Sun. May 26th, 2024

From Gunnedah Racecourse in 1973 to over 34 hectares and one of, if not the premier agricultural field day in Australia in 2023, AgQuip will be rolling out the red carpet to celebrate it’s 50th year when it opens in Gunnedah today.

“It is a phenomenal event, and it is a celebration of AgQuip’s influence on the Australian Agricultural industry over its 50 years,” said Kate Nugent, General Manager of ACM Rural Events.

Boasting a full house of exhibitors, the event is expected to draw record crowds including leaders from ag industries, senior ministers associated with the Australian agricultural industry, first timers and old faithfuls.

“Once again we are back to full strength where every inch of our 34 hectares site is occupied and representing every code of farm machinery, implements, vehicles, tools, everything so focused on the business of ag and over three thousand brands that are represented at AgQuip ‘23,” said Kate.

Innovation, technology and relief services will continue to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, as organisers commit to delivering on what is important to Aussie farmers.

“We know Australian farmers are the best in the world with adopting farming practices and that it what you are going to see,” said Kate.

“We work very hard at uncovering new ag companies and ag tech startup companies, and we have such a great representation in the ag tech pavilion.”

“We are conscious of what we need to do to be relevant, to be an influencer, to be responsible for connecting our sellers and our buyers with state-of-the-art ag companies who are always looking at new products.”

“Everyone is excited to see what is on offer and there are a number of products that will be released at AgQuip, whether it is around soil conditioning or driving efficiency of farming practices with drone technology.”

AgQuip prides itself on moving with the times, holding relevance and laying down its legacy.

“In 2018-2019 it was a time of deep dark drought, and AgQuip responded, really putting that focus back on rural relief services, and these services will be back this year,” said Kate.

“AgQuip has maintained its position as Australia’s largest, and by all means, premier primary industry event is certainly that understanding of where we are.”

“It’s the fact that we present this sales opportunity for our Australian agriculture companies, and we are located in rural Australia where we have our professionals of the land.”

Where did it all begin?

For AgQuip’s founding member, Max Ellis, it has been one hell of a ride watching a single thought grow into reality, and then thrive to become the country’s biggest agricultural event.

“The concept came about when we saw a field day in Tamworth, and they approached me at 2TM to cover the event and sell advertising and we agreed on a $50 fee,” said Max.

“After the event they came to me asking for the $50, and I thought they were going to pay me $50.”

“After a long discussion we paid up and this put the idea of an agricultural field day and its commercial considerations.”

Max used his knowledge of the land jackarooing in his younger years and combined his gift of the gab as a radio manager to put his idea into action.

“We owned the radio station in Gunnedah, and we were interested in broad acre farming which, in those days, represented big tractors and big machinery and you just didn’t see that in Tamworth, so it was obvious we were interested in the big picture and Gunnedah was a great fit.”

In 1973 AgQuip attracted 60 stall holders with an advertising campaign of buying and selling, not just browsing, and a vision that has proven itself today.

 “We saw a gap in the market, and we thought we should do this, and it has proven our judgement back then was very sound,” said Max.

“Our ad was always to bring your cheque book.”

Max says AgQuip was meant to be like a gigantic supermarket of agricultural equipment and services, and he is proud of where is stands 50 years on.

“We quickly saw AgQuip expanding and by the 80’s we were a huge operation, and today uses the same model we used in those early days, with the addition of the entry fee.”

“There are very few of the original vendors left, some companies have morphed into different names and brands, but a lot has changed over 50 years.”

“There are a lot of new technologies companies that wouldn’t even have been dreamed of 50 years ago.”

The legend of AgQuip

AgQuip quickly became more than your backyard gathering, but drew national attention and for Max, it was the 1980’s that showed its potential.

“One year in the early 80’s, when we were getting huge crowds from all over Australia, I bumped into someone and I didn’t know them, and they came into the control centre to congratulate us and I asked, ‘where are you from?’, and he said, ‘a place down in Victoria,” said Max.

“I had never heard of it, just a small town down in Victoria, and I said fancy coming all this way to see an agricultural field day.”

“And he said, ‘it’s much more than that, I bumped into my neighbour from down there and I didn’t know he was coming to this as well.”

“This really woke me up to the potential of the whole of Australia being involved and it certainly has become a national and international event since.”

“It’s quite an achievement for any event to last more than a few years and still doing well, and this one has last 50 years, and it’s all due to the people who have been involved.”

AgQuip 2023

AgQuip will run from August 22nd to 24th, at the Black Jack Road site, eight kilometers west of Gunnedah.

There is an entry fee of $10 for everyone over 12 years old age. Under 12 is free. Family deals and multiday passes are also available.

Founding member, Max Ellis will be at the cutting of the cake Wednesday 23rd August to celebrate, marking the legend and the legacy.

And while we talk machinery, ag-the and innovation, it really is an event for everyone of all ages, with plenty of entertainment for children and giveaways on the day.

“Just to make it a whole experience for everyone, while it is a trade event, the scale of this event like non other in Australia cater to everyone and is an experience like no other,” said Kate.

“Come and see if for yourself.”
Top image: The AgQuip site in 1973.

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