Large proportion of sprayers yet to be tested ahead of deadline

To date, approximately 3,500 pesticide sprayers have been issued with certification labels by the Department of Agriculture to registered Equipment Inspectors.

As November 26, 2016, all blast and orchard sprayers and all sprayers with a boom greater than 3m in width (older than five years) intended for immediate use must be tested and in receipt of a certification label from a Department-registered Equipment Inspector.

Equipment remaining untested on November 26, 2016 must not be used until such time as it has been tested and deemed to be fit for purpose (in receipt of a certification label from a Department-registered Equipment Inspector).

A spokesperson for the Department said that it is anticipated that a large number of sprayers will be tested over the winter period prior to spraying taking place on farms next spring.

It is estimated that there are approximately 30,000 sprayers in the country.

“As new equipment (less than five years from purchase) does not need to be inspected, a proportion of sprayers may not require immediate testing.”

Under the current regulations, the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD), new equipment will have to be tested every five years up to 2020, with that interval not to exceed three years following that, according to the Department.

Ahead of testing, sprayers must meet certain pre-test criteria and these criteria need to be signed-off on in order for the test to proceed.

The PTO must be fully guarded and the sprayer needs to be completely clean, both inside and out including filters and filter inserts.

On arrival for testing, the sprayer needs to have an adequate supply of clean water. There also needs to be an appropriate hard standing area to test the sprayer with clean water.

Furthermore, the sprayer needs to be in a safe general condition and there also needs to be acceptance to dispose of the water on-site i.e. only clean water will be exiting the machine.

A list of Department-registered Equipment Inspectors can be found on the Department’s website.