Midlands and Wales based machinery dealer Rea Valley Tractors has been recognised as a National Spreader Testing Scheme (NSTS) approved fertiliser spreader test centre. The award came after two of its specialist technicians passed a three-day examination and practical assessment.
Sitting alongside the National Sprayer Testing Scheme, the NSTS takes on board economic, environmental and compliance issues to deliver this national standard for fertiliser spreader tests. The spreader testing protocol ensures all spreaders; disc, boom and pendulum, are tested to the same exacting standard.
While the immediate impact of inaccurate spreading is financial, it can also affect conservation field margins and lead to contamination of water courses.
According to Defra’s fertiliser manual (RB209), fertiliser spreaders should be regularly maintained and serviced, replacing worn parts as necessary. To check uniformity of spread pattern, trays should be used to produce a coefficient of variation across the full width of spread.
The NSTS recognises that a coefficient of variation of more than 20 per cent will lead to visible striping in crops. And as this figure increases from 20 to 30 per cent, crop yields in wheat and oilseed rape for example, are likely to be reduced. Even if there’s no visible stripes in the crop, there’s no guarantee that fertiliser is being evenly distributed cross the desired working width.
The NSTS has been created to promote efficient use of fertilisers and to help growers achieve better yields. Additional benefits of annual testing include; the meeting of cross compliance and NVZ regulation, and ultimately delivering peace of mind that fertiliser application is correct.
For more information visit: www.reavalleytractors.com.