Sprayer testing is now a must for all farm sprayers and the deadline for testing and certification of boom sprayers greater than 3m and orchard/blast sprayers was 26th November 2016.
Only certified equipment can be used to apply professional plant protection products (PPP's) after this date. There are circa 30,000 to 40,000 tractor-mounted or trailed sprayers in the country with great variation in frequency of use, amount of products/pesticides being applied and most importantly the working condition of the sprayers.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is tasked with implementing the EU Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) 2009/128/EC in Ireland since 2012 which specifies a range of requirements to achieve greater awareness and regulation leading to a more responsible and sustainable use of pesticides.
One of the key components of SUD is the control on application equipment and the key objectives of this are as follows:
- to ensure all boom sprayers (>3m) and orchard/blast sprayers are tested and certified by 26thNovember 2016 to ensure all sub-standard sprayers are either repaired to the required standard or decommissioned
- to ensure all sub-standard sprayers are either repaired to the required standard or decommissioned
Equipment Inspectors must be appropriately trained and registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. From the 26th November 2016, all sprayers that are more than 5 years old having a boom width of >3m, and all blast and orchard sprayers must have passed a Pesticide Application Equipment Test before being used to apply professional use plant protection products. The interval between tests must not exceed 5 years up to 2020 after which the interval must not exceed 3 years.
A pesticide application equipment inspector is any person who has acquired adequate knowledge and verifies that pesticide application equipment satisfies the relevant requirements listed in Annex II of Directive 2009/128/EC, in order to achieve a high level of protection for human health and the environment.