Sprayers to get NCT-style test in new regime
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.