One of the key elements of the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) is that all farm sprayers must be tested and certified.

According to Teagasc, a properly functioning sprayer is essential to get the best response from plant protection products (PPPs) and to protect the environment.

Following the introduction of the SUD, all boom sprayers wider than 3m needed to be tested by November 26, 2016 and the test was valid for five years.

As a consequence, there are a large number of sprayers that need to be tested ahead of the 2022 season.

Testing of sprayers

A farmer can find out when the test is due by looking at the sticker placed on the sprayer at the time of initial test.

The interval between inspections shall not exceed five years until 2020 and shall not exceed three years thereafter.

Tests completed before January 1, 2020 will be valid for a maximum of five years and will expire, at the latest, by January 1, 2023.

Tests completed after January 1, 2020 will be valid for a maximum of three years.

The date (i.e. day and month) of re-testing will be the same day and month as the previous test with the exception of those completed in 2018 and 2019, all of which must be retested by January 1, 2023.

Teagasc also points out that most sprayers in good condition should pass the test with adequate preparation. 

Testing process

The testing process involves a thorough examination of the important features of the sprayer to verify the safe and correct application of PPP’s including the PTO guard, pump and pressure gauge.  

Results are compiled in a test report. Any recommendations for maintenance and or repairs must be made on the basis of these results.  

The results are logged with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). A copy of the test report is issued to the owner. 

Presenting the sprayer properly is the most efficient way to advance towards a successful test outcome. 

It is imperative that the sprayer is attached to the tractor and the power take-off (PTO) is fully guarded.

The sprayer must be completely clean, both inside and outside. It should also be filled with clean water, in order that the test can be carried out. Finally, the sprayer must be presented in an overall safe condition.

If possible, the owner of the sprayer should be be present for the inspection with the tester to operate the controls and make decisions regarding repairs/maintenance if required. 

A properly working sprayer ensures no leaking of products and even application on to targeted crops.