October 8, 2015


SPACE 2015

Strong show despite political setbacks

by Daphne TAN


The annual French livestock event held in Rennes, Space 2015 ended its latest show with a significant bump in international visitors, as breeders and livestock professionals from across Europe and the world gathered at the Rennes Exhibition Centre (Parc des Expositions), the homeground for SPACE.

Despite a protest by disgruntled French farmers from the region blocking parts of the highway leading to the Expo grounds on the opening day 15 September, the 29th edition of Space received 13% more international visitors coming from 125 countries (118 in 2014). Nearly 200 new companies exhibited at this 2015 event which saw an exhibition space to 69,500 sq metres, 576 sq metres more than in 2014. Foreign exhibitors made up 34% of all exhibitors, or an almost 10% increase on year (494 foreign companies versus 458 in 2014). Catering to this international crowd, the international club was abuzz with foreign visitors and meetings throughout the four days.

The annual trade event, held from 15 to 18 September 2015, is a highlight for the livestock producers and breeders in the western part of France - specifically the important animal farming regions of Brittany and Normandy. As is the tradition with each edition, Space 2015 unveiled the winners of its Innov'Space, an annual awards program that recognises innovative new applications for commercial livestock farming, judged by an independent jury of livestock specialists and scientists. Out of a total of 155 entries, 48 awards were given out this year, the 20th year of Innov'Space, with a quarter of these awarded to foreign entries and five entries accorded the three stars honour.

Another traditional highlight of the show was the multi-breed festivals and competitions featuring French premium cattle genetic lines such as Normande and Limousine. The only auction in France of these various breeds and other high performers such as Prim Holstein, Pie Rogues, Montbeliard and Charolais, the on-site presentation and sale of heifers and sought-after female genotypes at Space was well received with several animals sold and bound for export. A second auction focussing on pigs, or rather life-sized pig sculptures from the Pig Parade, showcased unique works by 15 teams of individual artists and Brittan (Breton) farmers in a marriage of art and agriculture.

Information technology (IT) and the use of big data are leading a digital revolution across the business world, and their influence through new technological applications continues to hold sway in agriculture. While the benefits to farmers, through the use of IT to guide decisions as well as efficiently connect with global markets, are without doubt, questions are raised as to the extent to which this hyper-connectivity aids or detracts farmers from the day-to-day practicalities of hands-on farm management. These issues were addressed at the Research and Development Village at Space, centred on the theme of connectedness and smart technology tools bringing information to one's fingertips. Various digital workshops held daily covered the topics of animal monitoring, precision feeding for dairy cattle, poultry and pigs, precision farming on the field and overall farm security and management.

The next Space will be held in Rennes from 13 to 16 September, 2016.
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