Plenty of farmers, but why so few pest control companies at Cereals 2013 event?

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With more and more arable farmers turning to professional pest control companies for their rodent control and grain protection treatments, why were there so few pest management companies exhibiting at Europe’s leading arable event, Cereals 2013, this week?

A visit to Cereals 2013 yesterday (Wednesday 12 June), the first day of this two day event, saw good weather, if a little blowy, and what looked like a good turn-out of farmer visitors. Last year there were over 25,000 people attending the event and this year the feeling was that there would be a similar number.

So, if you think PestEx is big then think again. Cereals is on a completely different scale. It sprawls across a huge 64 ha site, near Leadenham, in Lincolnshire.And, if you’re having trouble visualising 64 ha, then it might help to know that the average football pitch measures around 1 ha, so that’s 64 football pitches of displays and working demonstrations to walk round. This year it attracted nearly 29,000 visitors and over 500 exhibitors.

However, among the 500 plus exhibitors there was just one professional pest control servicing company, Suffolk-based Command Pest Control.

This is very much par for the course, although, last year, Rentokil did make a guest appearance but they clearly decided against a repeat in 2013.

Perhaps it”s because selling pest management services to farmers is not a quick fix, as Mark Ward managing director at Command explained: “We’ve been coming to Cereals for many years and it can often be three or four years before a contact made at Cereals gets in touch. In some cases it”s a lot longer than that!”

Clearly attending Cereals is a long term investment and, whilst the space costs are not published, it is likely to be quite a hefty investment in terms of stand space, let alone display and manning costs. Maybe that goes some way towards explaining the dearth of pest management businesses exhibiting.

According to this year”s BASF/Pest National UK Pest Management Survey, farm work accounted for 16% of self-employed pest controllers workload so it seems much farm work is being done by small ‘one-man’ businesses for whom a stand at Cereals would not be cost effective.

However, that survey also showed that farm work by private pest control companies is increasing; up from 5% of workload in 2010 to 11% in 2012. If this trend continues, we may well see more companies in future years.

Also exhibiting were Bayer, Barrettine and Lodi.

The large Bayer CropScience display was primarily devoted to crop protection products but Ken Black and Claire Hazel were on hand to discuss pest control. The focus this year was on a newGrain Protectant Guide which gives useful details of insect pests associated with grain storage, provides an overview of Integrated Pest Management, application techniques for Bayer’s K-Obiol range of products and gives guidance on COSHH Assessments. The guide also includes a section on rodent control.


Command team
Command Pest Control was the only service company present 

Ken Black Bayer
Ken Black from Bayer shows
off the new booklet 

Lodi team 
Skittles at the ready on the Lodi stand

The Lodi-UK team were present primarily to support their grain protectant business. As well as product information, the Lodi stand featured a skittles challenge, in aid of the Addington Fund.

The Barrettine Environmental Health stand attracted plenty of interest with a ”shoot that rat” competition. All those hitting the target went into a prize draw for a food hamper. Barrettine were there to support Bayer in promoting the grain protectant product, K-Obiol and the Rodilon rodenticides as well as other products in their range sold via selected distributors in the agricultural market.

Shoot that rat 
Get your eye in to ”shoot a rat” 
and win a hamper!
  Barrettine team
Team Barrettine: David Shelton, Sue Hall, Steve Bailey and David Haskins



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