Farmer Focus: Neil Thomson gets timely reminder of spray safety

With the T2 spray imminent, I hope there is no repeat of my T1 experience. The week before, I was treating myself with a cream that contained a tiny volume of an active ingredient for a small rash on my shoulder. I was amazed when a few days later, the rash had gone.

At spraying time, I was rinsing the bottles in my induction bowl. A nice T1 mixture of chlormequat, Moddus, Tracker, Flexity, and manganese was circulating in the almost full tank when suddenly the T-piece on which you press the bottles came off, sending a jet of the spray mixture right into my face, which even the visor wouldn’t protect against.

Floundering, I immediately and thoroughly rinsed my face, but even a few hours later I could still feel the effects on my skin. I haven’t dared calculate what volume of active ingredients hit me, but it made me realise, after using the cream on my shoulder, how powerful chemicals can be, and to be a little more careful when we, sprayer operators, are handling them.

Nevertheless, I am horrified that some of the best weapons in our armoury of crop protection products are under threat of withdrawal. For once, the UK government seem to sympathise with the interests of the British farmer. But the wider public are always suspicious of chemicals. We need them to understand how much these crop protection chemicals have contributed to savings in their shopping basket.

I don’t know what was floating about in the air 40-odd weeks ago, but two of my neighbours had daughters on exactly the same day last month. Congratulations to John and Anne, Robert and Lucy. But watch out for my nephew, born a few weeks earlier, in a few years time.

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