Farmers will be able to see even more of the latest scientific developments and arable innovations at this year’s Cereals Event, thanks to a series of new features.
“Cereals 2018 is all about change,” says event director Jon Day. “From content to layout, alterations have been made to ensure the event fully meets the needs of our most important people: Arable farmers, agronomists and the associated industries.”
The improved Cereals experience will begin the moment visitors set foot on the Cambridgeshire site, thanks to the new Innovation Zones at both entrances. “We want a visit to Cereals to be inspiring from start to finish – not just while looking around exhibitor stands,” adds Mr Day. “Therefore, some of the latest arable innovations will be previewed at the main entrances – giving farmers a flavour of what they can expect to see and hear during the day.”
Another opportunity to catch up on the latest technical advances will be through the new Innovation Insights feature for those attending the show on Wednesday 13th June. Located in the Agronomy Zone feature area, visitors can see quick fire presentations from up to 25 Agri-Tech East member organisations including established companies, small organisations, researchers, and start-ups pitching their novel agri-tech ideas.
Traditionally, the event has been home to the Arable Conference which has hosted many thought-provoking debates and discussions. However, this year it will be taking a new form – splitting into two seminar areas: Cereals Controversial and Cereals Conversations.
Cereals Controversial – fronted by a panel of politicians and leading industry officials – will be a hub for discussion of the hottest topics in the industry. Visitors can expect to hear debates on issues such as business resilience, the future of the supply chain with no subsidies, increasing farm business productivity, and benchmarking to measure success.
Over in the Cereals Conversations marquee, talks will take a more technical approach, arming visitors with the latest in-depth scientific knowledge and research. Hot topics to be covered include sustainable soil health and nutrition, artificial intelligence, guarding glyphosate, and emerging weed control strategies.
Knowledge transfer opportunities continue with new guided tours, led by industry professionals. With a site covering 45ha, it can be difficult to see everything you want to in a single day. However, this year expert guides will take groups of visitors on a curated tour of exhibitors and event features relating to a specific theme – covering everything from Recommended List varieties to soil management and innovation in action.
Additional BASIS and NRoSO CPD will be available from a range of exhibitors across the site.
For those who simply want to speak to specific exhibitors, the handy new ‘Here to Help’ service will point you in the right direction. “As part of our drive for change, there is a new layout at Cereals this year,” explains Mr Day. “To ensure visitors can navigate the site easily and see exactly who they want to, help points can be found at each entrance.”
The driving force behind this year’s changes are the exhibitor and farmer advisory boards formed at the end of last year. Host farmer, Robert Law, says the new features this year are helping to deliver a more focused event. “I’ve hosted Cereals four times, and this will be the first time hosting it under new management. There have been a lot of positive changes this year – such as the introduction of a cover crops area – which is going to make the event as relevant as possible. It will really help farmers get a lot more out of the event.”
In addition, the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) has joined as the official Content Partner. “AHDB has been closely involved with the development of our new content features. Their expertise and insight on industry issues and hot topics affecting farmers has helped shape the event features and themes covered by the event,” says Mr Day.
Dr Martin Grantley-Smith, AHDB’s cereals and oilseeds strategy director, adds: “We see this new direction as a really positive move and are delighted to be part of the changes. Our stand will continue to reflect key agricultural challenges and showcase independent and robust technical research and scientific information as well as on-farm learnings and innovation.”
Of course, there will still be some of the original favourite features, from the Soil Pit and the Drone Zone to the Syngenta Sprays & Sprayers Arena and the working machinery demonstrations. A new addition to the demonstrations area is the cover crop drilling demos, where exhibitors will demonstrate direct drilling on an area sown with a mix of cover crops.
“We continue to consult widely with farmers and exhibitors to restore Cereals’ position as the leading technical arable event,” says Mr Day. “We are putting the people that matter at the heart of the event to create something that really delivers.”