Cereals 2023: Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year crowned

Nottinghamshire-based Mark Jelley of Brixworth Farming has been chosen as this year’s Syngenta Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year (Fsooty), collecting his award at Cereals 2023 on Tuesday 13 June.

Mr Jelley has been operating sprayers for 45 years and now uses a state-of-the-art Chafer Interceptor self-propelled sprayer to work across 1,500ha of combinable crops on the farm’s own land, plus 500ha of contract farming.

See also: Find all our sprayer content in one place 

In addition to his deep knowledge and desire to optimise every application, the judges applauded his willingness to develop his fellow operators on the farm.

Mr Jelley also undertakes frequent work-based training, as well as taking every opportunity to increase his knowledge in his own time.

“Having been a previous finalist, I was keen to give it another go,” he said. “Entering Fsooty is a good way to measure and further your knowledge, and to keep on learning.”

Experience counts 

Making the presentation, Syngenta application specialist Scott Cockburn said this year’s finalists highlighted that experience counts – “since all of them had made the shortlist before”.

“Everyone in the industry is aware of how the application of plant protection products is under constant scrutiny,” he said.

“That’s why highly skilled, qualified and expert operators, who take seriously their continuous professional development, hold such an important position on farms.”

Other finalists commended at the Fsooty awards included Peter Dennis of Sternberg Farms, Tenterden, Kent, and Chris Hosking, lead operator at Varfell Farms, near Penzance in Cornwall.

Mark Jelley’s tips for top sprayers

  • Enter the Fsooty competion – it’s a good way to measure and further your knowledge
  • Map fields, showing which way to spray the headlands, any hazards and where to start your up and down runs
  • Carry a selection of spare parts with you – being self-sufficient is a good way to work

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