National Agricultural Fieldays to go completely online, date set for July

The Mystery Creek event attracts around 130,000 people each year.
The Mystery Creek event attracts around 130,000 people each year. Photo credit: Supplied

The country's largest agricultural event will be held completely online this year.

After being postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown, Fieldays will take place on July 13-26, organisers confirmed on Thursday.

The event is normally held in June but the decision was made in March to postpone it after all large gatherings of over 500 people were banned in the wake of coronavirus.

More than 130,000 people normally attend the event over four days at Mystery Creek near Hamilton.

"The New Zealand National Fieldays Society (NZNFS) has made the difficult decision to not host a physical event in 2020 - instead shifting our focus to the physical event in 2021 and making our 2020 event, Fieldays Online, a huge success," Peter Nation, chief executive of NZNFS, said on Thursday.

Nation said exhibitors not able to move online would be offered full account credits of alternative refund options for their site fees.

Just under half of the existing exhibitors have been processed so far, with 68 percent of them opting for site credit or signing up for Fieldays online, Nation said.

Thirty-two percent had chosen a refund.

"We recognise that some of the real-life aspects of the event are beyond a digital experience and we are constantly finding ways in which we can bring the most loved elements of the event online," Nation said. 

"We'll be hosting Fieldays Kitchen Theatre demonstrations from well-known Kiwi Chefs and media personalities. We'll be showcasing this year's Fieldays Innovations finalists and catching up with past winners' progress and chatting to the experts in key areas of farm tech and topical issues."

The online event will feature a wide variety of exhibitors covering dairy, machinery, motor vehicles, general agriculture and lifestyle.

The event will run for two weeks, instead of the usual four days.

In 2019, the Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek generated $549m in sales revenue for New Zealand businesses and an injection of $249m to the national GDP.