Thousands flock to field days

CommBank’s general manager Victoria and Tasmania, Dominic Westendorf, and AgriSustainability manager Carmel Onions, with Lardner Park CEO Craig Debnam.

People climbed aboard tractors, looked under bonnets, craned their necks to see up to the cabins of some machines, assessed the volume capacity of different sprayers, and generally caught up with friends and neighbours.

There were cattle to view, sheepdogs mustered and worked sheep, exhibitors contested the tractor backing competition, attendees could ride camels for real, or visit farms using virtual technology, and the National Centre for Farmer Health staff were busy with farmers seeking health checks over the three days.

Farm World field days, on March 22 to 24, attracted a lot of farmers serious about viewing the latest machinery and equipment available for their business.

This year, there were 750 brands and exhibitors represented — which Lardner Park chief executive officer Craig Debnam said was a larger number than recent years.

“Agricultural dealers reported strong sales each day and have generated promising inquiries and leads for the future,” he said.

“We saw 34,881 patrons attend, along with about 2000 exhibitor staff.

“This is a fantastic result in the current economy.”

Trevor and Will Hatfield, of Yarragon South, with a Fendt Cargo 5X 90, on the Fendt site.
At the TTMI site, Case IH tractors were attracting attention.

Farm World generates significant funds that are returned to the local community, through service clubs, schools, the hospital and charities.

“Many Farm World exhibitors are local machinery and equipment businesses, and their involvement, and the many visitors, stimulates the local economy,” Craig said.

“Local service clubs, schools and charities all provide services at Farm World as major fundraisers for their groups.

“This financial support, provides important funding back into the community we all love and live in. It’s a win-win relationship, every year.”

Farm World is the result of hundreds of hours of voluntary organising work.

“Farm World is built on strong relationships,” Lardner Park Board of Management chair Angela Bayley said.

“There are 12 board members and 25 committee members, supported by a team of five staff.

“Lardner Park hosts 106 events throughout the year, and Farm World is one of them. This year, Farm World celebrated its 57th year.

“Among our longest existing exhibitors are Evans Petroleum, Vin Rowe Farm Machinery and Warragul Toyota — all are local businesses — and CommBank.

“Lucas Mill started exhibiting portable sawmills at Farm World 30 years ago, and now they sell globally.”

There were information events to attend, as well as the 750 exhibitors to visit.

At the Friday breakfast were Lardner Park Board of Management chair Angela Bayley, dairy farmer Andrew Bayley, and CommBank’s relationship manager Shane Raar.

“This year, Friday started with breakfast for 200 people, hosted by CommBank, then 120 women attended Telstra’s Women in Agriculture lunch,” Angela said.

At the Telstra Women in Agriculture lunch, she spoke about Angela Betheras, the late patron of the lunch, who passed away in the weeks after Farm World 2023.

Angela Betheras was the first woman chair of Lardner Park’s Board of Management and instigated the annual Women in Agriculture lunch at Farm World, to encourage women to attend the field days.

The key speaker at this year’s women in agriculture lunch was VFF president Emma Germano.

Breakfast attendees listened to a panel of speakers discuss succession planning.

“A lot of people who attend Farm World are seeking new information from the exhibitors,” Angela Bayley said.

“CommBank hosts an afternoon discussion about a topic of importance to the agricultural sector. This year, it was carbon sequestration.

“CommBank also supports Yarn at the Farm, where we announce the winners of the Farm World awards.”

The Best Overall Exhibit at Farm World 2024 was presented to Brandt Tractors. Demonstrating the talent that supported them winning the award, Brandt Tractors’ Brandt Tractors’ Adam Chalmers was keeping the maize watered, in front of the John Deere self-propelled forage harvester.

This year, Best Overall Exhibit was presented to Brandt Tractors. The award was sponsored by TAFE Gippsland.

Other award winners were:

  • The Clive Walkinshaw Perpetual Award, for the Best Cattle Pavilion Stand, was presented to Canaan Ranch. It was sponsored by Alex Scott and staff.
  • John Schelling, representing Evans Petroleum, presented the Best Agribusiness Exhibit to Gallagher Australia.
  • Turnbull Motors’ exhibit received the Best Recreation and Leisure Award, sponsored by CommBank.
  • The Best First Time Exhibitor award was presented to Gippsland Timber Gates, sponsored by Baw Baw Shire.
  • TracMac Farm Equipment received the Best Technology and Innovation Award, sponsored by WIN TV, for a new machine for feeding out large bales (see page 31).
  • Bandaleer Brewing was named the Best General Interest Exhibit, sponsored by Warragul Toyota and Ag Farm Machinery.

“The hard work of the Lardner Park board and committee remain focused on delivering a valuable event for our community, and we extend our thanks to all who exhibited, attended, and supported Farm World,” Craig said.

Some of the equipment and machinery exhibitors with their awards.
Clint Newcombe from Burra Foods and Phil Bate from Toorong were at Friday’s breakfast.