Farmers who joined the National Register of Sprayer Operators (NRoSO) in 2003 are being given extra time to qualify for renewed membership.

Many members who joined the register in its first year of operation had difficulty obtaining the training required to accumulate the points needed to remain listed.

Members with insufficient points who registered in 2003, and whose first-term membership expires this year, now have an extra 12 months to right any shortfall.

Scheme managers said the move was a one-off extension that would involve paying for an annual subscription and extra premium for the service.

Nevertheless, it is significant because NRoSO membership is now an inspection point for most farm assurance schemes.

NFU plant health adviser Neil Kift said sprayer operators and trainers had both struggled to meet the requirements of the register when it was introduced.

“Trainers didn’t apply for points for events that would have been valid, farmers didn’t realise they had to sign registers and registers weren’t always returned – meaning points didn’t go on farmers’ records.”

Members were urged to check carefully the points credited to their NRoSO annual statement to ensure it included points from all relevant course and events.

“In the event of any discrepancy members should contact the course organiser or the NRoSO to facilitate the submission of relevant evidence of attendance.”