Sarie's Blog: LAMMA 2024

Sitting in the office in the early part of this week, out of the blustery winds and avoiding our ISO documentation review, gives me a good opportunity to reflect on last week at LAMMA 2024. In fact, the blustery winds battering the walls now hail back to that dreaded year on the Peterborough showground, where exhibitors had to claw back their tents from the opposite end of the showground after another stormy night. Thank god these days for the warmth and solid walls of the NEC!

The event was very well attended, with record numbers on the opening day. To the event organiser’s credit, it was well put together this year, with a few flagship brands such as JCB, Case and New Holland refilling the halls. Set up came with minimal fuss – or so I am told – I tend to leave that job to the boys, as it’s one of the rare occasions in the year that I can get a hoover and a polishing cloth in their hands!  

My only gripe is perhaps the lack of promotion towards visitors from beyond the British Isles. Yes, a couple of farmers floated through from Europe and even America, but not nearly enough. One called Mr Dessert in fact – I wonder what type? Anyhow, let’s not digress with thoughts of sumptuous sticky toffee… Beyond Brexit and on the doorstep of Birmingham airport, is this not the ripe opportunity to promote the best of British manufacturing to our friends back in Europe? Our hosts should be defiantly waving the Union Jack flag, with Lord Bamford, Michael Bailey and Edward Weaving linking arms singing Rule Britannia at the Arrivals Hall – ok, well maybe not quite that far… But I am sure, my peers across the industry would strongly agree – promotion of British brands on a global scale is a must.  

We were pleased with the Weaving stand again this year, it was well presented and offered something for everyone. The gleaming paint across all our machines on the stand this year was a real testament to the team’s effort behind the scenes. In the last few years we have invested in new paint booths and spray equipment as well as a huge shotblasting machine in order to get the optimal quality finish. Hundreds of hours have been spent researching the best paints and meeting with suppliers, followed by rigorous testing, with the firm aim that our machines should continue to look red and shiny in 10 years or so when their satisfied owner trades them in for a younger model. I would have happily eaten my dinner off that GD tank as it stood in Hall 20 last week although I might have got a strong taste of Simon’s generous coating of polish which gave it that extra sparkle!

Interest came across the whole spread of machinery as farmers discussed the new SFI initiatives and debated the suitability of machines for the most effective crop establishment. This yielded interest in our range of tillage equipment, such as our Shortdisc and our newly launched trailed Energiser, which can all be neatly fitted with an applicator unit to provide slick and cost effective drilling, especially for winter cover crop mixes and herbal leys, which are widely desired across the new scheme.

Also garnering a lot of interest in a prominent position at the front of the stand, was the Fenix Drill. It has been a few years since we brought this to the UK market and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. We have had farmers across the UK, from Cumbria to the corners of Wales and Cornwall producing outstanding leguminous crops and grass leys with this wonderfully simple but effective drill. Our current model has 32 rows, but this year we will also be offering a 24 row alternative, which will be more suited to the arable boys with a wider row spacing.

The Lynx Drill had its debut show on British soil, following its initial launch at Agritechnica, and gathered keen interest as an affordable minimum tillage drill. Fingers crossed that the weather gods will decide that perhaps we had more than enough moisture in Spring 2023 and will allow us some more favourable conditions, so the boys can get out and demo this new beast soon! 

Day one saw a visit to the Weaving stand from the lauded Kaleb Cooper, you must admire the chap for the impressive popularity and success he has achieved. On his arrival, it was as if the once sturdy floors of the NEC began to shake with a wildebeest like stampede of excited young fans, with Schöffels, sunglass-laden mullets and Canterbury shorts a plenty! A photo call ensued, and Kaleb was very obliging, the poor lad only stopped for a bit of cake!

A social event such as LAMMA is always an opportunity to observe, perhaps not only the millions of horse power, especially spray painted in gold, that the tractor boys have on display, but also the fashion choices of our farming community. Without trying to sound like an old hag, I do thank my lucky stars that these mullets weren’t the agric weapon of choice when I was a student back in my Cirencester days! Free entry to LAMMA has always been a contentious conversation between hosts and exhibitors, so perhaps I can offer a new idea to raise capital – a mullet shave for free entry, otherwise £10 on the door?! 

The Weaving Stand, LAMMA 2024

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