Award-winning grower's new equipment sees huge cut in spray volumes

Bransford Webbs' new spray equipment is now fully operational at the company's site in Worcester, following twelve months of planning, construction and trials.

New spray equipment in action. Image: Bransford Webbs
New spray equipment in action. Image: Bransford Webbs

The equipment - consisting of two mobile booms, both height and width adjustable, and variable nozzle heads -has been fully calibrated for optimum spray coverage using minimum volume.

The project began in autumn 2014 and was overseen by propagation manager Karl O'Neill, along with Team Sprayers, Cambridgeshire. The main objective was to reduce the amount of pesticide and fungicide used per hectare while improving spray coverage.

It was also important to reduce the physical demands of applying chemicals for the spray operators, including reducing the risk of repetitive strain injury, and cutting the amount of time they spent spraying.

This equipment has been designed for use primarily in the 25000sqm of glasshouse at Bransford Webbs, but could be used in new tunnel areas that are currently under construction. The equipment was delivered in autumn 2015 and has been fully operational since the beginning of the year, with the aim for all spray operators to being fully trained by the end of the February. Following several weeks of trials, the equipment is already meeting its objectives.

"The biggest benefit of the new spraying equipment so far is the reduction in litres of pesticides used," O'Neill said.

"We have already seen a reduction of 75 per cent whilst achieving a more even and consistent coverage. Improved coverage is achieved due to controlled application and finer droplets being sprayed. This not only has positive environmental impact and is beneficial to our spray operators, but also should present a cost saving on both pesticides and labour costs. We are optimistic litres per hectare can be reduced even further."

Earlier this month Bransford Webbs took the award for Nursery Stock Grower of the Year and overall Ornamentals Grower of the Year at the UK Grower Awards.  It followed this double win with another when it took the Retail Hardy Nursery Stock Supplier of the Year award at the Garden Retail & Garden Industry Awards.  

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