Henty Machinery Field Day News and Current events

  Field days success a boom for rural sector and economy
An aerial shot of the 2022 Henty Machinery Field Days which drew 70,000 visitors.

Field days success a boom for rural sector and economy

After a two-year hiatus the national economy benefited from a $100 million injection from the biggest and most successful Henty Machinery Field Days on record.

Community groups throughout the Riverina were also the benefactors of the record-breaking 70,000 strong crowd, whose funds raised by the not-for-profit Henty Machinery Field Days to be ploughed back into community social capital and infrastructure.

Held on September 20-22, the 59th annual field days featured 14km of outdoor shop fronts from over 800 exhibitors on over 1200 sites.

The combination of three above average seasons and record commodity prices resulted in visitors responding from every state in Australia, seeking out the hot ticket items of hay, tillage, fencing, and grain handling equipment, tractors, headers and stock handling equipment.

HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said the record-breaking crowd had forced an unprecedented decision to turn back ticket holders from the gates as the grounds and carpark reached capacity by midday on Thursday.

Mrs Anderson said neighbouring paddocks were also used to absorb the excess vehicles.

“We have had a record 70,000 visitors across the three days with the bulk of those attending on Thursday,” she said.

“This is a record attendance in the 59 years of field days history. It is possibly a number we will never see again.

“The combination of a public holiday, good weather and the return from COVID created the perfect storm.

“Sadly, for public safety reasons we had to close the gates and turn people away on Thursday. All gate entry tickets for those who could not get in on Thursday will be refunded.

“The HMFD volunteers were so positive and enthusiastic coping under extreme pressure considering these people walk away from their other lives for the two weeks of the field days.”

Mrs Anderson said the record event represented a massive economic injection to the local, regional and national economy.

“Considering the economic value to the national economy in 2014 represented $92 million, it would be worth well over $100 million to the national economy today.

“Our exhibitors are over the moon, reporting enormous sales of all manner of agricultural products and services.”

This year the program incorporated an evening concert featuring country music stars Brooke McClymont, Adam Eckersley and Danny Phegan. The free entertainment was made possible by a grant submitted by Greater Hume Council to the NSW Government for the Reconnecting Regional NSW – Community Events Program.

Mrs Anderson said HMFD hosted a trade delegation from the Province of Santa Fe, Argentina, headed by the Minister for Production, Science and Technology for the Province, Daniel Costamagna, on the Tuesday and Thursday. 

The delegates were actively looking to explore mutual business opportunities in agricultural machinery, agtech, sprayers, biotech and livestock.

The field days were officially opened on September 20 by Mrs Joy Beames, CWA of NSW State President, in tribute of the organisation’s commitment to and advocacy for regional, rural and remote families over the past century.

A highlight of this year was the coveted Henty Machine of the Year Award being presented to the MacDon FD2 Flex Draper, entered by MacDon Australia Pty Ltd.

Highly commended was the John Deere See & Spray™ Select entered by Hutcheon and Pearce.

In other awards, Daniel Draper, West Wyalong, NSW, won the Greater Hume Council Award for the best new Australian designed and built agricultural machine for a dual auger multi-purpose 70 bag Ezy Feeder.

Muddy River Agricultural won the award for the Best Large Commercial and Charles Sturt University won the Best Outdoor General.

Premium gift company My Hygge Home won the Best Indoor site in Country Lifestyle and first-time exhibitor Tony Sanderberg, Wollongong, with his Kick Ice Cocktails was awarded Best Indoor Site at Farm Gate Produce Market.

Andrew Savage, RB Sellars B2B sales manager, said Henty was a key event bringing the retailer out into the regional communities

“The clothing industry has bounced back well after COVID with most stores shut but people able to access our website for the full range,” Mr Savage said. 

“People like to touch, feel, try it on, and get the sizes correct.

“RB Sellars is still privately owned after 36 years by Australian families. We make our product for the conditions, with a good fit and broader through the arms so when you are bending down and twisting it stays on.”

Sales representative Anthony Liesckhe, D Lieschke & Son, Walla Walla, was happy with crowd numbers with strong demand for quad bikes and side-by-side ATV vehicles.

“With the year we’ve had, it’s good to have a cabin and roof over the head. There definitely is strong confidence in the market out there with sales and a lot of follow up inquiry with some people waiting until the end of harvest before purchasing,” Mr Lieschke said.

Case IH sales manager Anthony Lind, Wodonga, said pent-up demand had resulted in tractor sales across the three days of Henty.

“We haven’t seen a lot our customers for quite a while and it’s important to keep working on those relationships to let them know we are here for them to help get ready for harvest,” Mr Lind said.

“We are happy and proud of what we are about to push out the door from this event. There is still pent-up demand, people are still buying tractors and we are lucky to have a few new ones here.

“Last month we delivered more tractors in Australia for August than we ever had.

“It’s not so much is there as a shortage of tractors but we are selling more tractors than ever creating a bit of lag.

“We are very excited by what’s happening in the ag sector and we think this is a damn fine place to be.”

For distillery owner, Jake Eaglesham, Riverina Gin, exhibiting at Henty’s Farm Gate Produce Market was a last-minute decision.

“People of the Riverina and rural communities like to meet the maker and producers – you can have the best website in the world or pretty shop front it still makes a difference when you can speak to customers face to face making them more willing to purchase if they can associate with a person or family,” Mr Eaglesham said.

“It was a last-minute decision to come to Henty with the recent distillery opening but it is nice to get in front of the people to sell your product to.”

First time exhibitor at Farm Gate was paddock to plate producer Grunt Pork and Codemo Smallgoods, Grong Grong. Co-principal Lauren Dowling said Henty provided an opportunity to showcase their pork and small goods to a wider audience.

“We made our honey kabana especially for the field days and we sold out of it,” she said.

GrainCorp chief operating officer Klaus Pamminger said the presence at Henty was to articulate to growers GrainCorp was more than “just a silo company”.

Mr Pamminger said the outlook for crops on the Eastern Seaboard was promising however waterlogging had affected potential yields in central NSW.

He said globally agriculture was facing a labour shortage with GrainCorp targeting 3500 jobs over the harvest from north to south.

“There are challenges with not enough truck and train drivers, so supply chains maybe disrupted from farm to GrainCorp or GrainCorp to port.”

Mr Parmminger said GrainCorp had partnered with other organisations at Henty to engage with farmers on soil carbon sequestration.

“My purpose is to articulate to people we are more than just a silo company. There are many other items, technology and science farmers can employ on their farm, with carbon markets and sequestration being an opportunity and not a threat to farmers, they just need to understand it.”

Walbundrie Building Committee treasurer Sue Collins said funds raised by working in the main food shed at Henty were invested back into the community.

Up to 70 volunteers drawn from around Walbundrie staff the shed on a roster serving 9000 buckets of chips, 2000 chicken schnitzel burgers and 2500 steak sandwiches. 

“Missing it for the last two years has been detrimental for the town,” Mrs Collins said.

“We were excited to have the main shed this year and use the funds for students furthering their sport or needing accommodation, people who are sick or anyone needing help in the community.”

HMFD is set to host the 60th anniversary field days on September 19-21, 2023 with planning to start soon.

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Henty Machinery Field Days Co-operative Limited

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Site Address: 22 Lubkes Road, Henty NSW 2658

Postal Address: PO Box 107, HENTY NSW 2658