Sun shines on Mingenew expo

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Clear skies and optimistic growers made for a bright atmosphere at this year's Mingenew Lions Midwest Expo, held on September 15 and 16.

A revised layout allowed the 29th expo to be bigger than ever, with 396 exhibits from more than 400 businesses. A total of 6120 visitors went through the gates over the two days to get a taste of the latest in farm machinery and lifestyle products.

Entertainment was a feature at expo - the structure of the grounds was revised to centre on key events.

Expo co-ordinator Robert McTaggart said the feedback from exhibitors was positive.

"We are happy with the adjustments we made to the ground - we had good flow of people," he said.

"It has been a really good exhibition of products."

As farmers in the northern agricultural region eye off a record grain harvest, the mood among visitors was confident, yet cautious.

"People are happy - we're producing fat sheep, fat cows and fat crops," Robert said.

"It does look like a good season, but I think everybody is looking to get the grain in the bin.

"A lot of farmers are tentative to buy anything, but there is definitely a lot of interest."

Sheep exhibits were a feature at expo this year, with 16 stud breeders and four livestock handlers displaying their stock.

Machinery dealers enjoyed socialising with clients and talking about future deals.

McIntosh and Son, which won Best Agricultural Display, had an impressive exhibit for its 29th expo.

Geraldton McIntosh and Son sales manager Brad Forrester said the branch was experiencing one of its busiest years.

"Field days have changed a bit - we don't sell that much any more, but come here to meet people and get where the action is," he said.

"It's been great this season. Stock is a problem but we are forward-ordering a lot of machines. We are out of new headers already."

Case IH regional sales manager Tom Parton said the Case IH exhibit attracted a huge amount of interest.

"Solid wheat prices and a good harvest outlook have made enquiries solid," he said. "The field days have been a lot more positive this year."

Rural financiers also enjoyed hearing positive feedback from farmers.

Bendigo Bank agribusiness manager Steve Sims said strong growing conditions this season meant farmers were better off financially.

"Last year wasn't good for farmers, so they ended up getting top-up finance, but we stuck with them," Mr Simms said.

"This year they should be in a better position to pay some debt off."

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