Four of the ideas gleaned from this year’s Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year finalists, sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection
Safe chemical handling – bunded shelf on chemical store door
One of the key elements of safe practice when loading a sprayer is to have the chemical bottles on a table at a convenient height when measuring out part-containers.
This ensures accurate measurement and reduces the chance of the bottle being accidentally knocked over.
Kieran Walsh, from Swell Buildings Farm, Gloucestershire, has come up with an innovative solution by fabricating a bunded shelf that is attached to the inside of his chemical store door.
When filling the sprayer the door is open and Mr Walsh has a shelf immediately to hand on which to measure out his chemicals.
Avoiding point source contamination
Perhaps the biggest single potential cause of point source contamination is spray mix overflowing accidentally from the spray tank during filling. Scottish regional winner David Currie has come up with a simple, but effective, solution.
The most common cause of spray mix overflow is foaming in the spray tank resulting in the tank overflowing when it is only half full with water. Common causes of foaming include poorly formulated products, air leaks, and adding the product with insufficient water in the tank. On Mr Curries’ Bateman sprayer, the tank overflow pipe is easily accessible at the rear of the sprayer. Therefore he has cut a 200-litre plastic drum in half and he places it under the overflow pipe so that should an accidental overflow occur, the spray mix is caught.
Rinsing spray tanks more effectively
Sprayer operator and south-east regional winner Steve Lake from Burgate Farm, Hambledon, Surrey, has an innovative system for getting the best rinse from the water in the rinse tank.
He measured the time taken for the full rinse tank (400 litres) on his Bateman sprayer to empty into the main spray tank – in his case 90 seconds. To get the best rinse from the contents of the rinse tank, it should be divided into three equal parts of 133 litres, each one being circulated then sprayed on to the crop. Mr Lake obtains these equal thirds by timing the discharge of the rinse tank into the main tank – 30 seconds for each third.
He also emphasises that, for a clean sprayer, you must completely empty the sprayer before commencing the cleaning cycle.
Bench with foot-operated tap is a winner
South-west regional winner Daniel Sharps has built himself a sprayer-filling work table with some unique features.
Essentially, the table is a trough with a drain plug at one end. The trough is covered with wire mesh and is used for standing chemical cans on when measuring out, then doubles as a drainer for rinsed cans.
Built into the table is a tap that Mr Sharps operates with his knee. This enables him to rinse containers and jugs with the minimum of water, as there is never a need to leave a tap running excessively.
The rinsate running off the table is collected in a container before being reintroduced to the induction hopper.
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