Stories, by KEN WILSON, SHANNON BARRACLOUGH
CROWDS up, sales up, confidence up.
That's the "nutshell" appraisal of last week's Mingenew Midwest Lions Expo, by secretary Leonie Micke after a busy two day event that attracted a crowd of 9500.
"It caught me by surprise given the difficult season we're having," she said. "There was hardly a person I spoke with who didn't have a positive comment and there's still hope we'll get a good finish to the season."
Most exhibitors shared the same sentiments as farmers shrugged off the lack of rain to concentrate on farm requirements for next year.
McIntosh and Son Geraldton manager said there was strong inquiry over the two days, particularly related to new combine harvesters and tractors released by New Holland the previous week.
"We got a new header over here and we were swamped by farmers wanting to get details," he said.
The McIntosh stand, which won "best agriculture site" at Expo, presented a microcosm of the activity during the two days as farmers looked over the header, tractors, sprayers, seeding bars, an offset disc, a telehandler and a field bin.
Freedom Tanks representative Dean Horner said there was increased interest in liquid fertiliser systems reflected by inquiry for the company's storage tanks which were specifically designed for strength and safety.
"I don't think there's any doubt that farmers are heading that way (towards liquid) and it will only increase as more trial results show up the benefits," he said.
Walton's dealer principal Hal Walton said the difficult season had not deterred farmers from planning ahead.
"There are always machinery needs for the farm and new technology will assist them in more cost efficiencies as well as increasing production," he said. "We had very positive comments from farmers visiting us and it is apparent they want to do business."
Case-IH dealer Steve Purcher, Geraldton said salesmen would have a busy time in the next few weeks following up inquiries.
"Its right across the board for us from sprayers, to tractors, headers and trucks," he said. "There's a very positive mood which I guess can be put down to increased grain prices.
"We're all hoping now for a good finish to the season."
Burando Hill representative Shane Perry said augers and the Haukass Sidearm Marker represented the biggest inquiry at Expo.
"We've had huge orders for the Haukass, which I think indicates many farmers looking for a low cost entry into precision guidance," he said.
Inquiry for augers should be converted to orders now to ensure a guarantee of delivery in time for harvest.
Norrish Service Group principal Neil Norrish was a happy man at Expo having sold the 22 tonne ChaseMor harvest bin the day before Expo started.
"Inquiry has been very positive," he said. "We've got a lot of follow up work to do."