Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Thomas Beach, Managing Director of Autonomous Agri Solutions Ltd

Infield Automation – A practical approach

An agricultural engineer passionate about providing commercial autonomous solutions and integrating robotic systems to support in the progression of UK agriculture and horticulture, Thomas will focus on what are the current and near-future applications for commercially available automation using field scale technologies. With specific focus on ROBOTTI and how Autonomous Agri Solutions can deliver and integrate such technologies.

Dr. Grzegorz (Greg) Cielniak,  Associate Professor at the Lincoln Agri-Robotics centre

Potential of robotic technology for vegetable production

Having obtained his Ph.D in Computer Science in Sweden, and a MSc in Robotics in Poland, Greg’s research interests include robotic perception and navigation in unstructured outdoor environments, with a focus on robotic application delivery in agriculture. In this talk, he will discuss the existing challenges and barriers to the wider adoption of robotic technology in vegetable production and demonstrate some of the existing robotics research illustrating promising applications for crop protection, in-field transportation and harvesting.


Rosemary Collier, Professor, School of Life Sciences at Warwick University

Emerging Pest Insect Problems – Sweet Midge and Cabbage Stem Flea Beetles

Rosemary trained as an entomologist and has worked on the pest insects of horticultural crops for many years. Her main research interest is in the development and application of Integrated Pest Management strategies for horticultural crops. Rosemary will be giving us an insight into the emerging insect problems of Swede Midge and the Cabbage Stem Flea Beetles.


Dr Catherine Eyre, Plant Pathology Consultant, ADAS Horticulture

Grower led Spinach damping off trial

Catherine has been involved in the AHDB funded SCEPTRE Plus seed treatment research work conducted by ADAS. She has a background in soft fruit breeding and forest pathology and has worked in academic and industry research. Her research interests are in plant protection and novel tech for solving horticultural problems. She will present work conducted by her former ADAS colleague, Dave Kaye.


Kiran Hari, Business Development Manager, Living Foods Ltd, NZ

Kiran, from a multi-generational vegetable growing family, was born to grow. He remembers weeding lettuces at the age of ten and stacking crates of lettuce at age 15. Formerly a lettuce and cauliflower grower, Kiran is today a Business Development Manager, working for Living Foods, a supplier of leafy greens based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Kiran is also on the Vegetables New Zealand Board.  Vegetables New Zealand advocates for vegetable growers and helps the industry find solutions to challenges. He has been involved in the annual Young Grower of the Year competition, run to promote careers in New Zealand’s nearly NZ$7 billion vegetable and fruit growing industries.

At the conference, Kiran will talk about Living Foods and what the company does.  He will also provide an update on where the brassica and leaf industry is at the moment in NZ.


Dion Garrett, Post-Doctoral researcher at Rothamsted Research

Green-bridging the gaps: insights into the cryptic life history of a poorly understood aphid, Nasonovia ribisnigri

Dion recently completed a PhD with the University of Warwick, based at Rothamsted Research along with an industry partner, G’s Fresh. His PhD improved the understanding of the currant-lettuce aphid, Nasonovia ribisnigri, the most damaging pest of outdoor lettuce. Due to the nature of the currant-lettuce aphid to infest the centre of the lettuce, foliar sprays are ineffective and, with the breakdown of resistance in the once resistant lettuce cultivar, this leaves very few future control strategies. During his PhD, Dion used extensive fieldwork to improve our knowledge of this aphid in the farming environment. Additionally, he used molecular techniques to assemble the first draft genome for this aphid. He used this to study the population structure in England and improved scientific understanding of the resistance mechanism in resistant-breaking biotypes of the currant-lettuce aphid.


Dr. Rosie Green, Associate Professor in Sustainability, Nutrition and Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

5 a day to keep climate change away

Dr Green’s main area of research interest is the intersection between nutrition, environment and health, and in particular sustainable diets and food systems. Her academic background is in nutritional epidemiology. She sat on the scientific advisory panel for the UK Citizens Assembly on Climate Change, and contributed to the UK Food Strategy. Dr Green is currently a co-PI on two Wellcome-funded grants: the Pathfinder Initiative exploring health impacts of actions to mitigate climate change, and the FACE-Africa project exploring food system adaptations to climate change in The Gambia.  She is also a co-investigator on the AMPHoRA project exploring health impacts of agricultural air pollution, and leads the diet-related research for the SHEFS consortium researching sustainable and healthy food systems in India, South Africa and the UK.


Dr. Alison Lees, Research Leader & Senior plant pathologist at The James Hutton Institute

Characterising downy mildew of lettuce and spinach

Dr. Alison specialises in the epidemiology, detection and control of plant diseases including potato late blight, lettuce downy mildew and the soil-borne potato diseases powdery scab, black dot and rhizoctonia.

Alison has a particular interest in Integrated Pest Management and provides pathology support to the Hutton’s potato breeders. She is one of the coordinators of Euroblight ‘A Late-Blight Network for Europe’ and manages the plant health research funded by Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Division, the aim of which is to develop strategies for the sustainable control of damaging pests and diseases.


Dieter Lloyd, Managing Director of PamLloyd Food Marketing and PR

“The just-in-time [food] system is no longer working and I don’t think it’ll work again” What shoppers have heard from media about food.

Dieter Lloyd is Managing Director of PamLloyd Food Marketing and PR (PLPR), the specialist agency with two decades’ experience in fresh produce marketing working for clients including: British Leafy Salads, Asparagus Growers, Brassica Growers, UKShallots and British Carrot Growers. Dieter has over 30 years’ experience in marketing and commercial positions. Following roles in publishing with Mirror Group and the Omnicom agency group, he joined his wife Pam at PLPR in 2007. Since 2015 Dieter has been the BLSA spokesperson. In this role he has appeared on radio, TV and spoken to national news media on issues such as E.coli 157 and Listeria contamination, crop availability due to weather fluctuations, food and labour shortages related to Brexit and Coronavirus, chlorine washes in bagged salad and price increases due to flooding in overseas growing regions. Dieter is a dad of two boys, a Bristol Bears rugby fan and a novice sports photographer.


Dan Parker, Chief Executive, Veg Power

Growing the market for greens

Dan Parker has worked in marketing and advertising for 25 years. As Chief Executive and Executive Creative Director of marketing innovation agency Sponge, he pioneered online, mobile and location marketing for the world’s largest food, restaurant, grocery, media, and technology brands.

At the conference Dan Parker Chief Executive of Veg Power looks at the trends and opportunities to grow volume and value in brassicas and leafy salads.


Professor Simon Pearson is the Director of the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology, University of Lincoln.

Defra’s Review of Automation & Robotics

Simon has become a leader in inter-disciplinary research in the field of agri-technology by bringing together academic and industrial experts who are striving to improve technological, environmental and human capital aspects of the food industry. This research embraces a diverse range of agri-technology applications including robotic systems, automation and design for manufacture of integrated e-hubs for agricultural vehicles. Simon is seeking to develop agri-robotics to drive productivity across the agri-food sector, including crop harvesting, phenotyping and crop care. Through the UKRI-EPSRC funded project, The Internet of Food Things. Simon brings together a network of experts to investigate how artificial intelligence, data analytics and emerging technologies can enhance the digitalisation of the UK food supply chain.


Andy Richardson, General Manager of Allium & Brassica Agronomy

Pesticide Update

Andy is General Manager of the Allium & Brassica Agronomy, specialising in all aspects of bulb onion and brassica production and storage.  He has over 30 years agronomy/storage experience in field vegetable production both in the UK and abroad.

Andy is currently Technical co-ordinator for the Brassica Growers Association and a member of the British Onion Producers Association Research and Development Committee.   He has been Secretary/Treasurer of the Vegetable Consultants Association since 2009.    BASIS/FACTS lecturer on Integrated Crop Management and the Plant Protection Award module for the BASIS diploma at Lincoln University for over 20 years.


Graeme Sait, CEO, Nutri-Tech Solutions

Chasing the Biggest Bang

Graeme Sait is an author/educator responsible for hundreds of published articles, a popular book entitled, “Nutrition Rules” and a highly successful podcast. His TED talk, “ Humus saves The World” has over 300,000 views. Graeme is the founder of leading Australian company, NTS, and he formulated all of their 200+ unique products. He also developed and teaches the internationally acclaimed,, Certificate in Nutrition Farming. He has trained over 40,000 farmers and consultants, on four continents, over the past 22 years, with this popular course.

Graeme often consults at governmental level in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. He has been responsible for the successful conversion of a large supermarket chain in South Africa to biological food production.

Graeme Sait is a sought-after conference presenter, addressing a wide range of professionals ranging from farmers to soil scientists and environmentalists. His inspirational presentations are often described as “life changing!”


Pete Seymour, Horticultural Technical Consultant, ADAS Horticulture

Grower led transition to peat free vegetable propagation trials

Pete is a horticultural entomologist with five years’ experience with ADAS, specialising in entomology and trial management. He has developed a broad knowledge in plant health specialising in entomology research with particular focus on thrips as well as pest ID. He has delivered work on several projects and been heavily involved in knowledge exchange events with growers in the industry. Before becoming a consultant, Pete worked for the field team managing and delivering trial work in a wide variety of trials and now co-manages the Horticulture research team. Since then he has further enhanced his identification skills of pest and disease and has been responsible for writing literature reviews and reports within ADAS Horticulture. Alongside the other plant pathologists and entomologists at ADAS, Pete helps run the plant clinic service, regularly diagnosing crop issues for plant manufacturers / suppliers.


Joe Shaw Roberts, Consumer Insight Director, Kantar

The future retail landscape for Brassicas & Leafy Salads

Joe has 7 years’ experience in grocery market research, and currently manages Kantar’s Produce team, continuously helping 70 Produce businesses improve their sales with data-driven insight & recommendations. He is passionate about encouraging people to live healthily and love showcasing growth opportunities for Fresh Produce.


Ben Taylor-Davies, Regenerative Consultant, Regenben

The healthy food dichotomy

Ben Taylor-Davies, born and raised on a farm in Ross-on-Wye before studying geography at Liverpool University. A job as an agronomist was going extremely well until 2012 when our son was involved in a horrific car accident which changed everything, forever and had a huge impact on my mental health. A Nuffield scholarship in 2016 ensued where I studied blackgrass but much more than that was fortunate to travel the world and look at all aspects of farming, it was time to put the fun back into farming and my job and regenerate my mind, regenerative agriculture and it’s principles as quite literally saved me!

Farming 220 Ha in Ross-on-Wye, looking to increase the amount of land farmed without land acquisitions by looking at all aspects of production and concentrating on enterprise stacking wherever possible. The farm has historically grown potatoes and various vegetable enterprises and has access to irrigation from the river Wye. However the conflict of our soil type, legacy P issues, crop rotations and topography has made us rethink our strategy when it comes to potato and vegetable production.  A historic mixed farm which has seen the re-introduction of  various livestock enterprises whilst also developing a farm shop, holiday lets and glamping. The main focus of the farm is giving something to the next generation, this includes more soil, a better environment, a diverse income stream, no debt which has all been included into the farms 30 year plan.


Andrew Williams, Grower, Home Farm, Nacton

Robotti – A Grower’s View

Andrew’s career began with a job on John Fenton’s arable farm on the outskirts of Ipswich.

After 18 months he felt the need to try something completely different and joined the Royal Navy, enjoying two very formative years, then returning to civilian life with a job repairing shipping containers while searching for a route back in agriculture.

Eventually he took up a position with Andy Mayhew at Waldringfield, working there while attending Otley agricultural college & then Walford College in Shropshire to study for a National Certificate in Farm Management.

Andrew returned to Andy at the end of the course, taking a role as farm foreman six years.

Unable to secure a management position on a farm at that time, myself and a good friend set up a contracting business, J&A Farm Services, which we ran until I joined Home Farm Nacton Ltd in May 1997 as Farm Manager.