YOU can’t please everyone all the time. The best you can hope for is to please most people most of the time. On the Forest Machine Operators Blog, you’re lucky if you please anyone at all, ever (only because their standards are so incredibly high, of course).

The big talking point on the Blog this month was the APF. You can read our coverage elsewhere in this issue to see what we thought of it (we thought it was great), but organisers did say they were looking for feedback from visitors.

So, in the interests of gaining a broader perspective (and perhaps inadvertently puncturing the Demo team’s sense of pride in a job well done) we took a look to see what constructive criticism Blog members – always a brutally, painfully honest lot – had to offer.

Forestry Journal: Thousands of visitors attended this year's APF Thousands of visitors attended this year's APF (Image: APF)

A few examples:

“Went to APF yesterday and, in my opinion, it is well overdue a change in location. The show has gone downhill, with nowhere near as much to see as previous years and no machines actually working in a wooded area. How nice it would have been to see the little Malwa extracting out of a thinnings patch or a Sampo going through its paces, a Harvadig doing its thing or – God forbid – one of the big four working an area. Or even one of FMS’s excavators with a winch extracting off a bank. It’s a forestry show. It should be held in some forestry!”

READ MORE: APF 2022: Alstor's mini forwarders in demand with Home Forestry

“You are so right. Looking for the demo site, but nothing there!”

“I agree, not enough forestry gear. I can remember the old days where machines were demonstrating and you could have a go.”

Forestry Journal: Colin ForsterColin Forster (Image: Colin Forster)

“A lot of shows have changed, though. Not as good, not as many exhibitors, etc. The shooting show at Harrogate wasn’t half as good as previous, but companies are struggling getting stock, and to go to a show costs a lot for the stand, travel, maybe extra staff, closing your shop etc, so for a lot of companies it’s just not worth it anymore. Sign of the times, I’m afraid.”

“You may well be right, but it would help with APF if it were bit handier to where most forestry equipment is. The John Deere headquarters are on the Scottish/English border. Same with Ponsse, Rottne, Komatsu. Maybe if the show was a little more central for the whole forestry community it would help. I’m based mid-Wales and it’s two hours. For the boys from north of Edinburgh it’s a hell of a trip. I also think a forestry show should be in a forest. It’s what the show is supposed to be about.”

“Aimed almost exclusively at the ‘dopes up ropes’ community.”

Forestry Journal: Krzysztof DębskiKrzysztof Dębski (Image: Krzysztof Dębski)

“Been going for many years and I must admit I was of the same opinion.”

“Gone downhill. All about tree surgeons now!”

“Yes, of same opinion. Gone stagnant.”

“Food was a rip-off! Vast swathes of empty space where stands could have been, no working demos.”

“One tea, two coffees and three underbaked muffins, £22. Seriously! Put a bit of a dampener on things, all a bit disappointing.”

 “We visited today and yes, the ‘woodland demo area’ was not what I expected it to be. Nice to see the horse loggers, though!”

Forestry Journal: Ruairidh JohnstoneRuairidh Johnstone (Image: Ruairidh Johnstone)

“Totally agree. I was pissed off to find there weren’t any forest demos, apart from the horses and Alstors.”

“Totally agree. All of the same old stuff and very down on stands. Nothing new, no real demo of kit going on. All I noticed was tree shears, timber grabs, mowers, screw splitters and the only thing different was the colour and brand stickers.”

“This is what happens when H&S goes overboard and loads of red tape that makes it unviable to allow working machines around crowds of people. They need to change the name to Arb Expo.”

“Certainly time for a change of venue. Let’s be fair to the people travelling from the north of the UK.”

From the range of comments from members who attended, we found three main criticisms: stale location, overpriced/unimpressive food and no woodland demo area. Plus, the usual complaints about too much focus on arb (bound to be exacerbated this year by the incorporation of the ARB Show).

Conversely, there were plenty who reported making the trip was well worth their time:

“I thought it was an excellent show. Lots of kit and piles of very happy people. There are supply-chain issues for some of the forestry kit, but that’s not the show’s fault.”

“Had a good day out.”

Forestry Journal: Brice CardosoBrice Cardoso (Image: Brice Cardoso)

“I enjoyed it simply to see all the people I know and take my team out for the day. It ticked the boxes for me. For live demos, watch out for the next Expo.”

“I enjoyed the day out. Nice to catch up with a few people and always nice to see a bit of equipment that could help our businesses. APF is mostly arb, so I knew that before going. The Expo will be next for me to see kit.”

“Great show and not overly expensive tickets for a change.”