The UFU holds a high level of concern having received a number of reports from members who have completed training courses on pesticide application that fall short of the current sprayer operator regulations.
With the grandfather rights exemption in Northern Ireland now gone, anyone who wants to use plant protection products must have an approved certificate of competence. In Northern Ireland, that ‘assessment’ must be completed by someone approved either by City & Guilds or Lantra.
Training to apply pesticides using a boom sprayer (PA1 and PA2) normally takes up to 12 hours, with a subsequent assessment done independent of the training taking two and a half to three and a half hours.
UFU members have suggested to UFU President Ian Marshall that they have attended events and have been able to get all the training and assessment squeezed into one night at a cost in the region of £150-£180.
UFU intelligence would now suggest that farmers have now availed of such training, delivering no competence assessment procedure resulting in them failing to meet the requirements of the UK National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (Plant Protection Products) February 2013.
The UFU advise all members and participants interested in such qualifying training to ask their trainer for proof that any service or product meets the requirements of UK National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (Plant Protection Products) February 2013 before handing over money.