Fieldays proved the perfect springboard for Malcolm Webster to expand his fencing business beyond Mahurangi and introduce New Zealand know-how to Japan
Malcolm, of All Rural Fencing, has been heading to the fieldays for almost 40 years.
Three years ago, he took his tractor and post-hole driver to the fieldays and demonstrated how to manage roaming livestock such as sheep, deer and goats with suitable fencing.
His demonstration fascinated Japanese business executives, who saw an opportunity to radically improve farming methods in their country.
In post-war Japan, the tendency has been to keep animals in big barns all year around.
Grass is cut and harvested and brought to the animals rather than allowing the animals to graze naturally.
Malcolm offered to travel to Japan to teach New Zealand pastoral grazing and sell the technology to be able to do it effectively.
But once there he found he had to overcome some scepticism.
Would-be early adopters of the technology said that the fences would never withstand up to three metres of snow that can fall on the island of Hokkaido, where Malcolm demonstrated the technology.
Following installation, the Japanese sent back pictures of a demonstration fence buried in snow.
First, the tops of the posts remained visible.
In later pictures, they disappeared entirely.
It was a proud moment for Malcolm come spring when the snow cleared and the demonstration fence remained standing.
“The fence was intact with no problems at all,” he says.
The success encouraged the Japanese to turn to Malcolm for help with the problem of thousands of wild deer emerging from the mountains and trampling crops.
“Now we are teaching them how to put up deer netting to keep deer out,” he says.