ENVIRONMENTAL protection proposals spearheaded by the Crop Protection Association in the face of the proposed pesticide tax have been accepted by the government. Now it is up to the industry, farmers and sprayer operators to demonstrate best practice and that includes sprayer filling procedures.
Finalists in the Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year competition have shown many practical tips that protect the environment by avoiding filling mishaps, says competition organiser Tom Robinson.
A good starting point is to avoid filling the tank to the brim. Stop 10% short of the tanks nominal capacity to allow for foaming, which can be a particular problem in soft water areas and if tank mixes add to the level of surfactants.
Check that suction side joints and hose connections are tight and dont leave the induction hopper open after the chemical is introduced, he adds. "In some cases you may have to use an appropriate anti-foaming agent."
Ensure you put in the right amount of water. A flow meter can be set to sound an audible alarm at the required filling level, so avoiding overflowing, as well as left-over spray mix which could mean disposal problems later.
"Taking chemical packs from store to sprayer in a wheelbarrow gave bunded transport on one farm."
Careless measuring out or filling of chemicals can cause point source water pollution. Even foil seals thrown on the ground can cause a problem. If they are partly cut round and left attached to the pack they can be cleaned when the pack is rinsed back into the sprayer, Mr Robinson adds.
At the charging site, an easily cleaned table with a catch tray or one fixed to the side of a sprayer alongside the induction hopper makes life safer. A clean plastic drum cut in half can be used to catch any spills, while the other half placed under the induction hopper will catch drips. *