Cereals Event organisers, Comexposium, claim the online version of this year’s event held on 10 and 11 June was a resounding success, attracting over 10,000 visitors from all over the world.
With the traditional show cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the decision was taken to deliver as much content as possible online to support the industry during lockdown including a comprehensive seminar programme led by top speakers, video demonstrations of machinery and new kit, crop plot tours and interactive chat with exhibitors.
NFU president Minette Batters and DEFRA minister Victoria Prentis went head-to-head on the topic of food security and imports. Other seminar topics included adapting to and mitigating climate change, precision farming technology, routes into farming, and the arable market outlook. In total there were 18 live webinars which averaged an audience of 487 each, plus two webinars available on demand.
The event also offered an opportunity for visitors to collect BASIS and NRoSO points, as well as a plethora of technical advice gleaned from exhibitors and through the NIAB virtual event hub.
The success of the online event will come as welcome good news to Comexposium. The 2019 show at Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire saw a drop in attendance figures compared with previous years. Although official attendance figures for 2019 are difficult to come by, it is thought that some 16,000 people attended last year’s event. In fairness, the show was hit by poor weather. However, this still represents a significant decrease compared with 18,000 attendees reported in 2018. Looking further back, the show attracted 20,000 people through the gate in 2017 and 24,000 in 2016, underlining a downward trend that must be concerning for the organisers.
That being said, Cereals still remains one of Europe’s largest and most important events that focuses on the informational and technical needs of arable farmers. Assuming the coronavirus outbreak will be behind us by then, all eyes will be on Cereals 2021 next June to see if it can attract the numbers of visitors and exhibitors that such a well-established and prestigious event deserves to command.