Twenty-two years of existence is still relatively young for an international trade fair and the Space exhibition in France continues to develop. The first Salon de la Production Animale — carrefour européene (abbreviated to SPACE) took place in 1987. Then as now, it made its home only about five minutes by car from the airport of the city of Rennes in north-west France.

This location puts Space at the heart of the Grande Ouest region of northern France and at the geographic centre of the country’s main area for livestock and feed production.

Occupying the Parc Expo showground in the Saint-Jacques district of Rennes, the exhibition today uses 11 exhibition halls as well as a substantial outdoor area on concrete for the display of larger machines. The halls in use for Space cover some five hectares. The open zone around them adds at least another four hectares.

On the 2009 show dates of Tuesday 15th until Friday 18th September the overall site is due to hold the exhibits of over 1300 companies, including more than 1000 direct exhibitors. In 2008, there were 358 companies from outside France among the 1264 exhibitors present at the event.

Accent on pig and poultry

Agricultural machinery with the accent on pig and poultry production fills the halls, alongside extensive arrays of feed and animal health products. Two of the largest halls are always for exhibits aimed towards the pig sector. The cattle breeders retain their own special place meanwhile by using the event for an annual judging contest of show animals.

An established feature of the shows every year is its new-products section called Innov’Space. The show in 2008 present innovation awards to the exhibitors of 47 new products and services for livestock production.

The total of over 113,580 visitors last year included 9066 people classed as international, originating from 100 countries. Anyone visiting from abroad has free entrance into the show on each of its days. Those from outside France will be able to use an international club facility on the showground.

Additionally, international visitors have access to special reductions on travel fares and a free shuttle-bus service between the city’s rail station, its airport and the showground.

Tours in Brittany

There is a programme of conferences each day and Space also offers it visitors from outside France the choice of various farm tours each day of the show. Lasting between 3-4 hours, the tours go to farms and agricultural enterprises in the Brittany area, with visits as varied as an animal feed mill, a poultry unit, a pig enterprise, a rabbit grower and a centre for controlling milk quality.

International visitors attend not only from the rest of Europe, but also from Africa, Asia and the Americas. Most of those who travel to Space by air arrive in France at the international airport in Paris. They have the option of taking the high-speed TGV train for a journey of two hours from the French capital.

But flying to Rennes needs only half the time, with that added advantage of arriving close to the showground. By car, the 360-kilometre route between Paris and Rennes means a journey time of about three hours.