More than 30,000 people, including many from Hawke's Bay, are expected at the 23rd annual Central Districts Field Days which opens at Manfeild Park in Feilding today.
The event, ending on Saturday, features more than 560 displays of state-of-the-art agriculture, and a range of competitions which include the excavator of the year in which Napier operator Steve Galbraitrh expects to be chasing the title for one last time.
Central Districts Field Days offers a comprehensive three-day programme appealing to the rural and lifestyle community. Now in its 23rd year, the unique lower North Island event is a recognised rural celebration and marketing opportunity.
The event caters to rural and lifestyle families with a wide range of products and services from agricultural equipment to clothing and much more, all making Central Districts Field Days the 'best day off the farm all year'.
The Hurricanes Super Rugby team helps kick off the expo today, participating in a series of competitions against Palmerston North Boys' High School, Massey University and Property Brokers ahead of the real purpose of the Hurricanes' Manawatu stay, tomorrow night's match against Australian side Western Force.
Dowman our man
Rights to represent Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa in this year's national Young Farmer of the Year contest have gone, for a second time, to Wairarapa farmer and farm business manager Tony Dowman.
But it will be the last dig for 30-year-old Dowman who won the East Coast regional final in Dannevirke on Saturday. He had previously represented the region in 2012, and first tried-out in the competition as a teenager.
On Saturday he went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships, products and services. The Grand Final is in Timaru On July 7-9, with prizes worth $162,200.
Hawke's Bay's Tikokino club produced both the runner-up and third placegetter on Saturday, 26-year-olds Hamish Best and Richard French respectively.
Southern Hawke's Bay farmers Jane and Patrick Leogreen have just managed to keep the honour of the North Island alive by sneaking into the top placings at the Golden Lamb Awards, also known as The Glammies.
During the annual awards at the Wanaka A and P Show at the weekend, the couple, who farm at Tipapakuku Rd, east of Dannevirke, were named runners-up in the Best of Breed terminal cross class, and fourth in Best of Breed - Traditional, the class was won by Central Otago perendale farmers the Gardynes before they were named Grand Champion.
Hawke's Bay's successes on the shearing board last weekend spread further than the efforts of Open-class guns Rowland Smith and John Kirkpatrick in finishing first and second at the Kumeu Show, northwest of Auckland.
Napier shearers Ricci Stevens and Paraki Puna also made a successful round-trip of almost 900km by finishing first and second in the Intermediate final, while Hemi Lambert, of Raupunga, ventured south and won the Intermediate final at the Kowai Sefton Sports in Sefton, Marlborough.
Forestry field day
North Island Farm Forester of the Year award winners John and Sue Upton will showcase the property that won them the title in a field at McNeill Farm, Rissington, on Saturday. The farm on Soldier Settlement Rd is a 30-minute drive from Napier and the field day starts at 9.30am.