Sponsored by Syngenta and ICL (formerly Everris), the competition winners were announced at the Amenity Forum Conference in Leicester. The awards highlight the skills and experience of spraying operatives and aim to demonstrate best practice for effective results and, above all, safe spray application in amenity situations.
Winners of the three categories judged were:
Sports and Amenity Turf using a Boom Sprayer
Andrew Kerr, West Malling Golf Club, Kent
(Runner-up - James Wright,;Leeds University, Yorkshire)
Hard and Porous Surfaces using Vehicle Mounted Equipment
Adam Bell, JSD R&D, Yorkshire
(Runner up - James Muir, K.Imrie Treecare)
Hard and Porous Surfaces or Invasive Weed Species using Hand-Held Equipment
Daniel Clarke, DTMS Group, Yorkshire
(Runner-up - Ian Haworth, S H Goss & Co., Cambridgeshire)
Winner of the amenity turf boom sprayer category Andrew Kerr, from West Malling Golf Course in Kent, was praised by the judges for incorporating new technology into his spraying operation to ensure accurate application. The whole course has been GPS mapped, coupled to GPS equipment on the sprayer to ensure only the targeted areas are sprayed, to minimise use and waste. Fitting new Syngenta XC Nozzle technology has minimised risk of drift losses and achieve better application on the target.
Already a highly experienced sprayer operator, Kerr was also praised for his ongoing commitment to education and training, including gaining BASIS Foundation Award and BIGGA Master Greenkeeper qualifications. The judges were particularly impressed by his skills in practical application techniques and his innovation to design and modify the filling site and wash-bay optimised for safety, speed and ease of working.
In the category for hard and porous surface application, winner Adam Bell, of Yorkshire-based JSD R&D Ltd, was commended for his exceptional approach to detail and utilising innovative treatment techniques. Sprayers have been fitted with the capability to adjust the boom to avoid drift, with a flow meter for chemical injection into a clean water line, and sensors for spot weed treatment.
Daniel Clarke, of the DTMS Group and winner of the application using hand held equipment award, was exemplified for the Yorkshire-company's safe dealing with chemical washings and containers, to eliminate risk of spillages, along with excellent chemical store management. Both DTMS and JSD R&D are members of the Amenity Assured scheme.
Amenity Forum chairman Professor John Moverley said: "The ASOOTY Awards has judged all aspects of amenity spraying, to identify the UK's very best operators. It is designed to share their skills and expertise across the industry.
"It has been evident that all the entrants have consistently shown outstanding skills and work to very high standards, to achieve the best possible results. The selected finalists have proved worthy winners by demonstrating that best practice can deliver efficient, cost effective and accurate amenity spraying."
Each winner received a Go Pro Hero action video camera, along with £250 of training vouchers for further CPD, from sponsors Syngenta and ICL, as well as a year's free membership of the BASIS Amenity Training Register.