It was cancelled twice due to COVID, but Australia’s largest agricultural field day has come back with a vengeance, with a record number of exhibitors and farmers buying up the latest in farming technology.
- AgQuip was cancelled two years in a row due to COVID, with the last event held in 2019 during the drought
- Organisers expect sales at the event were the highest since the 1980s
- Farmers say the field day is an opportunity to research new equipment before investing in it
The event took place near Gunnedah in north-west New South Wales, and organisers estimate close to 100,000 people visited to look at more than 3,000 exhibitors, with $100 million spent on farm equipment.
The sales come at a time when the machinery sector is experiencing record prices due to stock shortages and demand from farmers following consecutive good seasons.
AgQuip general manager Kate Nugent said she expected the final sales figure would be the best the event had seen since the 1980s.
“There’s no doubt there was an incredible atmosphere and the sales were buoyant,” she said.
“Whether it was silos, tractors, ploughs or combine harvesters, the exhibitors shared with us that they were taking orders … [some exhibitors] sold everything off site.
“Our farmers came with purpose and that was to plan for what is predicted to be a very good spring season and that is so gratifying to know that the power of AgQuip is back.”
Mike Broekman from the Gunnedah Business Chamber said the event also saw local businesses make much-needed profits.
“Everyone links Gunnedah to AgQuip and AgQuip to Gunnedah, it’s hugely important to the whole community,” he said.
“Every cent is worth something.”
Exhibitors see strong demand
Among the thousands of exhibitors was Pete McCann, general manager of Case IH for Australia and New Zealand.
He said they had strong enquiries across the three days.
“We’re having an absolute record season from the point of view of machinery purchases regardless of the manufacturer … it’s a fantastic time for everyone,” Mr McCann said.
With the current shortages, the supply of new vehicles and machines into Australia has been limited for almost two years.
Mr McCann said from that situation he had observed a shift in mindset among his clients.
“People are coming in looking at doing budgets now for 2023/24, saying, ‘I need new machinery, I need to put my order down now.'”
A stark difference
The last AgQuip went ahead in 2019, when drought was still impacting severely on the region and NSW.
The first day of this year’s event was a stark contrast, with the gates opening to a muddy site after some rain.
Xavier Martin, NSW Farmers Association president and a local farmer, said it was a different scenario from the memories of 2019.
“[Last time] at AgQuip we were wandering around with dust in our eyes and grit in our teeth, our crops were dying, our animals were under stress,” he said.
“The majority are [now] having a wow of a season … and hopefully this transpires into prosperity not just for farmers but the state and the nation.”
Mr Martin said he used the huge field day as an opportunity to research the latest in farming innovation as well as invest money.
“We use events like this to not just to research the availability of various products and the inputs that we might utilise in our business, but we get to meet some of the more senior technical support people that are behind a lot of the brands,” he said.
“It might result in negotiating a deal, it certainly results in comparing one product to another.”