FARMERS and contractors are being reminded of new pesticide regulations which are being implemented as a result of the European Union Sustainable Use Regulations directive.
Under the changes, “grandfather rights” will be removed from sprayer operators and sprayers will face compulsory testing.
David White, farming consultant and independent agronomist in Strutt & Parker’s Morpeth office, said: “Crop sprayer operators who use pesticides on either their own land or their employer’s land can do so without holding a recognised certificate of competence provided they were born before December 31 1964. This is commonly known as ‘grandfather rights’.
“However, this exemption will be removed in 2015. It is not yet clear if certificates will be issued to these operators based on their experience and skills gained over their many years of work or whether they will be required to complete a full training and assessment programme.”
Crop spraying equipment used on farm assured holdings is currently tested annually through the National Sprayer Testing Scheme but this regular testing will now become mandatory.
Mr White said: “All crop sprayers will need to be tested before November 26 2016 and thereafter at regular intervals, initially once every five years and then once every three years after 2020.”