The LAMMA show, which takes place next week, has established itself over the past three decades as the UK's largest event for farm machinery, equipment and services.
The show's commercial director Cliff Preston says: "LAMMA is still growing - very much so, in fact. We have gone from 640 exhibitors last year to 760 this year." He attributes this to a combination of overseas suppliers looking to boost exports and continuing innovation from smaller firms closer to home.
"Small companies find the value unbeatable - they can exhibit on a national scale for a third of the cost of the main exhibitions," adds Preston. "And many of the multinationals, who first showed their new products at Agrotechnica in Germany, will now launch them in the UK at LAMMA. It has a growing reputation throughout Europe and we have a number of continental firms coming over to test the British market for the first time."
The key to the event's continued success is its commitment to promote "the smaller man", he says. "Several smaller manufacturers have started here and gone on to succeed. We need to show the industry's depth of innovation. The competitions have given exhibitors national exposure, which has helped them develop as businesses."
Ten awards are up for grabs at this year's show, including the Institution of Agricultural Engineers' Ivel Award for new product or innovation with most positive impact on the environment. True to the show's local roots ("LAMMA" stands for Lincolnshire Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Association), there is also a trophy for best new product from a firm based in Lincolnshire or Nottinghamshire.
"We are not just another county show, we are a specialist show for farm managers and workers. There won't be any pink wellies or teddy bears," Preston stresses. And despite a continuing tough climate for investment in the industry, he adds: "There's a cautious optimism around and no one is absolutely down in the dumps."
Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground offers the opportunity for exhibitors to demonstrate their kit. This will include the AW Series, a new way to control annual weeds from WeedingTech. Developed in response to increasing restrictions on herbicide use, it "makes thermal weeding a realistic and effective solution", the company says, claiming cost savings of around 33 per cent over traditional weeding methods, alongside reduced CO2 emissions.
It does this by using Foamstream, a biodegradable foam made from natural plant oils and sugars that acts as a thermal blanket, keeping the heat on the weed long enough to kill it. This is applied through nozzles mounted on a tractor travelling typically at 3kmph - fast enough to treat 6,000sq m per hour.
Company representative Richard Pearson, who will demonstrate the system at the show, says: "Trials of Foamstream we've undertaken with the National Institute of Agricultural Botany have delivered amazing results. They have also identified that the precision nature of weeding with the AW Series can increase farmers' yields and deliver better land utilisation."
New launches for the fresh produce sector are not just for the field. Tong Peal Engineering will be presenting its EasyClean separator. According to sales manager Nick Woodcock: "It is the only separator on the market to feature inverter-driven electric motors on every shaft, ensuring ultimate control and guaranteeing minimal maintenance."
In a similar vein, Herbert Engineering will launch its Variclean cleaner separator, offering gentler handling for reduced crop damage, reduced energy consumption and low maintenance. It will also present its Coilcleaner Plus, which features key components made of polyurethane instead of steel and is interchangeable with other cleaning units.
Marketing director Jo Herbert says: "Continual development of post-harvest cleaners for effective soil, clod and stone removal in all weather conditions remains a key focus for Herbert."
In common with the industry for which it caters, the days at LAMMA start early, with early-bird breakfasts available for £4.50 from 6am to 8am.
Sadly, this year's show will be without former chairman Tony Lighton, who died in May, aged 62, having built up LAMMA over the previous ten years to its current national prominence.
When: Wednesday 18 January (7.30am-5.30pm) and Thursday 19 January (7.30am-4.30pm).
Where: Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground, Winthorpe, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG24 2NY.
Admission: Free (parking free too).
Tel: 0845 331 6123.