International Perspective: Cereals – The UK's Premier Agriculture Show
How time flies when you are having fun! It only seems like yesterday that Cereals 2010 was held (though admittedly I was not there last year!), but last week on June 15 and 16, Cereals 2011 was held and thankfully this year was only 20 minutes from my new house. Cereals is an annual event that covers more than 64ha (~160ac) and has more than 450 suppliers present covering all aspects of arable production, from seeds and fertilisers to recycling and renewable energy resources, and of course precision farming technologies. There are also machinery manufacturers and extensive trial plots of many seed varieties and agrochemicals.
Whilst Cereals is a UK-focussed event, it is becoming very international and is seen as one of the premier agricultural exhibitions in the world. Indeed, I had the pleasure of meeting people from Romania, Croatia and even Australia! All of them valued the benefits of attending this event and the knowledge they could reap from being there. I have to say that from my perspective, one of the more noticeable products this year has to be the progression towards renewable energies. There were suppliers for wind turbines, solar panels, bio-digesters, bio-fuels, etc.
This indeed is an industry that is gathering huge momentum and also offering farmers an option for diversification. But of course one of the most hotly discussed topics has to be grain prices and the weather, which I have come to believe is true the world over. But to be fair, the last couple of years have seen some interesting market conditions with cereal and oil seed prices reaching some very high levels. But this has often been offset by high input costs and certainly this year, very dry weather conditions in parts of Europe.
In fact, the county of Lincolnshire where I now live had areas officially declared as drought areas last week due to the lack of rainfall. Some areas of the UK have received as little as 25% of their normal rainfall for this time of year and will doubtless have an impact on yield. But conversely, other areas have received a lot of rainfall and, subject to decent weather at harvest, should have pretty good yields.
This year, our UK distributor Precise Solutions had a new stand and was very conveniently placed next to the sprayer demonstration arena. It was good to meet several existing customers as well as many new ones. There is still a huge amount of interest in this technology with steering, auto section control and height control remaining the most popular, though it has to be said there is an increasing number of people asking about wireless data transfer and implement steering.