Growing interest in agricultural sustainability is reflected in the range of exhibitors booked for this year’s Midlands Machinery Show, held on November 8-9 at the Newark Showground. For the fourth successive year, the event will also be hosting the NFU’s East Midlands Environment Conference on the first day.
Emily Wood, NFU Midlands land use and environment adviser, says the NFU is delighted to once again be holding its event at the show, and will be shining a spotlight on competing land uses.
“With such significant change in the industry and a focus on the environment playing a key part alongside food production, we have an excellent line up of NFU and external speakers, who will navigate the audience through these changing times and how to balance land use pressures,” she says.
“Our expert panel includes NFU senior countryside adviser Claire Robinson on the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Louise Stratton on the Poole Harbour Nutrient Trading Scheme, John Deere on the use of technology to aid efficiency and sustainability, and finally the Woodland Trust and Forestry Commission discussing trees in the landscape.
“We can’t wait to welcome people to the showground’s Cedric Ford Pavilion for what we’re sure will be a fascinating conference, complete with a delicious hot lunch for ticketholders.”
With the conference taking place at the start of the two-day show, attendees will have plenty of time to browse exhibits that continue the ‘green’ theme. This year, this includes electric vehicles, minimum tillage and precision application technology, nutrient and water management, energy generation, waste reduction, and monetising carbon and biodiversity net gain.
For example, camera-guided mechanical weeders – a technology attracting increased interest – will be on display on the Keith Rennie Machinery stand this year. Managing director Mike Britton says that while it’s common to hoe vegetable crops and sugar beet, he’s seeing growing interest for maize – and even cereals - now row spacings are increasing to 16, 20 or even 25cm.
“Uptake over the past two to three years has been helped by government grant funding,” he says. “Plus, farmers are looking at regimes where they can integrate sprays with mechanical methods to reduce inputs and impact, and provide other benefits like aerating the soil and breaking up any capping.”
Nitrasol liquid fertilisers, exhibiting for the first time this year, will be reporting trials that show use of its products can reduce nitrogen leaching by a quarter, halve ammonia volatilisation, and safeguard soil organisms.
The market for liquid products in general continues to grow in the UK, due to their suitability for precision application, zero use of plastic, and opportunities to apply in wider weather windows, says sales director Rob Buck. “All of these are not just good practice – they save money at farm level and help to future-proof farmers against new regulation.”
Also making its debut at the show is CSX Carbon, which will be demonstrating how farmers can access natural capital markets while receiving a fair financial return for environmental land management practices.
Chief executive Andy Howard says: “With CSX verifying, validating and measuring carbon and biodiversity net gain accurately and transparently, audit trails can be used to verify climate actions on farm. They can also open up new trading opportunities for farmers – such as the new biodiversity net gain rules for developers coming into effect shortly.”
Renewable energy is another way farm businesses can cut energy use and costs. Darren Wells from Lincs Solar Solutions reports a dramatic increase in enquiries for solar PV over the past 12 months due to energy price rises. “However, this also means customers are experiencing a shorter return on investment as a result,” he says.
“We’ll be on hand at the show to discuss how panels on agricultural and domestic roofs can significantly reduce energy bills – and also outline the finances and logistics around large ground-mounted installations.”
The Midlands Machinery Show runs throughout November 8-9 at the Newark Showground on Lincoln Road, Newark, with the NFU conference held on the morning of November 8, starting at 10am.
Registration for NFU members is via: NFUMidlands environment conference – NFUonline
For non-members, please email: email@example.com or ring 01572 824250 to register your place.