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FSOOTY is back again for 2017 with one goal: To find the best Farm Sprayer Operator in the the UK. As always the Award will be presented at the Cereals show in June and there will be an Awards dinner the night before.

Entries have now closed for the 2017 competition.

Read on for top tips from the 2016 finalists and stay tuned for tips from 2017 finalists.

Jamie Marshall-Roberts, New Farming Technology Lead EUN, on FSOOTY

"The application of crop protection products is one of the most complex challenges faced on farm. From filling the sprayer, through applying the spray to disposing of the empty containers, the operator is faced with many possible ways of doing the job.

The use of plant protection products is under constant scrutiny, so it is important to use them safely and efficiently in a way that meets crop needs, as well as public, operator and environmental safety.

It’s a tricky balance, but for many operators, it comes as second...

FSOOTY 2016 Finalists - Top Tips

Winner: Jonathan Cross

Jonathan is a Spray Operator at Wantisden Hall Farms, Woodbridge covering 1200ha. Jonathan treats a diverse range of crops including vegetables and combinables with a 36m trailed John Deere sprayer.  Over his 25 years of spraying experience Mr Cross has seen the introduction of many new rules and regulations, therefore to keep up with this he encourages other operators keep it safe and keep it legal by attending training course such as NRoSO .  Further to this Jonathan has engineered his own nozzle cap remover which speeds up the job of removing and changing nozzles on his sprayer. He also carries a pressure gauge which allows him to check that his pressures are correct across all his boom sections, which is critical for ensuring correct application to the high value crops he spray.

Mark Turner

Mark is the Sprayer Operator at Rise Farms, near Hull in East Yorkshire. Mr Turner sprays 900ha of combinable crops and vining peas with a 30m Bateman RB35. 16 years spraying experience has led to a process of continual development of the spraying operation. This includes fitting boom mudguards that prevent nozzles behind the wheels getting blocked and damaged from mud off the wheels. Further to this Mr Turner has a novel use for everyday talcum powder, by powdering his safety gloves before putting them on, it ensure that on their removal, they that don’t turn inside out, reducing the need to touch contaminated parts.

Martin Daw

Martin uses a 3000l Bateman RB26 with 24m booms to spray a wide range of combinable crops, maize, and grassland. With 11 years spraying under his belt, Mr Daw continually looks for ways to improve public and crop safety.  Due to the diverse range of crop protection products he is applies across many different farms and crops, he has developed a system whereby he records  all the products that have been mixed in the tank throughout the day. This ensures that the correct wash out procedures are carried out of subsequent days no matter who the operator is. Due to the large proportion of on the road travelling that Martin undertakes, he also carries a Dammit leak sealing putty which can be used to block any leakages or drains in the event of an accident. This idea came from the chemical transport industry. 

Andrew Woolley

Andrew has been spraying for 35 years. His current sprayer is a 24m Lemken Sirius 10 with front and rear tanks carrying a total of 3000l. Always looking for ways to reduce operator exposure, Mr Woolley has come up with a simple yet effective way putting on his safety gloves. By hanging them by the induction hopper with two clips, he can put his gloves on without touching the outside, reducing the likelihood of contamination. Andrew also uses a whiteboard system by his induction hopper. This reminds him of what previously was in the tank, whether he has cleaned it, and as a quick reference listing products he is mixing up into the tank.

Steve Fletcher

Steve is the Farm Foreman at Whittal Seeds, Hereford and has been spraying for 25 years. He protects 300ha of seed crops and carries out an additional 300ha of contract spraying with a 24m Kellands Agribuggy 2700. Being in a holiday hotspot, many of the fields Steve operates in have public footpaths crossing them. To ensure members of the public are aware of the spraying operation in progress, Mr Fletcher puts signs out, he also stops spraying as soon as a walker enters the field.  Being conscience about the public perception of chemical usage in agriculture, Steve also goes over and reassures them by explaining why and what he is applying products for.