Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 18 November 2017

Sprayers to get NCT-style test in new regime

Up to 40,000 farmers will be affected by a raft of new regulations governing spraying equipment and training for those mixing chemicals for spraying
Up to 40,000 farmers will be affected by a raft of new regulations governing spraying equipment and training for those mixing chemicals for spraying
Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Farmers will be required to put all tractor-mounted and trailed sprayers through a new MOT-style testing regime and undergo spray training under new rules due in November 2016.

Up to 40,000 farmers will be affected by a raft of new regulations to be implemented as part of the Sustainable Use Directive.

The European rule also dictates that where sprayers are found to be sub-standard, the sprayers must be either decommissioned or repaired to the required standard.

Farmers will be required to undergo detailed training in the handling, application and storage of sprays under the rules.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture said that training for 'professional users' which includes farmers, crop growers, foresters and others, will consist of around 25 hours of training.

The training will teach farmers how best to handle, dilute and mix chemicals before they are applied to crops, as well as how to deal with the remnants of pesticides, disposal of tank contents and cleaning of equipment used after spraying. Sprayer operation and calibration will also be included.

The ultimate aim is to prevent pesticides being released into the environment.

Depending on the equipment farmers will be using, the training course could run over three to five days and refresher training will be required every three years or so.

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TRAINING

Under the rules, all spray distributors, such as co-ops and merchants, will have to send their staff for training in chemical use. Every distributor will need a trained member of staff available at the point of sale.

Several new courses aimed at training agricultural advisers and equipment testers are to begin in early 2014, according to the Department of Agriculture.

It remains to be seen how much the training will cost farmers but IFA tillage chairman Noel Delany has already called for it to be subsidised by the Government.

"Training for farmers should be practical and reasonable," he insisted. "There should be no need for large amounts of additional inspection."

Irish Independent