Wiltshire spray contractor, Simon Bailey, has won the ultimate accolade of Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year 2019. The prestigious competition’s finalists were rewarded at the International Sprays & Sprayers event, held in Lincolnshire.
Simon is responsible for spraying the arable cropping for Velcourt Norman Court Contracting, based at West Tytherley, on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border.
Self-contained efficiency is key when working from nine sites across a wide area, to cover 2600 hectares of cropping – including wheat, barley, oats, oilseed rape and potatoes. He primarily operates a 32-metre Sands Horizon 55, with a 5500 litre tank, along with a Horsch Lieb trailed sprayer.
It’s the first time that Simon has entered the FSOOTY awards, even though he has more than 20 years of experience, including the past 14 years with Velcourt.
One of Simon’s Top Tips, which he’s shared with other operators, is to keep a large selection of measuring jugs, so he can measure and set out each load’s products around the induction hopper in one go, double-check against the list exactly what’s going in the mix, and then add in the right order. There’s no need to wash the jugs between each product, which saves time.
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.
“This year we have seen a big increase in the adoption of digital technology for all aspects of spray application and communication. All operators could learn immensely from how it has been used.
“Syngenta recognises that the skills of the sprayer operator are paramount in achieving the full potential from all our crop protection products,” he added. “Simon has proved a worthy winner by demonstrating that best practice can deliver efficient, cost effective and, above all, safe crop spraying.”