Fine weather draws big crowds

Haidee VandenbergheCountryman

The Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days has gone off with a bang, once again attracting strong crowds.

Blue skies greeted the 17,000 visitors, but after one of the driest Julys on record it perhaps wasn't the weather farmers were looking for.

Nevertheless, a combination of strong grain prices and forecast rain made the mood around the field day optimistic.

Visitor numbers were up 2 per cent on last year and when combined with the industry representatives on hand to man stalls and tents, more than 20,000 people went through the gates.

Exhibitor numbers also continue to surge. Numbers have grown from 472 exhibitors in 2009, to 530 in 2010 and then this year for the second year in a row numbers topped 600.

"Many of the exhibitors have commented on the overall positive attitude of the farmers who visited the Dowerin field days last week, saying they had faith the season was going to have a happy ending," Dowerin field days chairman Ashley Jones said.

Other highlights were the Tractor Pull Challenge, taken out for the second time by Koorda Football Club, and country singer Lee Kernaghan who sang his big hit 'Boys from the Bush' with the local primary school choir.

Most Outstanding Exhibitor, sponsored by _Countryman _, was awarded to WA Iveco, while WA College of Agriculture - Morawa took out the Waratah Agricultural College Fencing Challenge.

CBH won the Rural Service Industry Award.

Eyes now turn to the next of WA's major agricultural events, Newdegate Machinery Field Days, held this week. It's the event's 40th anniversary and to celebrate, the Newdegate Machinery Field Days committee was planning a firework display on the Wednesday night.

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