by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
I visited SALTEX 2014 on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 and that was the only day that I went, this year. In other years I needed at least two, if not all three days, to cover the show this year, though, I was done and dusted, so to speak, by one o'clock in the afternoon, having arrived by about 9:15AM.
The showground was considerably smaller this year than in other years with only two of the three areas that used to be used in use and the stands were fewer and much smaller too.
Many of the usual exhibitors were conspicuous by their absence and although there have been times before when the likes of Massey Ferguson, John Deere, etc., skipped a year, this year many of the big names in grounds care machinery, as well as smaller kit, were missing.
While John Deere was represented by one of their dealers, as was Husqvarna, they, themselves, as much as Jonsereds, and many others, were simply missing in action. Toro is another one that will have to be mentioned here and I could go on and on with the list, no doubt.
The stands of those companies that were there were, in the main, much smaller than in previous years and some areas were extremely sparsely populated.
Visitor numbers, at least that this first day, also were considerably down, in my opinion, considering that the 9AM sailing of French Brothers' free river taxi had only about ten, if that, people on board which is very rare indeed, in my experience.
Much of this may be due to the fact that local authority budgets are squeezed in such a way that they just cannot consider, in any way, shape or form, to acquire new kit and also cannot, for the very same reasons, grant leave of absence and travel for members of their staff.
While the weather was absolutely positive inclined towards this – for the time being – last SALTEX at Windsor Racecourse this was for me the most disappointing SALTEX show ever and I have been there in pouring rain when one almost needed a boat to traverse the ground and also when the show had to be rearranged in a different layout because the area by the river could not be used due to the fact everything had been churned up by the 2012 Olympic events.
It is rather a shame to see the show go out at such a sad note in its last year at Windsor Racecourse but one cannot paint something in colors that are not there.