Digital Agriculture: Regulatory and Scientific Aspects of Precision Application

The aim of the Conference is to bring together stakeholders at the EU-level, to exchange on available and upcoming tools in the area of digital and precision applications and work towards a progressive and compliant development of risk assessment and risk management instruments enabling these new application techniques.

Garantierte Durchführung
10.04. — 11.04.2024
Novotel Düsseldorf City West
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Special fee* for pertinent competent authorities: € 200,00 + VAT (*limited number of places available)

For the Digital Agriculture Conference, we can offer a special rate of € 200,00 + VAT, exclusively to a limited number of pertinent competent authorities (competent authorities of the EU Member States) and exclusively for on-site participation.

Click here to benefit from this fee (please be prepared to provide evidence of your affiliation).


Digital Technologies in agriculture are seen by regulators and stakeholders as an enabler of the objectives of the Green Deal and Biodiversity Strategy, as well as of the principle of Sustainable Food production systems in Europe. Precision applications are part of this innovation, and there is a need to link the technology to regulatory needs for data generation and risk assessments.

The Conference will be taking place in Dusseldorf/Germany on 10 and 11 April 2024.

You can also follow all the exciting contributions via our live stream!

Please find all information on the virtual participation here.


Regulatory Status

  • The Commission on the status of precision applications in the regulatory system
  • EFSA: Ideas on how to include precision uses in risk assessment

Relevant Developments & Regulatory Challenges

  • Implications of precision farming for risk assessment
  • BVL and Syngenta: How to express precision uses of pesticides in the GAP-table

Technology & Research

  • The British HSE on drone technology and assessing the risks from pesticide applications
  • Julius Kühn Institute on the power of system integration and the role of research in new technologies

Who should attend this conference?

Professionals working in the fields of:

  • Managing directors, managers, consultants and scientists working in the field of Plant Protection Products and active substances
  • Technical Experts from Research & development
  • Agricultural Technology Experts
  • Producers, distributors and downstream users of Plant Protection Products
  • Risk assessors
  • Toxicologists
  • Ecotoxicologists
  • Product Stewards
  • Regulators

Sectors that should take part:

  • Agrochemical industry
  • Agrotechnological industry
  • Biotech Industry
  • Research institutes
  • Authorities
  • Professional associations
  • Contract laboratories/consultancies

Picture Credit: © elenabsl - AdobeStock



PLEASE NOTE: The indicated times refer to Central European Time CEST.

For further time zones, please view here.

Wednesday, 10 April 2024

Morning Session | 09:30 – 13:25 CEST
Registration and coffee
Welcome address by the organisers and the Chairs

Anne Alix, Corteva Agriscience, United Kingdom
Jonas Schartner, German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), Germany

Introduction to the European Precision Application Task Force (EUPAF)
  • Short history of EUPAF
  • Regulatory aspects for precision application
  • Structure of EUPAF
  • Main objectives and tasks of EUPAF

Anne Alix, Corteva Agriscience, United Kingdom
Jonas Schartner, German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), Germany

Regulatory Status
Status of precision applications in the regulatory system

Eric Liégeois, European Commission, Belgium (virtual presentation)

EFSA (EUPAF observer): Thoughts on how to include precision uses in risk assessment

Domenica Auteri, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Italy

Coffee break
Panel discussion: Regulatory requirements
Inventory and technical aspects of precision uses: The groundwork for potential changes in risk assessment
  • Creation of a technical inventory and identification of use categories to enable appropriate language in GAP tables and PPP authorisation
  • Key findings on existing equipment
  • Open questions and data requirements (variable rate applications; bush and tree crops; drone spraying)

Tom Bals, Independent Consultant, United Kingdom

How to express precision uses of pesticides in the GAP
  • Rate expression
  • Use categories
  • Harmonised language

Alexander Pfaff, Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), Germany
Joachim Dressel, Syngenta, Switzerland

Lunch break

Afternoon Session | 14:30 – 17:15 CEST
Precision application (PA) in risk assessment and as a risk mitigation measure: A EUPAF Proposal
  • Evaluation of impact of precision application on the human and environmental risk assessments
  • The potential of precision application as a risk mitigation measure
  • The extent of the changes in particular areas of the risk assessment
  • Proposition of adapted assessment scenarios to reach more realistic approaches for areas of the risk assessment that can be significantly modified following a change in application practice
  • Available advice on the type of data that are needed to document and quantify the changes

Rena Isemer, Bayer, Germany
Alf Aagaard, Danish Environmental Protection Agency, Denmark

Spotlight on the necessary conditions required for a future-proof authorisation of PPP uses with precision techniques
  • Categorisation of techniques and link to inspection criteria
  • Conversion of application rate per hectare to local application rates

Anne Steenbergh, Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb), The Netherlands

Coffee break
Integrating digital agriculture into risk assessment: Ideas from the UK

Melissa Reed, Health and Safety Executive / Chemicals Regulation Division (HSE/CRD), United Kingdom

Weed AI: Drone detection and analyis of weeds using artifial intelligence

Oliver Schmittmann, University of Bonn

Ultra Precise Application of herbicides using the AX-1

Vegard Line, Kilter, Norway

Q&A technical equipment and general discussion
End of the first conference day
Evening event
After the first conference day you are most welcome to attend our evening event for an unhurried evening of good food and leisure time. Please, join us to continue the day’s interesting discussions in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

Thursday, 11 April 2024

PLEASE NOTE: The indicated times refer to Central European Time CEST.

For further time zones, please view here.

Morning Session | 09:30 – 13:40 CEST
Brief address by the Chairs

Anne Alix, Corteva Agriscience, United Kingdom
Jonas Schartner, German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), Germany

Technology and Research
Technological innovations in plant protection: The power of system integration and the role of research
  • Current state of the best available technology
  • Innovations through process integration and digitisation
  • Precision and georeference as the basis for subsequent work
  • Georeferenced application technology – Spot application

Jens Karl Wegener, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI), Germany

Drone technology and assessing the risks from pesticide applications
The state of current knowledge
  • Work of the OECD sub-group and others to address knowledge gaps and risks
  • Possible future regulation of pesticides applied by drone

Grant Stark, Health and Safety Executive / Chemicals Regulation Division (HSE/CRD), United Kingdom

Precision application in 3D-technology vs regulatory needs: The PPP dose expression dilemma
  • Precision agriculture to adapt PPP dose to canopy characteristics
  • Variable Rate application to reduce PPP dose
  • PPP reduction by combining satellite imagery and education skills
  • Necessary revision of regulatory requirements

Emilio Gil, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain

Coffee break
Case study – Example of a spot application in sugarbeet: Linking the practice to the GAP Table and implications for the risk assessment

Vincent Guth, Corteva Agriscience, France

Spot spraying in vegetables: Applied research with an interdisciplinary approach

Martina Keller, Agroscope, Switzerland

Final discussion
Lunch and end of the conference






Aalf Aagaard

Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Denmark

Alf Aagaard is an Environmental Risk Assessor at the Danish EPA and an External Lecturer in ecotoxicology and environmental risk assessment at the University of Copenhagen. At the EPA, he assesses pesticides at European level and at zonal/national level for product registration. Alf has also worked on European Water Framework Directive regulation of chemicals, including procedures for prioritising chemicals of concern and derivation of Environmental Quality Standards and between 2007 and 2010 Alf joined the European Food safety authority EFSA as Senior Scientific officer.


Anne Alix

Corteva Agriscience, United Kingdom

Anne Alix joined Dow AgroSciences, now Corteva Agriscience, in 2011, as distinguished laureate in Policy and Risk Management for Europe, Middle East and Africa, where she advises on sustainability policies and precision applications. She has been working in the area of plant protection products risk assessment for 23 years. After a PhD in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at the University of Rennes, Anne joined the French National Institute for Research in Agronomy (INRA) as an ecotoxicologist in the scientific unit for the risk assessment of crop protection products. Anne was nominated head of the Environment and Ecotoxicology risk assessment unit at the French Agency on the safety of Food (AFSSA, now ANSES), where she initiated scientific collaborations with the pesticide unit of EFSA. Anne then joined the French Ministry of Agriculture as the deputy head of the Section for Regulation of Plant Protection Products and fertilizers, in charge of the implementation of risk mitigation measures for pesticides and of post registration monitoring.


Domenica Auteri

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Italy

Domenica Auteri is an Ecotoxicologist with more than 20 years of experience in the field of regulatory environmental risk assessment of pesticides. She is the Team Leader of the Ecotoxicology Team in the Pesticides Peer Review Unit of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).” She was responsible for the review of the neonicotinoids. She coordinated, from EFSA side, the drafting of the ECHA/EFSA guidance on identification of endocrine disruptors. Currently she is leading her team for with the review of the guidance documents for birds and mammals and bees.


Tom Bals

Independent Consultant, United Kingdom

Tom Bals worked for 40 years for the SME Micron Sprayers Ltd (who manufacture innovative rotary atomiser and other equipment for crop protection and sell worldwide - with particular emphasis on developing countries), becoming Managing Director in 1988 and Chairman in 1993 (with Micron gaining a UK Queens Award to Industry, a CWDE Award for long term commitment to sustainable development and various other awards during his tenure). Tom retired from Micron in September 2020, but has continued his involvement with AEA, CEMA and Standards projects.


Joachim Dressel

Syngenta, Switzerland

Joachim Dressel is the Regulatory Lead for Precision Application and Digital Agriculture- in region Europe at Syngenta. He has previously held roles as Senior Regulatory Manager for insecticides, fungicides and herbicides at Syngenta, as an environmental consultant and as environmental exposure expert at BASF. He holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences and has a passion for agriculture as well as our environment.


Emilio Gil

Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Spain

Emilio Gil is a Full Professor at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya in Barcelona (Spain). He is the Head of Unit of the Agricultural Machinery Research Group, and has been professor at Cornell University (ISA). Expert member of ISO in several Working Groups related with spray application technology. Emilio has over 30 years of experience in the improvement of spray technologies, especially for eD crops. He is also the Author of the Dosaviña App to adjust PPP dose for vineyards and been advisor to several governments, for instance Serbia, Chile, Cyprus and Spain, advising them on the Sustainable Use Directive.


Vincent Guth

Corteva Agriscience, France

Vincent Guth is an Application Technology Scientist at Corteva Agriscience. With an educational background in chemical and information technology Vincent previously occupied a wide variety of positions with Corteva and one of its predecessors DuPont Crop Protection, i.a. Global Packaging Lead.


Rena Isemer

Bayer, Germany

Rena Isemer is an Ecotoxicology Expert specialising in non-target plants at Bayer AG in Germany. A molecular biologist by training, Rena has previously worked as research associate at the University of Kiel.


Martina Keller

Agroscope, Switzerland

Martina Keller studied agricultural sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH). She obtained her PhD at the University of Hohenheim (Germany) in the field of weed science. Currently, she works as a Senior Scientist and Efficacy Evaluator in the Vegetable-Production Extension group at Agroscope. She is responsible for the research projects in weed science and application technology in vegetable production. She is familiar with the registration process of pesticides in Switzerland and is experienced in applied research and carrying out field trials.


Vegard Line

Kilter, Norway

Vegard Line is the Chief Technology Officer in Kilter AS. He has an engineering background within Cybernetics and Robotics, and is passionately engaged to make a positive contribution to food production by developing and implementing new technology.


Eric Liégeois

European Commission, Belgium

Eric Liégeois is a Senior Policy Officer at the European Commission in charge of Pesticides Legislation, moderating the Working Group on biopesticides and contributing to risk mitigation measures policy for DG SANTE. Formerly he was the Head-of-Sector for Fertilisers, Plastics and Circular Economy at DG GROW.


Alexander Pfaff

Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), Germany

Alexander Pfaff has been a Scientific Officer at the German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) since 2020. At the BVL he is responsible for efficacy management of insecticides and involved in projects for improving the provision of PPP authorisation data. Previously, he studied Crop Protection and finalised his PhD Project on tomato pests.


Melissa Reed

Health and Safety Executive / Chemicals Regulation Division (HSE/CRD), United Kingdom

Melissa Reed is a senior ecotoxicologist currently leading the ecotoxicology team in CRD-HSE. Over the last 18 years she has been involved in many activities related to ecotoxicological risk assessment including contributing to several EFSA scientific opinions related to effects modelling.


Jonas Schartner

Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), Germany

Jonas Schartner has been working in the department for Plant Protection Products (PPP) at the German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) since 2017. Since 2021 he has been leading the subgroup for environment, managing fungicides and insecticides in the PPP authorisation. After studying Chemistry and Biology at the Ruhr-University Bochum he obtained his Masters degree at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. In 2015 he received his PhD in Biophysics at the Ruhr-University Bochum.


Oliver Schmittmann

University of Bonn, Germany

Oliver Schmittmann has been responsible for the working group ‚Agricultural Engineering' at the Institute of Agricultural engineering/Department for Agricultural Engineering and Robotic at the University of Bonn, since 2019. His research focusses on applying AI in agriculture. He also has a keen interest in technology and cultivation systems for sugar beet-seeding, weeding, harvesting technology, precision farming,especially sensor technology and subsoil management (Soil3).


Grant Stark

Health and Safety Executive / Chemicals Regulation Division (HSE/CRD), United Kingdom

Grant Stark is Head of the Evidence, Committees and New Technologies team, in the Chemicals Regulation Division of the UK’s Health and Safety Executive. His role includes identifying and determining the potential impact new technologies can have on the risks associated with the application of pesticides. He is currently the Chair of the OECDs Working Party for the Pesticides Drone sub-Group.


Anne Steenbergh

Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb), The Netherlands

Anne Steenbergh is a Policy Advisor in the area of sustainable plant protection at the Dutch Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb). A Microbial Ecologist by training Anne is also part of the Ctgb ‘GreenTEAM'.


Jens-Karl Wegener

Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Germany

Jens Karl Wegener has been Director and Professor of the Institute for Application Techniques in Plant Protection at Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), since 2013, . In 2017 he was appointed to be Honorary Professor at Technical University of Braunschweig, where he is supporting teachings of the Institute for Mobile Machinery and Commercial Vehicles (IMN). Furthermore he is conducting the interdisciplinary and university-covering block module \"Innovative Plant Protection Technologies\" together with students and instructors from five different Universities: His main focus is on optimization and risk assessment of processes and procedures in agriculture. In this context Prof. Wegener intensively studied the possibilities, limitations and benefits of new technologies for different agricultural purposes.



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