SUCCESS OF the Voluntary Initiative is well on track, as the National Register of Sprayer Operators target is surpassed six months ahead of the Mar 31 2005 deadline.

Over 18,400 operators covering 75% of the arable area, have been signed up to the NRoSO so far.

“We are delighted with the support given by farmers and operators to NRoSO, added Patrick Goldsworthy, Voluntary Initiative Manager.

“To help everyone focus on best practice we are sending all NRoSO members a special eight page Water Protection Newsletter explaining the problems associated with pesticide residues in water and steps farmers and operators can take to prevent the risk.”

He hopes this year‘s “H2OK? Think Water” Operator Roadshows will match last year‘s massive achievement of 290 events with over 4000 operators trained.

The National Sprayer Testing Scheme is also on schedule to achieve its targets of 50% of the sprayed area. So far 1752 tests have been conducted covering 15.5% of the area.

With most Farm Assurance Schemes recommending the NSTS to their members it‘s important farmers book early with their test centre to avoid a last minute rush.

Slower progress is being made with Crop Protection Management Plans, with 13,000 ha covered so far, against a target of at least 900,000 ha.

Last year most of the returns came in the winter, explained the National Farmers Union‘s Neil Kift.

“CPMP‘s exceeded all expectations last year. It is important we maintain the momentum,” he said.