At an event to open the trade show, Dr Reinhard Grandke [pictured], CEO of the German Agricultural Society (DLG) said that EuroTier 2014, the world's leading trade fair for animal production, is the forum for the future of 21st century animal husbandry.
A total of 2,360 exhibitors from 49 countries will be showcasing a comprehensive range of products covering every aspect of agriculture and productive livestock farming. Solutions will be presented which will not only permanently enhance and secure commercial success but which will also help to achieve the necessary balance between animal welfare considerations, environmentally acceptable practices and working conditions.
EuroTier will also bring together international experts from the worlds of industry, agriculture, science and consultancy whose unique store of knowledge can offer explanation, direction and solutions for overcoming both present and future challenges in agriculture and productive livestock farming. EuroTier acts as the most important driving force for individual farmers and for the entire sector.
Excellent attendance from outside Germany
Almost half of the exhibitors are from outside Germany (1,147 / 49 per cent), most of them from the Netherlands (186), France (136), China (116), Italy (94), Denmark (77), Spain (64), the United Kingdom (58), Austria (54), Belgium (49) and Turkey (48). The DLG regards this strong international attendance as a clear sign of the increasingly global orientation both of agri-businesses and of the agricultural sector with its links throughout the world. Exhibitors are specifically aiming to use EuroTier as a platform for showing off their innovations and opening up new market opportunities.
Exploiting company potential through efficient investment
Faced with more stringent legal, economic and social conditions, farmers must, more than ever before, carry out intelligent and long-term investment planning, said Dr Grandke. It is precisely when the social and market environment is difficult that a company's potential needs to be exploited by investing efficiently and acting intelligently. Robust information, not solely concerned with economic and technical aspects, is vital here.
The debate around modern animal husbandry practices has, for a long time, thrown up fundamental questions about its acceptability to local society. Agri-businesses need to face these challenges with professionalism and also to take account of economic and technical production aspects.
Optimising on-farm procedures
Dr Grandke said that a change in the character of the direct competition between agricultural concerns seems to be taking place. Whereas in the past, competition was measured by land area or animal housing capacity, the future will be more about legal directives which will result in technological competition. The increasing number of requirements, such as those imposed by the German Federal Emissions Control Act (BImSchG), clearly illustrate the trend. For livestock farmers this means that, in addition to the need to expand, optimising on-farm procedures is increasingly becoming a priority.
Directly linked to this is the demand from society and politicians for improved animal welfare. However, a comprehensive scientific and professional foundation will remain the decisive factor for productive livestock farming.
The debate about animal welfare must be conducted at a European level
The debate about the right way to improve animal welfare must also be conducted with an international perspective, according to Dr Grandke. At present, this topic is not relevant to gaining a competitive export advantage. Whether new markets will develop as a consequence of new animal husbandry systems remains an open question. Rather, the fear is that animal welfare criteria will be interpreted differently which could lead to a loss of competitiveness in one country and to its livestock farming sector moving to other countries with less stringent regulations.
Animal health and animal welfare matters in the spotlight at EuroTier 2014
Livestock farmers' need for information remains as high as ever. Farm and herd managers need the very latest professional thinking to future-proof their operations. This applies to all matters related to livestock breeding, feeding and keeping, to management methods, logistics and in particular to questions of animal health and animal welfare. This is what the exhibitors are aiming to provide.
In addition to this, EuroTier will host numerous roundtable discussions and talks by experts to explore the latest knowledge and most up-to-date solutions, one example being the daily 'DLG-Talk Tier' at which farmers and representatives from the worlds of politics and commerce and other interested groups will discuss topics of current interest.
Since the annual congress of the German Association of Veterinary Practitioners (bpt) coincides with EuroTier at the Hanover Fairgrounds, veterinary surgeons and farmers from all over the world will be able to share their knowledge and experiences of animal health matters. The unique breadth of information available at EuroTier 2014 will provide answers to all questions concerning 21st century livestock farming. EuroTier will act as an innovation exchange for state-of-the-art farming methods and as a spur and driving force for important animal husbandry concepts of the future.
Investment activity remains positive throughout Europe
The autumn 2014 results from the DLG Trend Monitor Europe show that investment activity remains positive throughout Europe despite the current difficult market environment, explained Dr Grandke.
Current interest rate levels are facilitating attractive financing terms for investment and boosting a willingness to invest. Rising tenancy costs and production standards, combined with ever more difficult access to skilled workers, are resulting in a structural increase in production costs, which farmers are aiming to mitigate by optimising production. The efficient use of land and labour, as well as firm cost management, are crucial for farm development and for securing liquidity in this current period of weak prices. Farmers are also focusing on improving animal welfare and on analysing production data more effectively. Farm managers are therefore particularly interested in innovations within these areas, with the aim of permanently improving their husbandry methods and management systems.
Willingness to invest holding up in Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom but declining in France
Farmers in Germany are less confident about business performance in the upcoming twelve months. Expectations for the upcoming twelve months appear less confident, with the current autumn survey carried out by the DLG Trend Monitor Europe showing an increase to 2.8 points compared with 2.5 points in spring 2014. Farmers surveyed in the United Kingdom and Poland continue to report stable business performance expectations at 2.9 points (unchanged since autumn 2013).
However the situation is different in France, with farm managers expressing pessimism with regard to business prospects for the next 12 months.
With the exception of France, farmers' willingness to invest remains at a high level. In Germany, 51 per cent of respondents intend to invest in the next twelve months (down one percentage point on autumn 2013). Willingness to invest also remains high in Poland at 51 per cent (50 per cent in autumn 2013). In the United Kingdom, willingness to invest has increased markedly with a rise of 24 percentage points since the autumn 2013 survey, and now stands at 55 per cent. However the mood in France contrasts sharply with this, with willingness to invest slumping to 14 per cent, just half the autumn 2013 figure.
The DLG Trend Monitor is based on a survey of 2,350 farmers in four European countries, conducted twice each year by the Kleffmann Group market research company on behalf of the DLG.
At EnergyDecentral 2014, the international trade fair for innovative energy supply, being held concurrently with EuroTier, some 350 energy sector exhibitors will be demonstrating innovative technologies, including everything from power generation, networks, control systems, storage and distribution to energy consumption.
Dr Grandke explained that decentralised solutions for agri-businesses and the supply sector and for different areas of industry such as food manufacturing will be on show.
EnergyDecentral brings together the various segments of the industry, its customers and suppliers by providing a global meeting point for decentralised energy supply, he said. Its outstanding range of products represents a unique marketplace for information on all aspects of the decentralised energy sector.
Large crowds expected to attend the 'Young Farmers Day'
The DLG is expecting an attendance of around 5,000 at the Young Farmers Day on 13 November 2014, said Dr Grandke. The day will start with information events about professional training courses and with various job forums run by industry representatives. The highlight will be an international panel discussion where young European livestock farmers will describe their experience of business start-ups abroad. The day will finish with the Young Farmers Party.
Strong visitor numbers anticipated
The general economic conditions affecting livestock production and EuroTier's position as the world's leading trade fair are creating major interest from visitors both from within Germany and from abroad.
Dr Grandke added that DLG is expecting that visitor numbers this year will be similar to 2010 when EuroTier played host to some 145,000 agriculture professionals.