New LAMMA features draw in the crowds for 2023
New features at LAMMA proved a big hit with visitors with nearly 34,000 people through the doors of the NEC, Birmingham on the 10th and 11th of January. Exhibitors were also delighted with the well-attended event with more than 65% of the nearly 600 stands already confirming their return in 2024.
As well the latest innovations on show and opportunities to earn BASIS and NRoSO CPD points, LAMMA organisers unveiled several show features for the first time, including the Demo Arena, LAMMA Torques speaker schedule, NAAC Contractors Lounge and Health & Wellbeing Zone.
The Innovation Awards also returned for the first time in three years to recognise excellence amongst exhibiting businesses, in addition to the Young Engineer Award after a successful debut in 2022.
‘Strongest show yet’
Exhibitors reported that LAMMA 2023 was particularly busy with lots of interest and leads. Peter Smyth, UK Sales Director at Manitou, said: “I've done 30 LAMMA shows in my career, and this has been the strongest show yet. It's had the biggest buzz of any agricultural show that I’ve been to in a long, long time. The customers have come out in droves and our sales team have been on fire. We've taken more than 100 inquiries and served over 1000 cups of coffee at LAMMA, and we will be back next year!”
Telescopic handler specialists Merlo celebrated their 30th anniversary at the show and used the occasion to promote their eWorker, a fully electric, battery-powered telehandler. Merlo’s James Knight said: “LAMMA remains the biggest machinery show in the UK, providing the opportunity to meet customers face to face as well as showcasing our new kit and speaking to new and existing customers.”
Five exhibitors provided live demonstrations in the new Demo Arena, including the V6 760 fully automatic variable chamber baler from McHale. Eoin Clarke said: “We were very pleased to be able to take part and would definitely like to come back bigger and better in 2024.”
The Krone Easy Wrap 150 also drew the crowds. “We had hundreds of people watching our bale-wrapping demo,” said David Riches, workshop manager for Krone UK. “People really like to see machines moving rather than just a static display. It’s been really good and something I’m sure will grow further next year.”
Seth Bradford from Valtra agreed. “We did a walk around of the new Valtra Q305, talking through the different features of the tractor and inviting people to visit our stand if they wanted to know more. It was really busy, and we would definitely be keen to do it again.”
Eco Charger demonstrated its fully-electric Pioneer 4WD quad bike. Jon Hourihan, market and dealer development director for Eco Charger said: “Driving it around the arena meant people could appreciate how quiet it is. It also gave us the opportunity to introduce the business, share some background and field questions and answers from the audience.”
Jyoti Rawat from Solis said the company was glad to have the opportunity to show its 60 Shuttle XL Stage V tractor. “The Demo Arena worked really well for us. We were also able to tell people about the company and our presence in the UK.”
Biodiversity net gain schemes do not lead to land abandonment, stressed Environment Bank’s Kerriann McLackland. Speaking in a LAMMA Torques seminar she explained that food production became a secondary, but still important, role for land under such schemes. “The land’s primary purpose becomes nature conservation.” They are more flexible than environmental schemes she explained. “It requires creating habitat and maintaining it to a certain condition, but how you best achieve that is up to you.”
In the session on carbon farming, Thomas Gent from Agreena encouraged all farmers to engage with carbon measuring. “We have the opportunity to harvest carbon credits, which can be traded if you wish. Even if you don’t want to go into trading you should start to get an understanding of it because it will become increasingly important.” Reducing carbon emissions and input costs went hand in hand, he said.
Berkshire farmer Rob Waterston agreed: “All farmers are trying to reduce nitrogen inputs and their resilience on fungicides. You can get some carbon credits through some small tweaks and the rewards will only improve.”
Machinery costs have increased by up to 300% over the past 30 years, with the cost of running a mid-range tractor doubling from £10/hour to £20/hour, said Chris Sheldon, Agri Business Consultant with Brown & Co. Productivity had increased by 63% over the same time. Accurate costing – with less guess work of capacity – as well as benchmarking against industry standard was needed, he said. Kubota’s Mick Hancock shared his tips for maintaining machinery to ensure long service and reliability.
Technology is offering new opportunities for livestock producers to cut feed costs and improve sustainability, said Bob Kendal of Alltech. Reducing waste and making best use of existing feed through improving rumen efficiency led to potential savings of an average £261/cow/year. The company’s Navigate system gave farmers data to aid decision making, he said. “It creates an action driven report which quantifies improvements in efficiency based on the farmer’s own feed and milk prices. It helps direct their investment of time and money.
“It is beneficial to the farmer in financial terms and fits well with our vision of a planet of plenty, feeding 9 billion people in a sustainable way.”
The challenges for making high quality silage – including climate change, soil health, sulphur deficiency and machinery choice – were covered in a session launching the Campaign for Better Silage.
Representatives from Volac, Krone, Yara and LG Forage discussed their specialisms and how they contributed to quality and quantity production. Attention to detail across all areas of production from regular reseeding, soil health, input use and the processes of production and storage, including use of additives, were all amongst the experts’ recommendations.
“Grass is the cheapest feed and probably the only one you are in control of, so making the most of what is on the farm is essential,” concluded John Spence of LG Forage.
Staffing and input costs were key points of discussion at the NAAC Contractors Lounge. “But we had questions and conversations on almost everything you can imagine,” said NAAC chief executive Jill Hewitt.
The Lounge, which was sponsored by Fendt, offered a warm welcome, hot drinks and a chance to talk, network and ask questions. Non-members also took the opportunity to find out more about the Association, said Jill. “It’s provided a great networking opportunity with contractors meeting others from around the country they are not in competition with.
“A lot of work is being done by contractors and they work so hard. Now they finally have a special place that is all about them.”
Health & Well-being Zone
As well as offering signposting and information, the Health & Wellbeing Zone hosted two panel discussions aiming to debunk myths around the farming industry and discuss wellbeing in the agricultural workplace.
“This year the Farming Help charities focused on taking a positive and proactive approach, reminding attendees of the many reasons why agriculture in the UK is world-leading,” said Alex Phillimore from Farming Community Network. “The two sessions we chaired were well attended and feedback has been really encouraging. We want people to know that our charities are here to help, and that the sooner people get in touch the sooner we can support.”
Future Farming Trail
The Future Farming Trail (formerly named Farming 4.0) gave visitors a route through the show’s 10 halls of the NEC, highlighting a curated list of 13 exhibitors. Sponsored by Merlo, it highlighted new and emerging technology as well as more established favourites.
James Knight from the firm said: “We are passionate about meeting the needs of the future operator. Future farming technology moves us towards reducing carbon emissions and is the first step on our Gen Zero targets for 2025 utilising renewable energy to fit the needs of the future operator.”
It was particularly exciting to see the popularity of the new features, and we are keen to build on that success. LAMMA 2024 is booked for 17th and 18th January, and we look forward to seeing everyone again then.”