Facebook helps operator and neighbours stay friends
This is the third year Mark Turner has made the finals. An enthusiastic operator, he not only takes pride in his work, but also works hard to keep neighbours informed and reassured about applications close to them.
Mark is responsible for all applications on 900ha of arable crops and vining peas at Rise Farms, Hull, East Yorkshire, where he currently operates a Bateman RB35 with 30m wide booms. This is, however, being replaced with the same again, with the new one equipped with auto-boom levelling and tank filling.
Mark is concerned about the public’s perception of spraying. “We must not give anybody the opportunity to criticise our operations. We need support, it’s a big enough challenge already – don’t give them any ammunition,” he advises.
To this end Mark has created a closed Facebook group to inform residents close to the fields about operations. “We have some fields backing onto properties, so I have encouraged the residents to join. When I know I will be spraying near them I put an announcement on the page. This way I can let them know what we are doing,” he explains.
As well as making many small modifications to the sprayer and other things to make his life easier, Mark also makes good use of ‘phone Apps. As well as various weather and rain alarms, he also has one from Michelin, which he uses with a manual gauge to make sure the tyres are always at the right pressure for the load.
When Mark is washing out, he inspects the boom and looks at all the nozzles and spraylines to check for any problems. If he spots something he uses a Tippex-like pen to mark it, so he can go back and rectify the fault when the boom is switched off. He then switches the boom back on to ensure he’s fixed the problem.
He has also made his own removal spanner for the large filter on his Bateman sprayer, which he says can be difficult to undo by hand.