Thousands of visitors flocked to Essex again in the mists of early February for the UK’s largest agricultural, construction and groundcare dealer show, with this year marking the 125th anniversary of the start of the Doe Group in 1898.
Richard Shepherd-Barron reports.

Angus Doe, Doe’s managing director, said: “After having to adapt the show and make provision for the impact of the pandemic, we can now have the biggest and best show ever. This year we’ve returned to the ‘priced to sell’ format with a range of ex-hire and clearance tractors, implements, groundcare and construction plant available to buy at keen prices.”

The demonstration area was a huge attraction for the visitors as the latest Case IH and New Holland tractors, with a variety of machinery, were being shown in operation on the farmland immediately adjacent to the show area. 

In addition, the usual display of historic tractors, organised by Paul Wylie, was impressing everyone with these beautiful machines and their drivers’ huge skill in ploughing very straight lines. A fascinating contrast was to watch a 1922 Fordson Model F with its two-furrow plough and huge skill and concentration from its driver working alongside the Farmdroid FD20 robot running up and down demonstrating its drilling ability with no human control; the future for many farming operations? 

Sam Tunnidge is Doe’s precision farming product specialist and he said there was an increasing interest from many farmers – especially vegetable growers. The light Farmdroid machine from Denmark is the world’s first sowing and weeding automatic robot; with its solar panels to provide the electric power, it weighs only 900kg so has no problems with soil compaction.

A new feature at this year’s show was the Viticulture Showcase to support this increasing area of farming diversification. Pride of place went to the New Holland Braud grape harvester – sold already to the 120-acre New Hall Wine Estate at Purleigh, near Chelmsford. Brands handled by Doe include Dondi, Ideal and Berthoud; also, naturally, the Case IH Quantum V and F series plus the New Holland T4 F/N/V series of specialised tractors.

New tractors were emphasised with the New Holland T7.300LWB on display in one of the first public showings of this new machine with its new cab and a host of new features. Not to be outshone, the Case IH display included the new Optum AFS Connect 3-0-0 and the Puma 260CVX.

The impressive working demonstrations of Hyundai, Thwaites and Bomag equipment were featured again, and it was intriguing to learn about the new Hyundai HXA-series mini excavators (on display for the first time in the UK) and also the new, electric, three tonne Thwaites dumper.

All this new equipment, whether for farming or construction, all comes at greatly increased prices (as we are all getting so used to nowadays with virtually everything); thus the stock of lightly used machinery being offered by Ernest Doe had many attractions to those in need of replacements or additions to their operations.

As ever at the Doe Show, there was a vast range of other equipment and services for visitors to examine and buy; combines, balers, cultivating and ploughing equipment, grass cutting machines, trailers of all sizes, spraying and spreading machines, tyres and wheels, lubricants, tools, diagnostic equipment, mowers and garden machinery, along with countryside clothing. Visitors were helped by the easy availability of free hot drinks throughout the three days of chilly but bright weather.