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Experienced operator embraces technology

FSOOTY 2019 finalist Mark Jelley

FSOOTY 2019 Finalist Mark Jelley – Courteenhall Farm, Northampton

Mark Jelley, who works at Courteenhall Farm, Northampton, reached the FSOOTY final on his first attempt. Although he has been operating a sprayer for more than 30 years, he says his enthusiasm for the job has never waned and he is keen to embrace technology and learn more.

Mark’s workload covers winter wheat, oilseed rape, spring barley and oats as well as sugar beet on the 800ha farm plus another 500ha of contracting.

“I entered FSOOTY this year because I thought we have a pretty good set-up with great technology and I was interested to see if I am doing it all OK and to hopefully learn more. I did not win, but I will definitely enter again, it’s a fantastic learning experience. Actually I feel like a winner – just to reach the finals,” he says.

Mark operates a 5,000 litre Horsch Leeb PT330, with 36m variable geometry boom with auto-height control. This mid-mounted cab model is the only one in the UK, bought specifically for its height and track-width adjustment, which can go out to 3m, so it can fit into the farm’s controlled traffic system.

“It’s a wonderful machine, it really is. We use 25cm nozzle spacings, which I think has improved the blackgrass control at 200 litres/ha using normal flat fans, angled forwards and back. In the 25cm spacing there’s another flat fan.

“This, hopefully, provides coverage from forwards, backwards and straight down. I think is a great example of how we can use technology to help improve our applications,” he explains.

Another top tip, he suggests, is to keep a record of washouts – noting the date, the reason for the wash, whether he used water or All Clear along with the location. He also keeps spray stock records on a spreadsheet on his ‘phone, which he updates as and when it is used. A paper record sheet is also kept in the mess room, where it can be found in case of an emergency.

FSOOTY finlalist Mark Jelley

Next week we’ll be featuring FSOOTY finalist, Nick Light.

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