“Feedback so far from the state judging panels is that the quality of these second round finalists is very high,” said Syngenta’s Garth Wickson, who is lead judge.
“At least one of these contenders was a state finalist last year and the judges have seen a significant improvement in their operation. This is great news, because one of the key aims of the SPRAY Awards is to help continue to improve industry standards, and it seems to be working.”
Garth said this year’s entrants have come from across the spectrum of sprayers, from new contractors just starting out to really experienced and skilled sprayers.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of aerial sprayers entering this year, which we’re very happy about, because good spraying practice is important across the industry, no matter how products are applied.”
As in previous years, the judging panel is looking for operators who properly manage the risk of spray drift, have proper equipment set up, follow best practice record keeping procedures and always have safety in mind.
“We’re looking at all aspects of a spraying operation. The best applicators are focused on quality, so they’re careful with drift management, they pay attention to the weather, they use the right nozzles.”
2010 SPRAY Awards winner, Doug Clark, recently returned from his overseas trip and said entering the SPRAY Awards is an invaluable experience.
“Anyone that has even half thought about it should definitely enter the SPRAY Awards. Even if you don’t win it, you might be lucky enough to get an on-farm visit and then the amount of information you can gain on how to improve your operation and apply the product is worth its weight in gold. There are always savings to be made and they can help put money back in your pocket,” said Doug.
“We plan on entering the Awards every second year just to get the feedback on how we’re going and where we can improve. There’s no other way we can benchmark ourselves in the industry – the SPRAY Awards is the only way to get that feedback and it’s simply invaluable.”
State winners will be announced soon, with final judging to be completed in early August by a panel including Garth, Rural Press science and technology writer Matt Cawood, Associate Professor John Kent from the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences at Charles Sturt University, and Dr Andrew Hewitt, Director of the University of Queensland Centre for Pesticide Application and Safety.
The 2011 SPRAY Award winner will be announced during AgQuip at Gunnedah in August.
Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with more than 26,000 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.
Caption: 2010 SPRAY Awards national winner, Doug Clark, is visited by Syngenta's Trevor Stebbings last year