Neither rain nor animal activists could dull the enthusiasm for those attending EuroTier, held in mid-November in Hannover, Germany.

While final figures for the agricultural trade show are yet to be released, the event is thought to have attracted some 1,800 exhibitors and around 106,000 visitors.

Extending a helping hand

Agricultural producers can, whether in poultry or any other, can certainly do with a helping hand at the moment.

With rising costs for energy and feed in the short term, ever more stringent rules and regulations on reducing emissions and extreme weather conditions and the ever-less-distant horizon, producers have plenty to be concerned about and this year’s EuroTier appeared to offer to the answers needed.

While the first few hours of the opening morning may have been a little quiet, as the afternoon progressed, and as one day progressed into the next, the atmosphere inside the halls became more positive, unlike the gradually deteriorating weather outside.

What was on offer?

Yes, there were the good old-fashioned, essential products, but ever more technical solutions abounded particularly offering ways to improve sustainability, however you may interpret the word, and control costs and improve animal welfare.

Despite economic difficulties in a number of European and other markets, there is certainly an interest in investing.

A survey carried out the German Agricultural Society, the DLG,  and digital association Bitkom, conducted earlier this year across 500 agricultural operations, found that two-thirds of farmers in Germany regard digitalization, for example, as a major opportunity for more sustainable agriculture.

It found that farmers increasingly recognize the opportunities offered by digital solutions, however, 83% responded that cost was still the biggest barrier to investment and was responsible for slowing the adoption of these new technologies. Nevertheless, a surprising number have invested and are reaping the benefits on farm.

Incremental change

Not all solutions, however, have to be expensive. Small, incremental gains, also make a difference.

Patrick Charlton, vice president – Europe, Alltech, speaking at the Feed Strategy seminar Feed ingredients, additives to reduce the environmental impact of poultry production, noted that changes to feed, genetics, and slaughter, for example, that result in small, continual changes, are worth pursuing. He continued that, greater demands from consumers and legislators to operate more sustainably, rather than being seen as a threat to the industry, should be viewed as an opportunity.

Alongside this opportunity, he argued, that it was important for industry to properly communicate what it was doing to produce more sustainability, particularly where helping consumers to make informed choices is concerned.

Speaking at the same event, Dr. Henk Enting, senior technology lead – poultry, Cargill Animal Nutrition, noted that using the right ingredients in poultry feed and applying the right additives, can address a number of current concerns, be it cost of production, sustainability, or welfare, and, he argued, while the future directions were not completely clear due to the numerous factors involved, there are multiple opportunities to raise performance while reducing emissions.

There was plenty to see and hear this year’s show, with the most interesting things being those that did not require a police presence.