Timely autumn rains across southern NSW have kick started the 2019 winter crop and a buoyant outlook for the 56th annual Henty Machinery Field Days.
The 105ha grounds will be at capacity, with the September 17-19 event expected to draw a crowd from almost every Australian state keen to inspect almost $120 million worth of machinery and goods on site.
Exhibitors representing more than 3500 companies will display their products on 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.
Mrs Anderson said this year's field days were expected to equal 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 its 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 2019 event will be the daily sheep and yard dog trials, Baker Seed Co agronomy demonstration site, 2019 Natural Fibre Fashion Awards, vintage farm machinery, reptile awareness display, and the Farm Gate Produce Market Area with cooking demonstrations and entertainment.
The field days will be officially opened on Tuesday, September 17 at 11am by AgriFutures Australia chair Kay Hull AM, with a welcome address by new HMFD chairman Nigel Scheetz.
The opening will include the presentation of the prestigious Henty Machine of the Year Award and more than 800 businesses will be eligible for the exhibitor awards, presented on Wednesday, September 18.
Mrs Anderson said the exhibitor awards encouraged site holders to strive for similar ideals during the field days.
"Many of our exhibitors put a lot of time, resources and effort into having their sites looking first class, to engage with field day patrons and potential customers,'' she said.
"Cutting edge technology combined with innovative ideas and marketing techniques are continually being used at the event by businesses to capture new market share.
"We want to recognise and reward these businesses who take a great deal of pride in their sites.''
At Country Lifestyle, the stage will be the focus of fashion parades featuring garments from exhibitors daily at 11am and 2.30pm.
The Farm Gate Produce Market will be a hive of activity with cooking demonstrations by chef Michelle Matusch, and featuring gourmet products direct from regional producers.
Competition is expected to be intense this year at Henty as the nation's best sheep dogs and their handlers gather for the Pedigree Sheep and Yard Dog Trials.
The competition will be complemented by an entertaining and educational display of dog training during the lunch break in the dog trials arena.
The machinery demonstration area will operate again this year adjacent to the agronomy plots with machines showcased hourly.
New to the field days this year will be the AgriFutures NextGen seminar facilitated by NSW-ACT AgriFutures Rural Woman of the Year Jo Palmer, of The Rock.
The display by the Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery Club members always draws a large crowd of both young and old visitors.
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.
For more information and to pre-purchase tickets visit www.hmfd.com.au.
- Click HERE to read the HMFD exhibitors guide e-mag.