I’m eternally grateful that Agritechnica for me is ‘just’ a visit – fair play to all those exhibitor staff manning stands for the full duration – arriving in the dark, leaving in the dark and breathing in recirculated air all day. Hats off too to the setup and breakdown teams, many of whom remain on-site for early morning tidy ups, polishing and removal of grubby finger marks from the shiny toys on display.
That said, 2 full days at the Greatest Show on Earth had their usual effect of around 40,000 steps worth of shoe leather erosion, meaning some positive health and fitness benefits at least.
Anyway, the bigger picture: an outstandingly impressive event, this year perhaps more so than in recent previous years with an above-average number of big-ticket launches. This was very evident in harvesting equipment, whether cereal, forage or root crop, with a mix of brand-new designs and some impressive facelifts. Materials handling too saw plenty to talk about, and this is a product group where electric power is not far from appearing in price lists.
Okay, let’s name some names: New Holland’s award-winning methane-powered T6 model should start to make an appearance on dealer forecourts next year, and the joint Massey Ferguson / Trelleborg ‘Next’ project has some interesting initiatives which will no doubt permeate down to market level pretty soon too. Steyr is very likely being positioned as a premium product in the CNH Industrial portfolio, while the light green and dark green big beasts in Hall 13 had wow factor, innovation and sexy new concepts by the bucketload.
Quite telling with all the key longliners is the mainstreaming of what was previously only seen in the tech startups and niche precision technology suppliers. With impressive looking autonomous tractor concepts from John Deere and Case IH for example, plus all sorts of non-chemical weed control systems, soil sampling and data collection and presentation systems up in the cloud, we should be under no illusion that our future field operations will have a much different look about them. No surprise that some of the most interesting stuff lacks the physical presence of a big half-million-pound hunk of machinery – it’s the data systems (365FarmNet for example) which impress with some far-sighted intelligent solutions. Beyond this, autonomy projects notably from Naïo and Agrointelli look to be close to commercial availability and we are seeing some clever technology in the immediate pipeline from the likes of Trimble too.
UK manufacturers keen to further develop export business also merit a mention – Teagle, Garford and Martin Lishman stand out through the innovation in their own niche sectors, and the Department for International Trade were on hand to facilitate contact in new markets.
So, something of a busman’s holiday for JP Trett in one respect? No doubt it’s an environment we know well and have plenty of contacts in already, but we certainly came away having expanded our network further, gaining ‘behind the velvet rope’ access to some very senior business leaders keen to know more about our services, plenty of collaborative meetings resulting in mutual spin-offs with our International Agricultural Recruitment partners at IARA as well as an afterparty invitation which was gratefully accepted resulting in further high level networking and socialising. We returned further educated, and with an expanded network of friends in high places.
Fast-forward a year and we will be playing ‘international trade fair eeny meeny miny moe’ – November 2020 crams in SIMA from the 8th to the 12th, EIMA from the 11th to the 15th, and then a small breather before EuroTier between the 17th and 20th. Roadtrip anyone?