Keele Professor Toby Bruce quoted in the Guardian on Farms of the Future

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Posted on 17 November 2017

Toby Bruce, Keele professor of insect chemical ecology, has been quoted in the Guardian article 'Miniature robots could cut pesticide use on farms in future'.

The Guardian piece explored the idea that robots could reduce food waste and help to harvest crops...

“Farmers have been heavily reliant for decades on the heavy use of pesticides. Some spraying is very desperate,” said Toby Bruce, professor of insect chemical ecology at Keele University. “Farmers are spraying [chemicals] to which there is resistance. They will not be killing pests as the pests have evolved resistance. They will be killing other insects [such as pollinators].”  If instead such products were used in tiny quantities and directed by robots so that 100% of the pesticide was going straight to the plant needed, then it might be possible to resume the use of banned or restricted pesticides, said Prof Simon Blackmore, head of robotic agriculture at Harper Adams University. Such targeted use would prevent pests from taking a hold on crops, but would be so small it would cause minimal harm to bees, and be less likely to give rise to resistance.

Read the full article here.