Robotics is no ‘quick fix’ to solving labor shortages

The use of robotics in agriculture offers no quick fix, despite recent suggestions by Defra secretary George Eustice that the technology could be key to overcoming labor shortages in agriculture.

Addressing an NFU South-East seminar at the South of England Show, NFU vice-president David Exwood agreed that future technology, such as robotics, has a role to play in sustainable farming. But it cannot be relied upon in the short term.

“Robotics is coming,” he said. “You can already buy a robotic tractor in America and set it working in your field.

Mr. Exwood cited the example of a drone that can spot spray pesticides. “I have seen it there, working, but it is not licensed to operate in this country, as you can’t do aerial crop spraying here. It is unhelpful of George to signpost too much and not face reality.”

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