The mood was buoyant in Hamilton on Monday as big crowds flocked to day one of Sheepvention.
Southern Grampians Shire mayor Mary-Ann Brown said the success of the event in its 39th outing was made sweeter by the current strong season for sheep and wool.
“We’ve had a great start to the season… prices on a number of fronts are still high so I think there is a really positive feeling about the farming sector,” she said.
“We’ve had great cattle prices, sheep prices, wool is probably at a five-year high at the moment and shows no sign of that abating, so this is a terrific opportunity to celebrate that contribution to our economy.
“It gives farmers the opportunity to upgrade some of their infrastructure, replace fencing, replace machinery and other equipment, I think there is a very buoyant feeling about the agriculture sector.”
Cr Brown said Sheepvention’s growing popularity showed the importance of the industry to the Western District and she welcomed the big economic boost to the Hamilton region.
“It’s a great drawcard in terms of promoting our area. It’s a terrific event for our community and a lot of the work is done by volunteers,” she said.
Despite the name, Cr Brown said Sheepvention went beyond sheep and wool.
“There’s a whole range of other aspects to the event in terms of innovation, in terms of machinery. It’s a really great opportunity, particularly for the farming community to get together and celebrate that heritage,” she said.
Swayn & McCabe sales manager Justin Parrott agreed farmers were showing interest in upgrading machinery this year.
“Sheep prices are good now so there’s a bit of confidence around,” he said.
“We do a lot of shows and this is probably our most popular show to do. The crowds are always good and the interest is good.”
Taking pride of place was a prototype Seed Hawk air seeder the company had designed with a six-inch tyne spacing. “There’s nothing like this on the market in the world,” he said. “It’s a parallel contour tyne and there’s no other six-inch tyne like it in the world.
“We think it’s a bit of a groundbreaker in the market. This is a prototype which we’ve been trialling and we’re confident enough now to sell it to the market.”
In officially opening Sheepvention, author Rachael Treasure shared a message of regenerative agriculture.
Ms Treasure, a bestselling author, rural journalist, wool classer and family farm manager said farmers “hold the future of humanity in our hands”.
“Never have graziers and croppers been on the cusp of such positive agricultural opportunity as we are right now,” she said.
Ms Treasure, a member of No Till Victoria and Soils First Tasmania celebrated the work of innovative farmers who were working to improve soil health and reduce the use of phosphates, herbicides and pesticides.
Sheepvention continues on Tuesday with the final of the Victorian Farm Dog Championships, the ram sale auction and junior judging for the sheep wool and meat breeds among the highlights.