Smithfield cancelled as machinery is pulled

The Royal Smithfield Show 2006 has been cancelled after many major machinery exhibitors pulled out of this December’s event.


Organisers Haymarket Land Events said it had been left with no alternative but to cancel the 200-year old show because it had relied heavily on the financial backing of machinery manufacturers.


Managing director of Haymarket, Dominique Gill, said it had been a tough decision and was a sad day but she did not blame exhibitors for pulling out.


“I fully understand why the manufacturers quit.


They had no choice in the present farming climate.


It is a sad reflection on the state of the whole farming industry.


“Visitors did not come to make machinery purchases anymore.


The £18-£20 admission cost and the cost of travelling to London was becoming difficult for many farmers to afford,” said Mrs Gill.


Agco marketing manager Tony Cox, who represents Massey Ferguson, Valtra, Fendt and Challenger, agreed with Mrs Gill and said it had decided to pull out immediately after the 2004 event.


Agco now concentrates its promotional efforts on other shows such as the Cereals and Grassland events where, Mr Cox said, costs were about one-eighth of those incurred at Smithfield.


John Deere’s marketing manager Chris Meacock added that Smithfield cost the firm more than £300,000 – or 8 for each of the 40,000 visitors through the turnstiles.


“We get more serious enquiries about the kit on the stand at shows elsewhere.”


Moves are now afoot to establish whether the Smithfield Show will be able to continue in some other guise.


Farmers Weekly understands that a meeting has been planned for next Wednesday (8 March) between livestock breeders and joint show owners the Royal Smithfield Club and the Agricultural Engineers Association.


Jake Vowles, AEA chief executive, said there will be a show in the future but it will take time to establish what format that show will take.


And the RSC’s William Cumber added that it was vital for livestock breeders that the brand continued.


“It presents a strong quality image for British stock and we must look to take that image forward.”


jonathan.riley@rbi.co.uk