Now in their third year, the SPRAY Awards attract entries from a wide variety of spray applicators, according to chief judge, Garth Wickson.
“Regardless of whether you farm big or small, you’re spraying for yourself or someone else or whether you’re a groundrigger or aerial sprayer, the SPRAY Awards are for you,” he said. “The one thing all entrants tend to have in common is a commitment to excellence. Growers and applicators embracing best practice strategies achieve more consistent results and are discovering they can safely and effectively spray under a wide range of conditions, giving them far greater flexibility.”
As in previous years, the SPRAY Awards judges will look for growers and applicators embracing best practice strategies regardless of the size of their operation or the methods they use to spray.
“Planning and record keeping will be important as well as good knowledge of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles, risk management, OH&S and application technology,” said Garth. “Entries in previous years have been of an exceptionally high standard and we encourage previous entrants to enter again. We’ll be looking to see how they have improved since their last entry.”
In addition, judges are hoping to see more entries from aerial sprayers this year.
“With a huge increase in the amount of cotton planted this season we anticipate that there will be more aerial cotton spraying going on, for example,” said Garth. “Aerial spraying brings its own challenges and benefits but, whether you’re spraying on the ground or in the air, it’s still essential to do it sustainably, productively and responsibly. It would be great to see more aerial sprayers entering the awards.”
Entering is a simple matter of filling out the official entry form in selected Rural Press publications or downloading an entry from www.syngenta.com.au.
Once the judges have reviewed the submissions, they will conduct on-farm visits with the finalists in each state to see their operation in action. State winners will be chosen and these winners will be finalists in the overall competition. The winner will be announced at a special event during AgQuip in Gunnedah, New South Wales, in August.
The winner of the SPRAY Awards will receive a study trip to the UK valued at $15,000 to help increase their knowledge and allow them to share experiences with global experts.
Tasmanian farmer and professional spray applicator, Doug Clark, was the 2010 winner. Due to embark on his study tour later this year, Doug said he is looking forward to the trip.
“It’s so exciting to win an award like this – it gives you a real buzz to have that tick of approval and to know what you’ve been doing for your customers is spot on. Our focus on the little details was one of the reasons we won this award and it’s nice to know our efforts have paid off.
“I’m looking forward to going overseas and seeing the Syngenta facilities and learning more from others about application and working with seed crops.”
Inaugural winner, Darren Schreurs, impressed the judges with his application techniques, record keeping and storage practices. His study tour included visits to UK farms.
“The study tour was an amazing experience,” said Darren. “It’s always fascinating to see what other people are doing, learn from their experiences and see if there are any ideas we can take back. The trip was a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of the safety procedures we follow.
“To be recognised with the SPRAY Award felt like a real pat on the back for me personally – a reassurance that I am on the right track with my spraying.”
Entries for the 2011 SPRAY Awards are open from 27th January until 21st March 2011.
Click here for more information and to download the application form.
Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with more than 25,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to the purpose of Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to customers, Syngenta helps to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life. For more information visit www.syngenta.com.au.