South Norfolk farmer wins top sprayer award

Barry Garner, regional top sprayer operator

Barry Garner, regional top sprayer operator - Credit: submitted

South Norfolk farmer Barry Garner has won a top sprayer operator award.

The all-arable farmer, who grows wheat, barley and beans, is a former semi-finalist in the Syngenta farm spray operator of the year. He went one better and qualified for the final, which involved answering 95 questions from a panel of judges, who spent almost three hours on his farm.

Mr Garner, of Shrubbery Farm, Carleton Rode, was presented with his award as a regional winner at the recent Cereals 2013 event. He was very pleased to win because he only sprays crops on his farm using a Team sprayer, designed and manufactured in Ely.

He entered the competition, which is now in its 30th years, partly to test his knowledge and for some fun. 'I've been doing it for years,' he added.

'Every other operator in the finals has massive machinery and usually cover thousands of acres. I can't remember that last time someone farming 275 acres got in the finals. I don't do any contracting.' However, even on a heavy land farm, his crops could benefit from some rain. 'I think that Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgshire have provably come out better than anyone in the county. We originate from north Essex, and even in that part of the world, it is terrible.

He has been farming in the county since 1971 and is helped by his wife, Alison, when it comes to harvest.

The judges were also particularly impressed by Mr Garner's skills in practical application techniques and adoption of new technology, as well as his continuous striving to improve through involvement in the NRoSo scheme.

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Syngent'a David Wilson said: 'The FSOOTY Awards judges all aspects of farm spraying to identify the very best operators across the UK, and to share their skills has consistently shown outstanding skills and works to very high standards, to achieve the best possible results.

He has proved a worthy winner by demonstrating that best practice can deliver efficient, cost effective and, above all, safe crop spraying.

'Syngenta recognises that the skills of the sprayer operator are paramount in achieving the potential from all our crop protection products,' he added.

'Barry has consistently shown outstanding skills and works to very high standards to achieve the best results,' said Mr Wilson.

n The overall winner was George Sargent, of J G Fisher Ltd, of Hatcliffe, Grimsby. Another regional winner was Jonathan Cross, of J H Kemball & Son, Wantisden Hall Farms, Woodbridge.