Simon Kightley is the Oilseed and Pulse Crop Specialist at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) based at Cambridge, in the United Kingdom.
After graduating in 1973 he worked as a research biologist with the British Antarctic Survey for six years, before joining NIAB. In the early years he worked with the Vegetable trials team and then the Livestock Fodder Department, before settling into Oilseeds and Pulses in 1990.
His principal role has been in variety testing and delivering independent on varieties to UK farmers. He has also managed numerous agronomy studies and worked with animal nutritionists on investigations designed to re-draw the traditional limits on feeding rapeseed meal and pulses to pigs and poultry.
Simon will tell us how the European ban on the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments has blighted his life, with uncontrolled plagues of insect pests destroying rapeseed crops, and his own trials program, in his part of the country since the ban kicked in for the autumn 2014 plantings. He will tell us about the strategies that have been introduced in attempts to force the genie of uncontrolled pest damage back into the bottle and offer at least one ray of hope for the future.