22 June 2001

British growers cross the Channel

UK growers, agronomists and the trade flocked to Les Culturales, the French equivalent of Cereals.

"Weve got nowhere else to go this year," said Hants-based agronomist Alan Bide as he arrived at the show ground last Wednesday.

BASFs Tony Grayburn and Rob Gladwin were impressed by the independent agronomy work of the ITCF, and the level of grower interest. "The farmers were really interested, they were there to learn," said Mr Grayburn.

"If it didnt clash with Cereals Im sure youd get more UK growers here. You can read the display boards and work out whats what quite easily."

Most ITCF presenters spoke at least some English and could explain demonstrations if you were prepared to wait for the crowds of French farmers to disperse, he added.

RASEs David Storrer, Glenn Rigley and Lesley Eborall were also there to see if the French could teach us anything about shows.

"We liked the international grain feature – we could perhaps do more of that at Cereals," says Mr Rigley, who was also struck by the level of grower interest in the independent ITCF work.

FW Farmer Focus writer Jim Bullock and brother Nigel were impressed by the overall organisation, including loos in the car park, something RASE should note for Cereals 2002.

"There was less machinery than at Cereals but plenty to see in a day. And we didnt see anything about organic agriculture."

Morleys Peter Riley and Andrew Blazey liked the independent assessment of tillage equipment and drills, but questioned the credibility of the French grain assurance scheme. "ACCS is much more intense."

And it wasnt just Brits whod made the trip to Boigneville. "The nitrogen work and new fungicides are what I found most interesting," said Eric Watson, from New Zealands South Island.