Buyers of low cost sprayers, which are often sold online, may be delivering inaccurate applications, putting operators and the environment at risk, warns NSTS.
“We are becoming concerned about the quality of components and assembly of machines found at the cheaper end of the market,” says Ian Forman NSTS manager. “We have seen leaks, incorrectly positioned pipework and nozzles – even booms at different heights on ‘new’ machines.”
Outside of crop assurance schemes, legislation states new sprayers do not require testing until they are five years old. So if a component has not been built or fitted correctly, and hasn’t been spotted by the operator, it could be applying pesticides inaccurately for up to five years. “They can potentially cause a lot of damage so it’s important to look very carefully at what you are buying,” he warns.
Problems arise because these imported machines arrive in kit form. They are often built-up by people unfamiliar with sprayers, who have little or no idea about how machine settings influence the application and the need to prevent leaks or drips.
Ian has spotted numerous faults on ‘new’ machines that would not only cause it to fail an NSTS test, but also result in poor and inaccurate operation, which is likely to cause off-target applications.
“We have found some lower cost machines are simply not fit for purpose,” says Ian Forman. “It is necessary to have safe and accurate equipment to apply pesticides and important they do not put the operator or environment at risk.
“This why in the UK, as well as the whole of the EU, we have a testing scheme in place. It is also vital that all suppliers, whatever their size, follow the same standards as the vast majority and ensure they provide safe, high quality machines for their customers and to protect the sustainable future for plant protection productions.”
The pictures below illustrate some common problems found on new, low cost imported sprayers on sale in the UK.
Basic build check list
|Carefully check the build quality|
|Are all the components correctly fitted?|
|Check pipework for leaks|
|Check the spray pattern is not interrupted by hoses and other components|
|Is the pump capacity sufficient to meet the output?|
|Do the nozzles match the ISO standard?|
|Check flowrate of all nozzles – are they the same?|
|Is the boom straight and level forward and back?|
|Are all the controls correctly labelled?|
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