THE NATIONAL Sprayer Testing Scheme will be compulsory under the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme for harvest 2006.
The decision, taken by the ACCS board, was announced at the Cereals Event and means all growers with 50ha or more of combinable crops and sugar beet must have their sprayer certified under the scheme in time for next summer’s harvest.
For growers with less than 50ha, the requirement will apply from 2007.
ACCS chairman Tony Pexton said: “We want to get standards up. NSTS gives us the opportunity to do that, just as including the register of sprayer operators [NRoSO] did.”
Both NSTS and NRoSO are part of the Crop Protection Association’s Voluntary Initiative which aims to demonstrate responsible use of pesticides by UK farmers.
The NFU, the VI and Agricultural Engineers’ Association, which manages NSTS, backed the move in the recent consultation, Mr Pexton confirmed.
“We made a recommendation that NSTS should be part of the ACCS standard by harvest 2007. They came back saying it should be in place for larger operators by 2006.”
Duncan Russell, NSTS manager welcomed the development. “Through the VI, the NSTS has a target of testing sprayers that cover 80% of the arable area. We’ve just got to 50% this year. There’s a good chance we’ll meet the target thanks to this decision.”
VI manager Patrick Goldsworthy added: “We saw what a difference assurance scheme support made for NRoSO.”