Uptake of the National Sprayer Testing Scheme in the first nine months of the 2006/07 season has significantly exceeded last year, according to latest figures.

So far this season, the NSTS has tested 7,696 sprayers, covering 8,836,000ha or 44.2% of the sprayed area of the UK. This compared with just 3,819 during the same period in 2005/06, said NSTS manager, Duncan Russell.

Some of the increase has been attributed to NSTS becoming a requirement of crop assurance schemes. “Part of that increase in numbers is due to more smaller sprayers coming forward for test, something encouraged by crop assurance,” he said.

Some 40% of those sprayers tested achieved the standards without the need for repair, while the main problems found included leaks and drips, faulty pressure gauges and worn nozzles.

See www.nsts.org.uk for more information and a list of NSTS test centres.