Visitors and exhibitors welcomed the far-reaching farmer-led changes at the Cereals Event last week, with plenty of cutting-edge technology and advice on offer.
It was the first chance the industry had to experience the new-look event since it was taken over by Comexposium and the team that organises SIMA in Paris, and other agricultural shows around the world. Under the new ownership, the organiser team consulted extensively with exhibitor and visitor advisory boards, resulting in a new Cereals with two new seminar areas, innovation entrances, Innovation Insights presentations, and cover crop drilling demonstrations.
“We have been overwhelmed with the positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike,” said event director Jon Day. “We had 18,000 attendees over the two days, and exhibitors were delighted with the quality of interest, with many reporting rapid sales and solid business leads. In fact, nearly 50% of exhibitors have already committed to attend in June 2019.”
The new-look Cereals attracted some of the biggest names in the industry among the 362 exhibitors, including; Amazone, Barclays, Bayer, HSBC, KWS, LG, New Holland, NIAB TAG, NFU, Syngenta and Yara, plus significant support from event content partner AHDB.
Andrew Newby, KWS managing director said of this year’s event, “We’ve had a better quality of visitors this year, the people I’ve spoken to have had genuine reasons for being here.”
First time exhibitor, Pear Agri – which launched its new farm management software – was left very impressed with the quality of visitors to this year’s event. “We had a large number of very good enquiries and attending has proved valuable to the business,” said the firm’s John Edwards.
The event kicked off with a packed seminar programme, with high-profile speakers in Cereals Controversial including NFU president Minette Batters and AHDB chairman Peter Kendall. Over in Cereals Conversations, industry experts explored the technical challenges facing farmers and sought to find solutions together.
Innovation was a strong theme this year, following feedback from visitors, leading to the creation of a new Innovation Insights feature with Agri-Tech East. “The participants in our session showcased a diverse range of research, technologies, products and services and the huge buzz in the marquee showed there is huge appetite to embrace change through adoption of new solutions,” said Dr Belinda Clarke, director of Agri-Tech East. Products included robots and artificial intelligence, bespoke weather reporting, and technology to improve water and phosphate efficiencies.
Helping visitors to get the most from their days were new guided tours, one of which included a visit to the soil pit, which was packed with farmers seeking to understand what’s going on beneath the surface. Different crop options were on display from NIAB TAG, showing how varying alternatives affect soil health and root growth. Other Guided Tours focused on weed control techniques, innovation, and cereal and oilseed varieties, with many sessions over-subscribed.
David Butler, Farmers Weekly contributor and mixed farmer from Wiltshire, rated the show 9/10 and was taking lots of fresh ideas back home, including using turbo twin-jet nozzles for better spray coverage, trialling white lupins as a protein crop and new cereal varieties and seed dressings.
One highlight of the day was the Hands Free Hectare demonstration from exhibitor advisory board member Harper Adams University, which generated huge interest in autonomous machinery. “We were inundated with enquiries,” said marketing officer Sarah Swinnerton.
“Being at Cereals is hugely important for us, not just for student recruitment but to maintain contacts within the industry and to catch up with our alumni. And being part of the advisory board has been great. The flow of the site is much better and we’re looking forward to next year: Cereals is always an important show on our calendar.”
Cereals 2019 will take place on 12th and 13th June, at Boothby Graffoe, Lincolnshire.