CropTec 2016 proved particularly timely this year, living up to its rapidly growing reputation as the knowledge exchange event for progressive arable farmers and their advisers.
Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the event provided the ideal opportunity for visitors and their suppliers to discuss and explore ways to reduce unit production costs through the adoption of new technology, up-to-date agronomy and best business practice.
“Getting hold of top quality information like that on offer at CropTec is key in the quest to remain competitive and profitable in these uncertain times as farmers prepare for life outside the European Union,” said CropTec’s development director Stephen Howe.
Visitors to the event, which took place on Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 November, at East of England Showground, Peterborough, were increasingly constrained by many factors outside their control, he said. These included global supply and demand, currency fluctuations, regulation, climate and especially now, politics.
“Fortunately for the UK economy, our farmers, together with their suppliers, researchers and education sector, are resilient and will find ways to improve factors they can control so that our industry can benefit from a growing world demand for food in the longer term.”
The role that events like CropTec played in this quest for success was highlighted by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors, said Elisabeth Mork-Eidem, group head of events at Briefing Media, which organises CropTec.
“Seeing our visitors taking home great practical advice on how to improve productivity on farm is what CropTec is all about, and that is exactly what we saw again this week.
“2016 saw a further increase in the number and quality of visitors, the amount of learning received and in real business being done. We are very much looking forward to continuing to develop CropTec and provide an even better event in 2017.”
Rob King, managing director of CropTec principal sponsor Adama UK, said: “CropTec 2016 was our third year as title sponsor and once again the event was typified by a sense of cautious optimism set against a background of political uncertainty.
“The event focused on providing visitors with cutting-edge technical knowledge and agronomic advice relating to all aspects of arable and root cropping, and it was heartening to see so many enthusiastic visitors contributing to a really vibrant two days.”
The UK’s impending withdrawal from the EU and associated uncertainty regularly came up in conversation, he added.
“We as an industry must make a co-ordinated and determined effort to lobby policymakers to ensure a new “British Agricultural Policy” is tailored to effectively address our industry’s needs and requirements.”
On crop protection, the over-riding message was the need for a consolidated effort for agronomists and growers to consider the threat of fewer crop protection actives.
“With a shortage of new products coming through, and existing chemistries always at risk from regulatory restrictions, key advice was that farmers and agronomists must ensure they formulate treatment programmes which do not place undue pressure on those actives which are already ‘at risk’,” he added.
More than 36 speakers took part in this year’s event and together with over 140 exhibitors and organisations like AHDB, NFU, Defra and the VI helped clarify some of the uncertainty and demonstrated how technical excellence could help improve growers’ competitive edge and profitability.
Most of the seminars were standing room only. The programme focused on four key technical areas affecting profitability – crop establishment, crop nutrition, crop protection and crop breeding, featuring some of the industry’s most acknowledged experts.
Beyond the seminars, exhibitor stands offered visitors the chance to explore a wide range of novel science and innovative technology in an informal atmosphere, creating the ideal forum for visitors, exhibitors and researchers to exchange ideas and experiences.
The knowledge hubs – short, sharp presentations delivering key take-away messages proved popular draws, none more so than the new blackgrass hub that offered the latest advice on aerial scanning, cultivations, cover cropping and chemistry to tackle the weed.
The many messages on Twitter following the event highlighted the value farmers put on the quality of information on offer.
Lincolnshire farmer Andrew Ward tweeted: Congratulations to all the @CropTecShow team for an inspiring show this year. The 4th show and they just keep getting better & better.
Inked farmer said: Great time @CropTecShow today, great #agri tech coming through, proud of #britishfarming
East Midlands producer Walnut Farm tweeted: Good day at #croptec16 getting bigger and better every year
Hertfordshire farmer Andrew Watts tweeted: Excellent curry at @AdamaUK_ another good day at #CropTec16 – this event really growing
Northampton farmer Steve May added: A very interesting day spent @ CropTecShow today of particular interest in the seminars were @flawborough_fms CTF & Bill Angus-hybrid wheat
CropTec returns to the East of England Showground, Peterborough on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 November 2017.