A number of breed societies, trade stand and livestock exhibitors expressed their disappointment to Farmers Guardian over the atmosphere and reduction in visitor numbers at last week’s Livestock Event at the NEC, Birmingham.
Richard Johnson, chairman of the UK Brown Swiss Cattle Society, which holds its national show at the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) Livestock Event, said the society council was so concerned it had been left considering where to hold the show in future.
Mr Johnson welcomed the decision to move the event – to be renamed National Dairy Event – to September, but criticised plans not to include livestock competitions, which he said was a ‘prime feature’.
He added: “The proposed timing of the 2017 event will make it very close to the planned UK Dairy Day held at the International Centre, Telford.
“This makes no sense whatsoever, as inevitably there will be competition for the limited trade support, both in terms of presence and sponsorship, without which, neither event will survive financially.”
Matthew Knight, events director at the Livestock Event, said he understood the position exhibitors and breed societies were in.
He said: “In our discussions with Holstein UK, we have recognised the sense of combining events. It is how we do it which remains the question.
“This is why we lost no time in writing to Holstein UK at the conclusion of the event, mentioning feedback we had received and suggesting we restart talks about how we can bring our two events together.
“We hope through these we will be able to negotiate a way forward to structure and run a single event and manage any existing commitments.”
Holstein UK chief executive Richard Jones said the organisation was ‘absolutely focused on finding a workable solution to the current situation of having two competing shows planned for September 2017’.
Mr Jones said: “We held discussions with RABDF before this year’s Livestock Event and hope to continue these discussions over the next few weeks.
“Our aim is, and has always been, to deliver a national dairy event in September which reflects the needs of our industry and we would welcome the support of RABDF in achieving this aim.”