Ruaidhrí Deasy is a tillage farmer from Borrisokane in County Tipperary who completed his boom sprayer course with FRS Training. Ruaidhrí found the course itself to be extremely worthwhile and would encourage other farmers to do it. He learned things he never knew before even after having sprayed for 45 years.
“When I first heard about the spray compliance requirements I thought ‘, not another compliance thing – I have been spraying for 45 years’, but I learned a lot on the course. The main thing was on the protective clothing, such as the gloves and masks which we now use all the time when spraying and how to read the labels to know the various harmful toxins.”
The Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) stipulates that all professional users such as farmers and distributers of plant protection products, are now required to be trained and registered with the department before they spray. The training involved focuses on pesticide application which includes Boom Sprayers and Knapsack Sprayers. Farmers need to ensure that they are compliant.
Jim Dockery is a training manager with FRS and commented; “We have trained over 12,500 people to date through our QQI Pesticide Application Course which is compulsory for all professional users, including farmers under the new SUD.
Jim noticed that a lot of farmer’s attitudes towards the training changed after completing the course.
“Many farmers admitted that they were attending because they had to or they thought they would not be able to purchase pesticides if they didn’t, but after the course their attitudes shifted completely. Many realised they knew very little about the sprayer, it’s parts or how to calibrate it at all.”
The farmers that completed the course learned a lot about the sprayer and nozzles , the timing of the spray and how to interpret rates and volumes. Jim said that one farmer said to him; ‘Jim since last week I measured my sprayer nozzles on the 2000l trailed sprayer and realised that 10% of my nozzles were way out, I reckon this course could save me €20,000 over the year with additional spray costs as I spray over 600 acres of tillage.”
Another Tilage farmer, Tony Bell from North Dublin also attended the FRS Training Course organised through NAD (National Agrochemical Distributors) and was host farm for the course. Tony himself has a new 24 meter boom sprayer with a 3,200 litre tank and acknowledges how important it actually is to do the course.
“I am passionate about not wasting time around the farm and I want to get the job done as effectively as possible. Although I have been spraying for about 30 years, doing the spraying course with FRS kept my knowledge topped up and this is important in order to do things right and I believe through repetition you become more effective.”
Trainer Jim Dockery also noticed that from speaking to farmers, recording the use of pesticides to be compliant is an issue for them.
“Feedback from farmers told us that recording the use of pesticides to be compliant is a big issue for them. Many did not know where to find or how to complete the sprayer application field record and very few realised this was already part of cross compliance since 2012. FRS have consulted with the department of Agriculture and has developed an easy way for completing field records on your phone. Visit www.herdwatch.ie for all information.”
What does the future hold for Sprayer Compliance?
The next compliance directive is only around the corner with the deadline on November 26th 2016. Basically it is similar to an NCT for a car only it’s for your sprayer and FRS training have built up a team of engineer inspectors who are qualified and registered with the department to deliver this on farm service to farmers.
Under Irish legislation all sprayers must be tested once before the coming November 26th deadline. The test will cover the sprayer until 2020. After that a test will be carried out every three years after 2020. This legislation refers to all boom sprayers (above 3m) and blast/orchard sprayers.
Many advantages come with the testing of sprayers outside of being compliant:
- Testing will regulate and rationalise the amount of spray which will reduce waste and save money.
- The chance of mid-season breakdown is also reduced if your sprayer is tested.
- When it comes to NCT, for resale purposes, your sprayer will greatly benefit from the test if in proper working order with official certification.
- Testing your sprayer will protect you, your operator, employees and general public from health and safety risks associated with pesticides.
Contact FRS Training on 1890 20 1000 or visit www.frstraining.com for further information on sprayer training, testing and other courses.
Further information on registration and training an also all hard copies of registration forms are available on www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie