Two brand new feature areas at CropTec 2014 focussing on the key areas of innovation and business have been introduced to help forward thinking growers reduce their unit cost of production. Visitors will be able to see some of the latest crop technology being researched and developed and will have the opportunity to influence future research priorities. They will also be able to discuss the business performance of their own farms and compare it with units of similar size.
The R&D Innovation Hub will showcase the latest technological developments for arable growers and give an insight into some of the novel ideas that are currently in the pipeline. The feature is supported by Innovate UK, the new name for the Government’s Technology Strategy Board, designed to help business develop technology.
“All the products and ideas on show are designed to help UK growers become more competitive in an increasingly global marketplace,” says Stephen Howe, CropTec’s Development Director.
“But this is an interactive feature where visitors will be asked for their views on which areas of technology deserve further development and investment. That is what CropTec is all about – it is a knowledge exchange forum where farmers can learn about the latest technology and those responsible for developing and marketing that technology can interact with farmers to learn from their ideas and ensure what they are working on is what growers need.”
The second new feature is the Business Hub which includes a business advice area and the CropTec cost clinic. The hub will allow visitors to discuss their farm business with a range of business experts and advisers.
“Managing the cost of production is essential in a short-term   market where prices are volatile and there remains much political uncertainty. But growers need to take a strategic approach when they look at reducing unit costs of production to avoid any long-term damage to their businesses,” says Mr Howe.
“Advisers at the business hub will help farmers ensure that the decisions they make are made in a way that strengthens their businesses for the future.”
The R&D Innovation and Business Hubs will complement a full range of seminars covering the key topics of Crop Nutrition, Crop Protection, Plant Breeding and Managing with Precision. There are also more than 100 exhibitors at the East of England Showground venue in Peterborough.
“There are three Cs currently driving arable production in the UK – CAP reform, Compliance and Cost of production. A visit to the fourth C (CropTec) is essential for any farmer or their advisers seeking to strengthen their businesses to meet the challenges ahead,” says Mr Howe.