Major agricultural showcase set to return as online exhibition
- Credit: Chris Hill
A major technical showcase for the region’s arable industry will take place online next week after being reimagined as a virtual event during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Cereals event, a major occasion in East Anglia’s agricultural calendar, was expecting to attract thousands of farmers and rural professionals to Chrishall Grange in Cambridgeshire on June 10 and 11.
But following the cancellation of the physical exhibition, it will now take place as Cereals Live – giving farmers the chance to explore plant breeding, agri-tech and crop health innovations, along with the latest machinery and precision farming technologies, from their offices or living rooms.
The show’s complete two-day seminar programme will also be available online, including a live “Q and A” function for visitors, with headline speakers including Defra secretary Victoria Prentis and National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters discussing the impact of coronavirus and Brexit on the industry.
Event director Alli McEntyre said: “This is the first time the event has been hosted online, but we are delivering as much of the physical event as possible on this new platform, so there will be plenty of content for farmers and growers to explore.
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“We have secured high profile speakers with tremendous knowledge and experience, so there will be plenty of opportunity for visitors to explore new avenues for business development.”
Show visitors will be able to chat with exhibitors through an interactive map, and there will be videos to bring machinery demonstrations to life, including new developments in robotics, drones, soil scanning and weeding.
READ MORE: Driest May on record sparks farming fears for rain-starved cropsThose interested in the latest crop varieties will be able to explore exhibitor plots through online videos, including the original NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany) and Bayer plots at the Cambridgeshire event site.
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NIAB will also be running its Soil Pit online and giving crop protection and nutrition advice, while discussing the latest research in soil and crop management, weeds and disease.
NIAB technical director Bill Clark said: “Our untreated variety demo plots are always a top attraction at Cereals, giving growers a head start on their variety selection for next season, with differences in disease resistance and performance between the varieties clearly evident. But we don’t want growers to miss out in any way this year. So, our wheat and oilseed rape variety specialists Clare Leaman and Colin Peters will be going onto site, taking viewers by video through the plots as if they were there with them.”
Although farmers won’t be able to stand alongside the demonstration ring in person, the Syngenta Sprays and Sprayers Arena can still be accessed online, and the Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year competition will also go ahead, judged remotely using video conferencing technology. The six finalists include Steven Keal from Thelveton Farms at Diss.
• Cereals Live 2020 will be held online on June 10-11. For more information and to register visit The Cereals Event website.