28 September, 2021
Westech, pivoting point in rapidly growing industry
Westech returned this month along with a number of interesting exhibits.
EXHIBITORS at Westech were delighted in sales numbers as the agtech industry continues to grow.
So much so, much of the equipment on display had been sold prior to the event, with exhibitors having to borrow the sold equipment just for the show, according to Westech Committee President John Chandler.
Mr Chandler said the event was absolutely brilliant to be able to host Westech despite the lockdowns and uncertainty.
“We weighed up the pros and cons and went ahead with it [the event],” he said.
“We pulled it off, numbers were down a little bit, but we still managed to put about 3000 through the gates over the two days.
“The number of exhibitors was just under 200, which is down a little bit, but still enough to fill the grounds.”
Mr Chandler said he thought much of the shorter numbers were due to people still being afraid of COVID-19, but those who did make the effort were treated to a number of great exhibits.
“It’s very difficult [to decide on what stood out]; I go round and round, and I walk past a lot,” he said.
“If you’re into livestock handling equipment, Pro Way, they’ve got pastoral panels, they’ve got great displays of sheep handling equipment, Pro Way again does cattle handling equipment — cattle yards.
“The state of the industry has got everyone in a sort of spending mode for a lot of equipment — a lot of equipment is on backorder, a lot of steel is becoming more expensive because there is so much needed in the building industry.”
Mr Chandler said he wasn’t discounting the fact that some exhibitors may have found the event to be quiet, but said many of the large tractors and machinery were already sold in the lead-up to the event.
“[That’s not to mention] the full clearance Merion sale,” he said.
“Those people did well to bring rams to a one-off event, held every three or four years — it’s hard for the studs.
“We didn’t have the New South Wales studs, but we did have one pen of rams that were presold on display.”
One exhibit that is becoming increasingly popular and common is solar and solar pump displays.
Mr Chandler said it was a booming industry, and it was great to see how solar panels can supply water to local industry.
“Something I was interested in, and something my boys were really interested in, were the scales with the electronic scales, so TruTest was doing a roaring trade,” she said.
“You put the cattle on the platform and the computer reads the tag on the beast, and gives you the lifetime weight recordings, the averages, its pregnancy state — if it’s a female, whatever you need to know.”
Unusually, Mr Chandler noted a large flock of chickens that had sold outstandingly.
“Who’d know that Red Layer Poults would be in such high demand,” he said.
Mr Chandler said this was the value of having a physical event occur but thought there may be a new future in store.
“People love to get out and socialise and have a look at the products that they’re interested in firsthand,” he said.
“But I got no doubt we’re heading down the track of eventually having virtual field days in years to come.
“You can almost do it now, you can go on online for lots of these big auctions.”
Mr Chandler said companies will still need to interact with consumers in person.
“The companies and exhibitors who want to bring this stuff out and talk to their customers, still need to do it in the physical,” he said.
“People still like to buy their new machinery in person, maybe parts and stuff online.”
Another major part of the event is the schooling stalls, Mr Chandler said he saw most of them being swarmed with interest.
It is uncertain if the next Westech will be held in 2023 or 2024.
Mr Chandler said while they would like to have the event alternate with Beef Australia, it may be too much too soon for the volunteer committee, which he said had put in a might effort for this year.
“It was a great effort by a committee that’s work hard together over the last three years,” he said.
“They all pulled their weight, they all did their job, and they all turned up for the clean-up, which went on until Friday.
“The Barcaldine Regional Council was instrumental in lending us their showgrounds — it was great support from them.”