinery Field Days is set to welcome an estimated 8500 visitors and more than 350 site holders this year in this its 40th anniversary.
The event is held on Wednesday August 1 and Thursday August 2, and is a major event on the agricultural calendar and one of the biggest in the Mallee region.
The region’s farmers come to check out the equipment on offer, along with the technical information to aid modern broadacre farming. The public gates open at 8.30am and close at 5pm.
Organisers of the Mallee Machinery Field Days believe the longevity of the event can be attributed to the fact the club has never steered away from its main agricultural focus.
“It’s an event run by farmers for farmers,” Speed Lions Club president Kevin Emonson said.
“It’s continued to evolve and meet the needs of farmers, keeping up with the latest technology and innovations.”
Mr Emonson said the advancement in farming technology had been one of the significant changes he has witnessed since being involved with the field days.
“When I think back to when it first started, we never envisaged a farming future where tractors would be guided by GPS or have access to boom sprays that turned themselves on and off.
“These were only things we dreamt about,” Mr Emonson said.
“Technology in the last 20 years has gone ahead in leaps and bounds.”
The third-generation farmer said the success of the field days was also a testament to the Mallee region and its farming practices.
“It’s a very productive area,” he said.
These sentiments were echoed by club secretary Phil Down.
He said while over the years there had been temptation to accept everyone who applied for a site at the field days, the club was primarily catering to the needs of farmers and as a result had stayed “true to its core business of farming”.
Mr Down said there had been a big change in the relevance of field days. He said the advancement of technology and the rise of the internet had resulted in information overload.
“Forty years ago if you wanted to buy a new tractor or piece of machinery there weren’t many opportunities to see and compare options,” Mr Down said.
“Today, buyers want to see, feel, touch and speak to dealers.”
Mr Down and Mr Emonson said as farming got more technology based, farmers began searching for more information and in meeting this demand the Lions club unveiled the information and technology marquee.
“Today, there’s always something new being developed that farmers want to seek information on,” Mr Emonson said.
FIELD DAY FAST FACTS
• The inaugural event featured 38 exhibitors and raised $2800. Today the event attracts more than 300 exhibitors from across Australia and features a range of farming equipment and machinery worth more than one hundred million dollars.
• During the two-day event more than 300 volunteers are involved in bringing the event to fruition.
• Rain, hail or shine – the event must go on. The Speed Lions Club has never had to cancel an event during its 40-year history.
• The field days are held on the first Wednesday and Thursday during August.
Onsite parking and toilets; Food and refreshment stalls; First aid; Police; Mobile phone service; EFTPOS facilities; and the airstrip.
The Mallee Machinery Field Days has become a great fundraiser for the Speed Lions Club and many other organisations.