COVID-19 has begun to eat into Scottish farming's 2021 calendar, with confirmation this morning that the dairy sector's annual January get-together, the Semex conference in Glasgow, has been cancelled.

For 30 consecutive years, cattle genetics firm Semex has organised and hosted an informative dairy conference in this early January time slot, with top political and technical speakers often setting the tone for the sector for the coming year.

But not in 2021. As with many events Covid 19 has got the better of it, with the recent escalation of the pandemic dashing hopes that life might be back to normal enough by January for the event to go ahead – and organisers have stated that, because the conference has an 'unrivalled mix of business and pleasure', with a famed Burns Supper and in-person socialising a key part of its appeal, it will not be replaced with a virtual version.

“We’ve been working on the conference all year in the hope that we’d be able to host it and provide even more of an interesting and entertaining line-up that would act as a morale booster for the industry,” said Semex UK’s national sales manager Michael Dennison. “We had also chosen the title ‘Boldy Go’ in a spirit of optimism and determination post Covid, but we always knew the odds of hosting it were even, at best.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, and we also don’t think we can replicate the atmosphere of the conference in a virtual environment so we’ve taken the decision to postpone until 2022. So it’s a case of same conference… same time… same place… same theme… but just a year later.

“On behalf of everyone at Semex may I wish everyone and their families well through these difficult times, and I look forward to welcoming people to the Conference in 2022.”