A BULLISH livestock market and positive grower sentiment will combine with a full house of exhibitors at the 54th annual Henty Machinery Field Days.
The 105ha grounds are at capacity with the September 19-21 event expected to draw a crowd of 60,000 keen to inspect almost $120 million worth of machinery and goods on site.
Exhibitors will display their products on more than 1200 sites in what is now the single largest agricultural and open-air event in southern Australia.
Chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said the HMFD team would present an event maintaining a focus on agriculture and machinery.
Among the features for the 2017 event will be the popular agronomy demonstration plots.
The Henty Machinery Field Days Co-operative has aligned with Rutherglen company Baker Seed Co to present the latest cereal varieties for field day patrons.
Mrs Anderson said this year’s field days were the largest on record in terms of exhibitor area with 14km of shopfront.
“The interest in the field days from exhibitors and visitors alike continues to grow year-on-year with the site being the biggest it has ever been in terms of physical area,’’ Mrs Anderson said.
“The HMFD team works hard to ensure Henty maintains its mantle of the friendliest field days, and our exhibitor and visitor experience continues to be enhanced.’’
Drawcards at the 2017 event will be the daily demonstrations of the sheep and yard dog trials, 2017 Natural Fibre Fashion Awards, chainsaw carving, vintage farm machinery and the Farm Gate Produce Market Area with entertainment by Dreamfields creative mentoring program.
The field days will be officially opened on Tuesday, September 19 at 11am by Mark Bennett, head of agribusiness and emerging corporates, regional Australia, ANZ.
The prestigious Henty Machine of the Year Award will be judged on September 18 and presented at the official opening.
Greater Hume Shire will sponsor the Best Australian Designed and Manufactured Machine to be presented on Thursday, September 21.
Farm inventors, backyard tinkerers and students will display their innovative ideas at the Agri-Innovators site at the 2017 Henty Machinery Field Days.
Marking a century of tractor production, New Holland will display the first autonomous tractor, able to be controlled from a computer desktop.
Tired legs and heavy shopping bags will be relieved with two free shuttle buses, stopping at eight designated points around the Henty site.
Last year Country Lifestyle celebrated the unveiling of an all-weather site, comprising a 120m long shed with a sealed floor, accommodating more than 100 exhibitors.
There will be fashion parades featuring garments from exhibitors daily at 11am and 2.30pm.
Designers with a flair for converting natural fibres into wearable art will compete for almost $6000 worth of prizes. The Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards showcase designs using at least 70 per cent natural fibres with the winners announced about 1pm Thursday.
Special guest at the Farm Gate Market will be TV celebrity chef James Reeson who will record his Alive and Cooking show on Wednesday, showcasing regional produce in the recipes.
Also performing on the sound stage is a strong line-up of talented young performers from the Dreamfields Creative Youth Mentor program, including UK guest artists Lauren Diffey and Oli Crawford Craig.
Fresh from touring the eastern seaboard, 2017 Toyota Star Maker winner Rachael Fahim will headline on the Farm Gate stage on the Wednesday.
Popular children’s character George the Farmer will entertain the youngest generation across the field days at the Hutcheon & Pearce site.
Competition is expected to be intense this year at Henty as the nation’s best sheep dogs and their handlers gather for the Exelpet Sheep and Yard Dog Trials.
An entertaining and educational display of natural horsemanship will be staged by regional stockman and showman Tim O’Brien, of the Boggy Creek Show, during the lunch break in the dog trials arena.
One of the few full-time professional chainsaw sculptors in Australia, Angie Polglaze, will be showcasing this art form each day during the morning and afternoon sessions near The Stump.
Visitors will be able to take 10-minute helicopter joy flights over the field day site and surrounding countryside with Wagga Air Centre pilot Chris Cabot.
Always drawing a large crowd, the display by the Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery Club members this year will focus on Massey-Harris, Ferguson, Massey Ferguson and Sunshine equipment.
Each visitor through the gate will be eligible for the gate prize of $1000 fuel voucher courtesy TASCO Petroleum.
The winner will receive a voucher redeemable at Caltex Service Stations Australia-wide for $1000 worth of fuel (unleaded or diesel). Simply clip out the coupon in the official HMFD program and drop it in the barrel at site 727 in P block or 6th Farm Avenue.
There will be an ATM available courtesy of the ANZ Bank at site 567.
Gates are open from 8am to 5pm, with adult tickets $22, children 12 to 16 years $5, and children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult.
Two-day passes are available by presenting on-line tickets or gate ticket to the HMFD office to be eligible to purchase a discounted second day ticket.