Top accolade for Oxfordshire-based sprayer operator

Oxfordshire-based Gordon Whittingham has been named winner of this year’s Syngenta Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year in recognition of his technological excellence and willingness to share his knowledge.

Mr Whittingham, who is responsible for crop protection and fertiliser application at Great Tew Farms, Chipping Norton, was presented with the trophy at this week’s Cereals 2024 event in Hertfordshire.

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Gordon Whittingham with spraying trophy

Gordon Whittingham © Mick Roberts

The judges said this year’s competition was one the tightest for many years.

But Mr Whittingham stood out, not only for his meticulous approach, but also for how he strives to improve his own operations and share this knowledge with others.

“Gordon has really mastered new technology,” said chief judge and Syngenta area manager Iain Lindsay.

“He has also made positive steps forward in not only his work, but also his commitment to protecting the environment and the general public.”

Mr Whittingham, who was previously a finalist in 2010, uses a 2020 Bateman RB35, which is equipped with the Capstan II PWM system. He has also become a bit of a “guru” on Gatekeeper software.

“Having another crack at FSOOTY after 14 years was a good opportunity to check my basics and brush up on spraying best practice,” he said.

Other finalists

The three other finalists were:

  • Richard Darling, who operates a Horsch Leeb 8.300 PT self-propelled, and is the lead sprayer and combine operator at Davison & Co, Great Barford, which farms across four bases in Bedfordshire.
  • Macer Nussey, who is one of two sprayer operators at Down Ampney Contracting, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Part of the Velcourt group, the business owns two Horsch 5LT sprayers, covering 2,100ha of combinable crops and 200ha of maize.
  • Josh Whitear, who works for Netherley Farm Partnership in Hampshire, where the farm grows 418ha of cereals and contract harvests 150ha. He carries out all the farm’s spraying with an Amazone front- and rear-mounted combination on a John Deere 6195R CommandPro.

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