Exploring tomorrow’s farming technology: Farmers Weekly’s event success


Lakeside Conference Centre, based here at the York Biotech Campus, was the perfect venue for the Farmers Weekly’s Arable Horizons Spray Innovations event, providing the ideal, parkland setting to demonstrate innovation and new technology in action.

The meeting, which welcomed 120 delegates to our venue just outside of York, provided a rare opportunity for farmers, sprayer operators and agronomists to discuss best practice to spray application and take part in interactive lectures exploring new developments in farming technology.

Farmer’s Weekly, a magazine aimed at the British farming industry, held the event in association with Syngenta, a Swiss-based global company that produces agrochemicals and seeds.

The Lakeside Conference Centre, based on our campus, offered a unique yet relevant setting, giving delegates the opportunity to learn more about the work carried out on site, which is home to the Centre of Crop Health and Protection (CHAP) and Fera Science.

The event had a high emphasis on interaction and putting applied science into action through practical demonstrations. The organisers were able to take advantage of the 80-acre parkland setting and add theatre to the event, placing a tractor with a 36m wide sprayer outside the front of the entrance, demonstrating the new technology that would be discussed at the event.

Lectures then took place in the Sand Hutton Suite main room, where delegate interaction was encouraged through a Slido voting system. Attendees used the platform on their phones to submit questions to speakers and panellists, such as what are the challenges of new precision-based sprayer technologies.

Delegates also enjoyed a tour organised by the anchor tenant at the campus, Fera Science, giving attendees a unique opportunity to see advanced agri-technology in action. This included a crop monitor and an Amazone UX4201 sprayer, demonstrating how the technology on sprayers is continuously evolving.

The tour also included a visit to a mobile field laboratory used to make decisions about crop health problems and the E-flows mesocosm, Europe’s most advanced edge-of-field water testing facility, which recently opened at the campus.

Speaking about the success of the event, Liz Cashon, campus manager at the Lakeside Conference Centre, said: “We are so pleased with the Farmers Weekly event. One of the USP’s of our conference centre is having a vast amount of outdoor space, enabling us to showcase a tractor and 36m wide sprayer at the entrance to the site. Through careful planning and ongoing dialogue with our clients, we were able to accommodate the Farmers Weekly event at the same time as a Christmas Craft Fair, with over 20 stallholders which was open to all staff onsite (500+).

“We pride ourselves on being flexible and innovative, enabling us to create the perfect setting for unique events and to deliver on our clients’ brief. On this occasion, we were able to provide much more than a lecture theatre. The delegates were all impressed with the unique physical element that demonstrated the theory they were learning.”

Karl Schneider, editor & publishing director of Farmers Weekly, commented: “The delegates found the day extremely rewarding in terms of the guidance and insight shared, but what really made it memorable was the amount of applied science that was seen in practice. Being based at the York Biotech Campus couldn’t have provided a more suitable and ideal venue, which the attendees were very excited to find out more about. The tour organised by Fera Science was truly the icing on the cake, and a special element to the whole day.”