Timely rains bring field days smiles

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Bob GarnantThe West Australian
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The Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days took its Climate of Change theme seriously, but recent rains also allowed for two days of good, old-fashioned sentiment.

After receiving 13mm of rain on Tuesday, WAFarmers president Dale Park said farmers were just plain happy it was raining.

In the livestock pavilion, Cardiff Merino stud principal Quentin Davies, of Yorkrakine, was heard to say it was the "best turnaround of the season, ever", while Westdale woolgrower Alan Cleland said it had been a kind season.

Field days visitors were mindful of farming's future challenges and showed interest in improved performance technologies.

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Roesner technical director Matthew Roesner said famers had shown interest in larger capacity and GPS systems to spread fertiliser, while the powerful CLAAS Axion 410hp tractor pulled a crowd to Wellard Group's site.

Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days chairman Ashley Jones said a record number of exhibitors were on hand to showcase their wares.

"Widespread showers on Tuesday night made for ecstatic exhibitors, with many reporting high sales and orders - some had their best ever," he said.

While the rain brought some set-up challenges for the nearly 600 exhibitors, it also brought a rainbow of smiles to visitors, including children, who were happy to play in the mud.

"We have developed a number of new pavilions over the last few years, including the Good Food and Getaways Pavilion and Milne's Marquee, as well as allowing exhibitors to split their sites," Mr Jones said.

"This has resulted in higher exhibitor numbers in a more condensed area; with the number this year reaching an all-time high at just shy of 600.

"A spin-off has included more demonstrations, a high standard of quality exhibits and, of course, added more interest for visitors."

Numbers have been steady over the past few years and this was no exception, with a healthy crowd coming through the gates. "We were very happy with the numbers. Although the rain is very positive for farmers, we thought the forecast may have put off a few of our metropolitan visitors but this didn't seem to be the case," Mr Jones said.

Highlights included a range of demonstrations, from machinery to allied equipment, gardening, cooking and children's entertainment.

"Our machinery demonstration area was extremely busy this year, with many exhibitors," Mr Jones said.

"Kondinin conducted UTV testing throughout the two days, which allowed visitors to get involved in the demonstrations."

Organisers said this year's displays were of a high quality, making judging of the awards very challenging.

"Polaris Industries took out the prize for Most Outstanding Exhibitor at this year's event, with Wellard Group and Fence Faster winning the Best New Release awards," Mr Jones said.

Plantation and Landcare Services won the Best Sustainable Farm Practices Award, ASV Sales and Service the Lifters and Diggers Demo Award and Elders the Rural Service Industry Award.

My Wild Child was judged the best in the Lifestyle pavilion, while Shima Glaze (SG Furniture Designs) won the Good Food and Getaways Award. Northam Toyota won best exhibit in the carsales.com.au Motoring arena.

Mr Jones said it was important to acknowledge the efforts of exhibitors but also the support of sponsors and volunteers.

"We would particularly like to thank our major sponsors including GWN7, carsales.com.au, Westpac Bank and _Countryman _," he said. "It would not be possible to run such events without the support of our highly valued sponsors and band of volunteers."

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