Correctly calibrating liquid spray applications is a keystone of effective spraying.

Doing it right, whether weeding or feeding, is critical to ensure operators deliver concentrations appropriate for the task in hand.

Giving grounds care operators and managers the benefit of his considerable experience and knowledge in July was training company boss Martin Sampson, who revealed the secrets of correct calibration.

Approved by leading industry awarding body Lantra, Martin Sampson heads up Grounds Training at a time of soaring demand for spraying qualifications.

“Estate managers, local authorities, schools, colleges and companies are more aware of the importance of training now,” he said. “If you are spraying, qualifications such as PA1 and PA6 are legal requirements but increasingly we’re seeing organisations wanting to upskill staff to give them the flexibility to spray in-house, instead of using contractors.”

Martin’s 45-minute fast-track presentation was “a slice through how to calibrate, why we need it, what can go wrong if we don’t calibrate regularly and the importance of well-maintained kit”.

Jointly presenting with colleague Geraint Jenkins, Martin also covered the correct choice of sprayer nozzles and revealed his own method of turning calibration from a maths puzzle to just 20 minutes’ work.

Grounds Training delivers a full suite of Lantra-approved grounds and sports turf management qualifications as well as Lantra customised provision courses that cover line marking, natural and synthetic turf maintenance and maintenance and management of wildflower meadows, ponds and wetlands.

On knapsack training modules, Martin also focused on ergonomic aspects of spraying to reduce operator body stresses and strains – using a Berthoud Vermorel Pro Comfort 2000 demo unit.

“From a training aspect, the sprayer is simple to use and to explain various points about spraying, which include operator comfort. The Vermorel’s back frame and straps distribute the weight of the knapsack and contents in a way that balances the forces on the body. The extendable lance is also helpful for illustrating how to spray safely near water; an increasingly popular course.”

Berthoud knapsack sprayers are a brand within the Hozelock-Exel suite of professional sprayers that also includes Cooper Pegler and Laser Industrie.

Martin Sampson ©Jake Hilder

This story was taken from the latest issue of Vineyard. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports for winemakers and growers in Great Britain, read our latest issue here and subscribe here