There are just two weeks left for farmers to have their say on the future direction of the National Register of Sprayer Operators (NRoSO). A major review of the scheme was launched earlier this year to address the widely-publicised concerns about the bureaucracy and time spent meeting points requirements.

“As we go forward we need to be confident that a new scheme has industry support,” NRoSO chairman, Michael Seals said. “We have consulted a range of organisations and using this feedback, come forward with ideas about how the scheme can move forward.” Farmers have been asked for their opinions on seven key areas (see below).

Over 5,300 people at this year’s Cereals event registered for points and NRoSO’s Steve Hewitt reckoned at least 1,300 had completed the review questionnaire. “There’s been a lot of positivity, which is a massive turnaround from 2003, when a large number of people were complaining about why they had to join the scheme. Now they’re asking how we can make it better.”

Most people were fed up with the paper trail required by the existing scheme and some who had failed to meet points requirements would have met the target, had they provided the required evidence, he said. “The problem is we’re still trying to get the message across to some people.”

Looking at how the scheme could change, a lot of NRoSO members expressed interest in an annual training event and many highlighted the need for quality assurance of training, so that it was all to a set standard. “People also liked the idea of events geared towards the sprayer operator, not just agronomy, and being able to talk to other sprayer operators.”

How NRoSO should change
1. Should points for agronomists meetings remain?
2. Should points for attending a sprayer test remain?
3. Should points still be available for reading journals and magazines?
4. Should points be awarded for attending technical events e.g. Cereals?
5. Would you support an annual half day training event that carried 10 points?
6. Should attendance at two courses over a three year period be compulsory?
7. Would you support an online method of gaining points?

Questionnaires are available at http://nroso.nptc.org.uk/. The deadline for responses is 6 July 2007. For more on how NRoSO could change, see Crops, 23 June.
paul.spackman@rbi.co.uk