Attendance at Fieldays is running just slightly below this time last year, despite the current slump in dairy prices.

Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation said attendance on Wednesday - the first day - was 28,058 - about 200 lower than the first day of last year's event, held at Mystery Creek near Hamilton.

Nation said he was "delighted" with attendance, which he said was "lineball" compared with this time last year.

He said the feedback from exhibitors, who have 14,087 sites at the event, was favourable.


DairyNZ estimates that about 30 per cent (between $11 billion and $12 billion) of dairy debt is carried by 10 per cent of dairy farmers but Nation, who has a background in the banking industry said about 50 per cent of farmers do not have any debt.

"There are a whole lot of farmers out there with no debt but there are people out there who are hurting," he told a news conference ate Fieldays.

Those farmers with little or no debt could add to their bottom profits by lowering costs, he said. "Now is the time to be thinking of technology and improving their bottom line," he said.

The event, which runs over four days, usually attracts around 120,000 visitors.