Beds operator wins top National Farm Sprayer Award

Bedfordshire farm sprayer operator, Matt Fuller, has won the ultimate accolade of Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year 2020. The prestigious competition’s winner was announced by NFU Vice-President, Tom Bradshaw, at the virtual Sprays & Sprayers event, held on-line as part of Cereals LIVE 2020.

Matt Fuller is responsible for spraying the arable cropping for Heathcote Farms in Toddington, Bedfordshire, where he is now the main sprayer operator.

Since finishing university and joining the farm, four years ago, Matt has taken his BASIS qualification, where the use of Capstan Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), became the subject of his study project. He’s since put that into great practice, as one of the first in the UK to be equipped with the PWM system on his 4,000 litre, Bateman RB35, with 32 metre wide VG boom.

“We saw the main benefits in investing in PWM is the improved accuracy from individual nozzle control, as well as the turn compensation to maintain consistent application rates,” he said. It’s the first time that he has entered the FSOOTY awards, which says he did to further his education and application knowledge.

“I’ve only been spraying for five years, but in that time I have seen big changes,” he reported “I feel it’s so important to keep up to date with training – anything that increases my knowledge is worthwhile.”

A host of practical tips and ideas for safe and effective spraying from Matt and the other FSOOTY finalists can be viewed here.

Presenting the 2020 FSOOTY Award, NFU Vice-President, Tom Bradshaw, said: “We at the NFU are delighted to be involved in announcing the winner of the Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year.

“In our plant health strategy we are looking at healthy plants; healthy food; healthy people and a healthy planet. The products we use are absolutely vital in delivering affordable food for society.

“We know there is going to be ever closer scrutiny in the way that we use products available to us. It’s critical we can demonstrate professionalism right the way through the industry. But it is also critical that we look after the environment at the same time.

“That’s why FSOOTY is such a great opportunity for operators to demonstrate the way that they maximise efficacy; the way they look after the environment and why they should be the Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year. Our congratulations to Matt Fuller in his achievement.”

Syngenta Application Specialist, Scott Cockburn, added: “The FSOOTY Awards judge all aspects of farm spraying to identify the very best operators across the UK, and to share their understanding and expertise.

“This year, judging the contestants by Zoom interviews and questioning, we have been hugely impressed by their knowledge and passion the job entails. Delving into the details, has revealed their professional approach to every application.

“Syngenta recognises that the skills of the sprayer operator are paramount in achieving the full potential from all our crop protection products,” he added. “Matt has proved a worthy winner by demonstrating that best practice can deliver efficient, cost effective and, above all, safe crop spraying.”

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