The Fieldays Society reckon Fieldays are all about advancing agriculture in New Zealand. They’re probably right on the money for all the farming fraternity who attend but for a small hire company like us, Fieldays are a great opportunity to catch up with a lot of our suppliers in one convenient location.
On Thursday we ventured north to Mystery Creek, to see what 800+ exhibitors had to offer. There was plenty going on, what with fencing competitions and tractor-pulling races, and a whole lot of life style products on display that didn’t appeal to us. We had other things on our mind.
Instead we spent most of our day amongst the machinery suppliers, meeting up with some of our original equipment suppliers who have helped us since we first opened our doors. For all the hassle of getting to Mystery Creek, it was great to meet up with Brent Smith Trailers, Hansa Chippers, Husqvarna, Karcher, Makita, Youngman Richardson and the like. Here was a chance to get a close-up look at some new equipment, talk about pricing, chat about any problems and generally kick a few tyres.
With the business still growing, the order book (and cheque book) got pulled out a few times, and we ordered a few new items to add to the range. Needless to say, you’ll probably hear about them on our Facebook page in the weeks to come.
But what became apparent was the growing gap between the cheapest of the cheap imported gear and top quality ‘Hire proof’ equipment. Perhaps it’s the reason that some New Zealand engineering manufacturers, despite huge competition from cheaper imports, continue to flourish in this market. Most of the NZ-based manufacturers report a backlog of orders and problems keeping up with demand. There were glimpses of ‘Kiwi Ingenuity’, with elegant designs nurtured by simply asking the right questions instead of trying to guess what the best answer might be. There was plenty of examples of good robust engineering where you knew the gear was built to last. We especially liked the small Waikato engineering company building fuel tanks for farms, who have come up with a simple safe design; nothing sexy but resolving several potential hazards and making life easier.
So we struggled up the hill to the car park as it grew dark, after almost 8 hours of wandering the aisles. Maybe next year we’ll get the chance to see the other 750 exhibitors we missed this time around.