Luke Haynes, who works at Stevens Farm (Hawkhurst), near Cranbrook, Kent is the Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year 2021.
He operates a 5,000-litre Rogator 645 with 30m Pommier boom and is responsible for spraying 1,150ha of crops including wheat, oats, oilseed rape and beans. The farm also grows 125ha of apples, but these are not part of his workload.
Syngenta application specialist and FSOOTY judge, Scott Cockburn says Luke stood out for his appreciation of how his role and spraying activities integrate into the farm’s overall agronomy, decision making and strategy. “It really emphasised the vitally important part that the sprayer operator plays in ensuring the business meets its productivity and efficiency goals.”
It’s the second year running that Luke, who is BASIS and FACTS qualified, has made the FSOOTY final. Since last time, however, he has changed jobs and model of sprayer.
“I was looking to progress and changed jobs last year because I wanted a new challenge,” he says. “I was interested in this job because it presented the opportunity to learn more about conservation agriculture,” he explains.
“Along with other technology, the Fendt is equipped with the OptiNozzle quad system to maintain droplet sizes relative to speed. “It works well. My go-to nozzle is the Syngenta 3D – I fit an 02, 03 and 035 and the system switches between these to keep the correct droplet size. It doesn’t do curve control, but I think Fendt is working on that,” he says.
Presented at the Sprays & Sprayers event in Lincolnshire this on Wednesday 30th June, as part of Cereals 2021, FSOOTY honours top operators for their skills and awareness of safe and efficient operations.
Presenting the award, Phil Jarvis, Chair of the Voluntary Initiative said: “Farmers’ landscape management is entering an exciting and challenging period, where food production and environmental protection will take on an increasingly important role in society.
“FSOOTY is a perfect example of the projects VI support to encourage more collaboration and promote practices that ensure both food production and caring for the environment go hand in hand and prosper. Our congratulations to Luke Haynes and all the finalists.”
Luke Hayne’s top tip
Planning is key to increasing output and timely applications. Plan your work with agronomists to make the most of every spraying opportunity – look for ways to reduce road travel, wash-outs, nozzle changes and filter cleanouts. Make sure you have everything you need for a day’s spraying in the right place – in the store and on the machine.