Pesticide Application

The Pesticide Application group was established in 1980 and is concerned with the many aspects of biological, chemical and physical interactions of application technology. The group’s activities over the years have centered around regular one-day workshops that focus on a different aspect of pesticide application in turn. Such topics as spray drift, the use of air assistance in arable crops and reduced volume application rates have featured in the past.


As industry has adopted electronic control, the group mirrored this with events concerning the advances that global information systems can offer the applied biologist. The production of food or fuel crops and the factors influencing production are equally global.
Since 2000 the group has catered for the many facets of pesticide application around the world by organising the bi annual “International Advances in Pesticide Application” conference where subjects as diverse as mosquito  and  vector control, robotic weed seekers, deposition of chemicals in crop canopies and contamination of operators are presented and debated.


As we move into an era where sustainability is demanded, where productivity of food and industrial crops compete for land and bio-pesticides increase in their significance; the group offers scientists working in the field of application technology the opportunity to meet discuss and transfer knowledge in an informal atmosphere. The group always welcomes new ideas and interests from AAB members. 


Tom Robinson.JPG

Tom Robinson

New Farm Technology Lead Syngenta UK, Fulbourn, Cambridge. I develop mechanical methods to optimize the performance of Syngenta Products and Seeds. My background is in farming and engineering. In the past 10 years I have specialized in developing spray nozzles and precision farming techniques.

Group Members


Paolo Balsari

Paolo is the Director of the Department of Agricultural, Forest and Environmental Economics and Engineering (DEIAFA) at the University of Turin, Italy.


Clare Butler-Ellis

Clare Butler Ellis has worked in agricultural engineering research since 1986, and has been involved with application techniques for pesticides since 1994. She now leads the team in Silsoe Spray Applications Unit. She has an international reputation for research into nozzle performance and characterisation, spray behaviour and modelling of spray drift with an extensive publication record. She has experience of international research, through collaborations with European countries and the USA. Clare has managed and worked on a diverse range of research projects, including EU, Defra, Innovate UK, AHDB, fully-funded commercial contract research, with funders from the UK, Europe and world-wide.

Clare has a PhD in physics, is a Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineering, a Chartered Physicist and a Chartered Environmentalist.

Richard Glass.jpg

Richard Glass

Richard is and Innovation Hub Lead at CHAP. He has over 30 years of experience working with R&D projects and field trials dealing with crop protection with a wide range of crops and climatic zones for both the private and public sector.

Richard gained his first degree in Biology at Manchester University, with post graduate studies in Crop protection and Analytical Chemistry. Over 25 years experience with crop protection related research in Europe and Latin America. Specialist areas are pesticide application and safety, occupational and bystander/resident exposure, biopesticide delivery and sustainable production. He is Fluent in Spanish, having worked with coffee leaf rust control in Colombia and extensively with intensive horticulture in Spain


Colin Mountford-Smith

Colin is a technical adviser at BASF


David Nuyttens

David works in the Agriculture Engineering Dept at ILVO, Ghent.


Jan Van De Zande

Jan is a researcher at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.


James Thomas

James works as part of the EAME Sustainable Responsible Business team at Syngenta with a focus on Application Technology. In his current role, James looks at how  to best use and apply Syngenta’s portfolio of products on a farm scale using a combination of technology and machinery; developing practical intergrated solutions that deliver the optimum balance of product efficacy, farm efficency and environmental safety.


James has been working for Syngenta for 5 years after completing a Master of Agricultural Engineering degree from Harper Adams University. Whilst there he spent much of his time researching and building agricultural robots; including Dionysus, a vineyard scouting robot . Further to this he spent a sandwich year in industry working for JCB, where he was involved with the test and development of the iconic JCB Fastrac tractor. He has a practical farming experience across the world including Europe, Australia and New Zealand, James is passionate about ensuring new solutions are easy to implement, robust in use and ultimately add value to the customer.