EuroTier was a really great show this year with more than 2,400 exhibitors and more that 160,000 visitors, a 25 percent growth over the previous event. For sure, when walking through the halls of the Hanover exhibition center between the 13th and 16th of November, you met people from everywhere. It was a real B-to-B show and very international. In fact, it was so international that some German people entering a booth actually asked if there was anyone there speaking German.

I had a few observations specifically about feed. First of all, the feed gallery gave farmers the opportunity to see, touch and smell raw materials, either common (corn or peas, oil or molasses) or new (chlorelle and spiruline). It gave farmers a chance to see what kinds of energy supplies are available from feed. It showed farmers what thermal treatment is and it also demonstrated laboratory detection of salmonella and fungi. It was very pedagogic and well attended by visitors. This is important to keep in mind, as it is not always easy to explain feed production. Something that is easy to explain is easy to conceive, and a clear mind about a subject makes the subject easier to deal with and accept. With meat consumption coming under fire more and more, that might come as a relief.

Another observation came to me while strolling the corridors: the European Union still seems to be a hub for innovation in farming and feeding. A lot of visitors entered booths with cameras or video recorders. Some exhibitors explained that they don’t display much information about their innovations to avoid being copied.

On the production level, the DLG trend monitor survey, which gives results twice a year, gave data about the optimism of European farmers. Half of German, Polish and even English farmers still plan to invest in the next 12 months. French farmers seem more optimistic than their counterparts, even if they’d been slower to recover after the crisis and only a third of them think about investment. Of course in front of the raw material price, investments are more and more about focused on reducing cost. But feed can take advantage of the economic situation as new solutions to reduce antibiotic use and health costs go through formulation and additives. Of course avoiding a jungle market demands strong regulation. Then again, the European Union is very keen about regulation…perhaps they will be a source of inspiration for the world in this area as well?