Boothby Graffoe: Cereals 2013 ‘resounding success’ with second highest number of visitors

Visitors to Cereals 2013

Visitors to Cereals 2013 - Credit: Archant

Visitors, exhibitors and sponsors have hailed Cereals 2013 as a resounding success, after more than 25,000 farmers and farming professionals flocked to the event last week - the second highest number in its history.

Visitors to Cereals 2013

Visitors to Cereals 2013 - Credit: Archant

Despite one of the toughest seasons in memory and the prospect of another poor harvest ahead, there was a sense of buoyancy that underlined growers’ determination to move on and glean as much information as they could to help put their businesses back on track, organisers said.

Visitors to Cereals 2013

Visitors to Cereals 2013 - Credit: Archant

A total of 25,850 farmers, agronomists and other professionals attended this year’s show, which is seen as a leading technical event for the UK arable sector, at Boothby Graffoe, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

A record 500 exhibitors covered technical, machinery and business topics and many reported high footfall and a healthy interest in their products.

Allan Wilkinson, head of agriculture at HSBC, Cereals’ principal sponsor for the 10th successive year, said the show as more buoyant than expected.

“It was really busy and our best event yet,” he said.

“There was a sense of realism about the coming harvest, with many combinable crop businesses facing large falls in cash flow. However, one poor year does not materially affect a well-run farming business. Visitors were making the most of the event to focus on the undoubted longer-term opportunities that exist.”

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Event director Jon Day said the figures reflected the resilience of the arable sector and the determination of farmers to bounce back.

“The feedback from all involved, both visitors and exhibitors, has been exceptional,” he said. “There was a tangible sense of optimism despite all the recent weather-induced problems. People seem determined to put the past year behind them and look to their 2014 cropping with renewed hope and determination.”

Farming minister David Heath, who attended on Wednesday, conceded the past 12 months had been “pretty awful” and harvest prospects were not good.

But he added there was “very considerable optimism” for what was happening in agriculture longer term due to the rising population both in the UK and globally.

The Arable Conference at Cereals, in partnership with the Oxford Farming Conference, was a strong draw, and a series of technical seminars also proved popular. Topics included correcting soil damage, the rising cost of crop disease protection, precision farming developments and controlled straw burning to control resistant blackgrass.