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Innovation on the agenda for Fieldays 2019

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Thursday, 13 June 2019, 10:04AM
Laurie Colombus, 95, of Dinsdale, Hamilton, has a go on Worksafe's virtual reality side-by-side simulator at its stand in the pavilion at this year's Fieldays. Photo / Nicky Barton

Thousands of people have descended on Hamilton's Mystery Creek for the start of Fieldays.

The Southern Hemisphere's biggest agribusiness event this covers 42 hectares, and runs for four days. 

Chief executive Peter Nation told Kate Hawkesby 26,000 people clocked through the gate yesterday, up on last year's 50th anniversary event.

"People are certainly coming. People that I talked to yesterday were pretty upbeat about their first day, and it looked full obviously."

Today's Fieldays schedule includes awards for new farming innovations.

Nation says the best and brightest ideas will be recognised at the Innovation Awards.

"I guarantee there'll be something in there that probably will make a big difference to agriculture, there always is. We've got some international entries this year as well."

The event has already garnered attention for innovation, with Hyundai unveiling the country's first hydrogen powered SUV yesterday. 

Amongst the other technological marvels, Worksafe have set up a stand in the pavilion and while sharing tips about safety, they're also giving people the chance to test their skills with a quad bike with a new virtual 3D tech system.

Designed by a tech-savvy South Islander, the machine gives people the opportunity to drive along a farm in a real-life scenario, with the added task of counting sheep.

Al McCone, sector lead for agriculture at WorkSafe, says it's a great way to see the challenges of farming in New Zealand, alongside the risks taken when at work.

"It really shows the power of these machines and how dangerous they can be when your attention is diverted."

Given nearly 90 per cent of all deaths on farms involved a vehicle - not just quad bikes but utes, tractors and side-by-sides - it is a serious but fun way to get a refresher, or even learn some new safety techniques.

ON AIR: Overnight Talk

12AM - 5AM