6 things not to miss at the 2018 Cereals event

Controversial seminars, working demonstrations of direct drills in a standing cover crop plus guided tours of the Agronomy Zone are just some of the new features making their debut at this year’s refreshed Cereals event.

The organisers have introduced many changes based on feedback from farmers and exhibitors, including an overhaul of the layout and the Arable Conference, and a much greater focus on innovation.

To help you make the most of your visit on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 June, we look at six things not to miss at this year’s event.

See more: 11 of the best photos from Cereals 2017

1. New-look debates/seminars

This year’s Cereals is splitting the Arable Conference in two, so visitors can choose to focus on technical issues in the Conversations marquee or get fired up by more political debate in the Controversial area.

The industry is facing huge change, and farmers are being tasked with increasing productivity while grappling with declining subsidies and the varying implications of Brexit.

Come along to hear what the future might hold and demand answers from industry leaders and politicians with influence.

Conference at Cereals 2017

© Tim Scrivener

2. Soil Pit

Soil health is a hot topic, with Michael Gove’s stated intent to incentivise no-till farming after Brexit confirming just how important soils are for the nation – and for farmers in particular.

Back again for 2018, the Soil Pit shows farmers what really goes on below ground and how to tackle key soil issues.

After doubling in size last year, Cereals once again has a whopping 20m-long by 1.5m-deep soil pit to help demonstrate how cropping and mechanisation affects soil structure.

People view the soil pit at Cereals

© Tim Scrivener

3. Sprays and Sprayers area

The Syngenta Sprays and Sprayers area will see about 40 of the latest sprayers on the market put through their paces.

Here you can see self-propelled, mounted, trailed and specialist demount sprayers, all working to a timetable and with an informative commentary for each machine.

The latest advice on spraying to maximise efficacy and minimise drift will also be on offer and the coveted Syngenta Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year title will be unveiled.

Sprayer in action at cereals

© Jonathan Page

4. Guided tours in the Agronomy Zone

With a radical change to the event layout this year, as a result of the CerealsPlus project created by the new organisers Comexposium, crop plots now sit at the heart of the event in the newly defined central Agronomy Zone.

Here, visitors can view everything from market-leading varieties to up-and-coming genetics, soil management and crop nutrition, plus the latest crop-protection products.

Guided tours aim to help visitors discover the best products, services and advice for their farms.

Crop plot tour at Cereals

© Tim Scrivener

5. New technology (Drone Zone and Hands Free Hectare)

The supersized Drone Zone flying cage is back and gives visitors the chance to see a wide range of drones in action. Expert commentators will be on hand to help you make the most of the resulting data to push yield and quality forwards and optimise the use of inputs.

The Hands Free Hectare project, which was the first in the world to plant, tend and harvest a crop with only autonomous vehicles and drones, is coming to Cereals. 

The team have a plot of winter barley in the agronomy area of the show, where they plan to run demonstrations of their machinery on both days of the event.

Hands Free Hectare plot

Hands Free Hectare plot

6. Cover crop drilling demo

Direct drilling will be demonstrated on 8ha sown with a variety of cover crops from Kings. Drill suppliers include Claydon Drills, Cousins of Emneth, Dale Drills, Ryetech Indutrial Equipment and Sim-Tec Aitchison.

Drilling demonstration

© Jonathan Page