Of all the giant machinery shows in Europe, the biggest are Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany, and Sima, just north of Paris. Each operates on an every-other-year basis and this year it’s the turn of Sima.
The show concentrates on farm machinery, with 1,350 exhibitors from 40 countries showing their wares in an indoor area of 25ha. Roughly two-thirds of the 210,000 visitors who attended the show in 2011 were farmers and they came from 123 countries in all.
Judging by the gold and silver medals to be given out this year, there’s a definite high-tech flavour to the 2013 show. At least three robotic livestock feeding systems will be on show, as well as a strong strand of high-tech GPS cleverness and ever-more-precise spraying and fertiliser spreading equipment.
With much of western Europe reeling from what seems like months of bad weather, there will no doubt be a lot of talk about quicker and easier ways of getting crops established. So look out for several new strip-tills and other kit that can create a good seed-bed fast.
There will also be international meetings and workshops (in English) on subjects that range from red diesel to farm mapping to Isobus. You can find details on the www.simaonline.com website.
Sima runs from 24-28 February 2013 and is wholly about farm machinery. However, the Simagena livestock show takes place in the same exhibition complex, with 300 livestock breeders and 400 cows attending.
Want to see more livestock and get stuck into a food hall or two? You can hop on a free shuttle bus to take you to the Salon International de l’Agriculture (SIA), which takes place from 23 February to 3 March. The trip normally takes 45 minutes but it can stretch to two hours if you hit the rush-hour.
You’ll be able to see 4,000 animals on show, including cattle, sheep, goats, dogs and horses. There’s a big emphasis on regional food, too, which has always appealed to British farmers.
The Sima and Simagena shows take place at the Parc D’Expositions, Villepinte, 15 miles north of central Paris. SIA takes place at the Porte de Versailles exhibition in south-west Paris and is pretty central.
Air: If you’re quick you could get an Easyjet flight from Luton Airport to Charles de Gaulle for about £70, but prices will rise as you get nearer to the day.
Train: A return ticket on Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris Gare do Nord costs about £100 right now, but will go up as the weeks go by.
Car: Using the Eurotunnel, you can get from Kent to Paris in about two hours.
The Sima show organisers have two official UK partners to organise trips, Stita (01242 515 712) and Fieldfarmtours (01636 616 060). Equally, you can book your own accommodation online or direct with any hotel in Paris that takes your fancy. RER trains get you from central Paris to Villepinte in about 30 minutes.
Sima and Simagena run from 8.30am to 6pm. SIA opens from 9am to 7pm.
Sima: UK farmers get in free. Click on the SIMA website and enter the code IUKFARM13 in the box
SIA: Admission is free for farmers from the UK, but you have to show a business card or letter heading. Go to international door – L.
For more info contact Sima’s UK agent on firstname.lastname@example.org