Steve Lake has been named Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year having impressed the judges with his extensive spraying knowledge.


A sprayer operator for 28 years, Mr Lake runs a 4000-litre Bateman RB35, with 24m boom, treating 6,000ha (14,826 acres) per year. He sprays a range of crops including wheat, barley, oilseed rape, peas, beans and herbs at Burgate Farm, Hambledon.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly at Cereals 2011, judge Ted Dredge who himself won the award in 1990 highlighted Mr Lake’s positive attitude on the responsibility of being a modern spray operator.

“They are often under pressure from the weather and heavy work loads, requiring much thought and dedication.”

One example of his practical ideas is having the sprayer operator’s key telephone numbers and mixing instructions, encapsulated on the side of his sprayer. The telephone numbers include emergency contacts, such as the doctor and the Environment Agency, along with technical numbers including chemical company help desks.

“His useful aids, which are practical and easy to use, are readily to hand on or around his machine which makes life easier and safer, says Mr Dredge.

Also on the judging panel with Mr Dredge was Clare Blackledge of the Environment Agency.

More Cereals 2011 tech information