Devizes arable farm manager, Andrew Woolley, has won the ultimate accolade of Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year 2018. The prestigious competition’s finalists were rewarded at the International Sprays & Sprayers, held in Duxford this week .
Andrew is responsible for spraying the arable cropping for the Wiltshire farming business of Puckshipton Farms, Marden, including wheat, barley and oilseed rape. He operates a 24-metre mounted Lemken sprayer, with front and rear mounted combination tanks to give a balanced unit with 3000 litre capacity.
Although he has been spraying for more than 35 years, Andrew is always keen to learn new things and look into the latest technology and techniques.
Andrew never stops coming up with new ideas to help improve efficacy and efficiency, such as mounting water sensitive paper on fencing stakes to assess how the spray is penetrating the crop, and adjusting his techniques to get desired results.
He also now uses two white boards to monitor his spray stock, one in store and a portable one so he can cross products off as they are used up. This is also kept outside the store, in a safe place, in case of emergencies, such as a fire.
Presenting the Awards, Syngenta application specialist, Scott Cockburn, said: “The FSOOTY Awards judge all aspects of farm spraying to identify the very best operators across the UK, and to share their understanding and expertise.
“Having been finalist on two previous occasions, Andrew has demonstrated consistently outstanding skills and ability to constantly improve. He works to very high standards to achieve the best possible results. He has proved a worthy winner by demonstrating that best practice can deliver efficient, cost effective and, above all, safe crop spraying.
“Syngenta recognises that the skills of the sprayer operator are paramount in achieving the full potential from all our crop protection products,” he added.