MORE THAN 21,000 people attended Cereals 2004, organisers have confirmed.

The Royal Agricultural Society of England said the “absolutely whopping” figure outstripped last year‘s attendance record by 4,000.

The 12,000 who attended the first day of Cereals 2004 equalled total attendance for 2002, said RASE‘s Jayne Spence.

“We really weren‘t expecting such high numbers, which in part explains some of the problems we had with traffic,” she said.

Following last year‘s delays, routes into the car park and access to the field itself had been improved, said Ms Spence.

But this failed to quell the queues, which kept farmers waiting in traffic jams for up to two hours.

“One of the problems was that people weren‘t following the signs properly and stayed on the A17, rather than taking the alternative route off the A15.”

This was compounded by a lack of co-operation from the police.

“I think they underestimated the impact of the event and have since apologised.”

Feedback from exhibitors has been “excellent”, however.

“There was a very buoyant feel. A lot of farmers came through the stands and apparently had money to spend,” said Ms Spence.

Cereals 2005 is due to take place in Cambridgeshire, with the exact location and date yet to be confirmed.

“When we‘re planning the event, we‘ll be basing attendance on this year‘s numbers and may introduce more than one parking area.

“I‘m also expecting much better co-operation from the police.”