Eight of the very best sprayer operators are vying for the title Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year 2010. Find out who has won in the Sprays & Sprayers arena on Wednesday, 9 June at 12:15pm
David Currie, Fife
Experienced operator David Currie sprays 5000-6000ha a year at C G Greig, Pitlochie Farms, Gateside in Fife, covering a wide range of crops including wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, broccoli, beans, peas and fodder beet. He uses a Bateman 3000 litre RB26 sprayer fitted with 28m self-levelling booms, auto shut-off and Trimble steering guidance. His simple method to contain overflow spillage uses a plastic barrel under the sprayer overflow whose contents can be sucked back into the sprayer.
Steve Lake, Surrey
Steve Lake has been spraying for the past 27 years. Based at Burgate Farm, Hambledon, he treats several different crops, including wheat, barley, oilseed rape, beans and, unusually for this competition, a range of herbs. He reckons to cover 8000ha a year with his 24m, 4000-litre Bateman RB35 sprayer, which is fitted with GPS and auto boom shut-off. His innovative system for washing out eases and speeds triple rinse circulation and spraying out.
Daniel Sharps, Wiltshire
Daniel Sharps uses a Knight EU3000 sprayer with 20m boom and 3000-litre tank to spray 2400ha a year for Wilson and Selbourne at Prebendal Farm, near Swindon. Cropping across the farm includes just about anything that will go through a combine, including peas, beans, linseed, wheat, oilseed rape and oats. A sprayer operator for 16 years, Daniel has built himself a sprayer filling work table to ease rinsing and draining.
Matthew Camps, Suffolk
Matthew Camps drives the sprayer and the combine for Maddever Contracting at Hall Farm near Bury St Edmunds. Using a Bateman RB35, with 4000 litre tank and 32m boom, he sprays 12,000ha a year. Crops are a classic Suffolk mix of wheat, oilseed rape, sugar beet and spring barley. A sprayer operator for 16 years, he has recently made improvements to his filling site, minimising the length of hose needed to reach the sprayer inlet.
Kieran Walsh, Gloucestershire
Kieran Walsh, sprayer operator for RA Campbell near Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire, has been treating crops for the past nine years. He reckons to spray about 4300ha a year, using a Sands SL3000 sprayer with 24m boom and 3000-litre tank on wheat, spring barley and oilseed rape. The machine is fitted with a GPS centre line. He has made a special filling table to keep containers at a convenient height when measuring part bottles for greater accuracy.
Gordon Selwood, Oxfordshire
A sprayer operator for seven years, Gordon Selwood uses a 4000 litre Bateman RB35 sprayer with self-levelling 30m boom and auto shut-off to treat wheat, barley, oilseed rape and beans for Great Tew Farms Partnership near Chipping Norton. In creating a new spray building, Gordon has been able to start from scratch to incorporate a range of safety and labour-saving features, including drive-in filling using a water tank to minimise how far chemical is carried.
George Sargent, Lincolnshire
Sprayer operator for J G Fisher near Grimsby, George Sargent uses a Gem Sapphire 2500-litre sprayer fitted with 20m booms and Trimble light bar GPS guidance system. He treats 6000ha a year of wheat, barley and oilseed rape . Recently, he has refined his technique for rinsing small bottles with narrow necks after finding that short bursts through the sprayer’s rotating cleaning nozzle followed by complete draining between each achieves a much better result.
Rob Cannell, Suffolk
Spraying a massive 10,000ha a year for Dennington Hall Farms, Woodbridge, including wheat, oilseed rape, spring beans and sugar beet, Rob Cannell has been a sprayer operator for four years. He uses a 4000-litre Bateman RB35 sprayer fitted with 32m self-levelling booms and GPS. For his BASIS project, Rob has built himself a patternator for checking spraying accuracy, consisting of a 3m corrugated sheet with a test tube at the end of each corrugation.
• For more from Cereals 2010 click here.