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ATV & Amenity

NSTS Sprayer testing


The NSTS testing service is available through Acare. The object of the scheme is to ensure a continuous standard of SAFE and ACCURATE chemical, granule, slug pellet and fertiliser application. Tests can be carried out either on your own farm or here at our Walsingham premises by our NSTS trained engineers. Please read a little more about the scheme below (Courtesy NSTS) or have a look at the NSTS website.

Sprayer and pellet spreader testing

Who does the test?

The test will be undertaken by a "test centre", of which Acare Services is one of course, and is conducted by a trained examiner who holds a valid NPTC level 3 Certificate of Competence.

Fertiliser spreader calibration

Why is a testing scheme needed?

Over the last five years the AEA has run a sprayer testing scheme to meet various requirements, including assurance schemes, processor/retailer production protocols as well as satisfying the desire of many operators to verify the accuracy and overall fitness of their pesticide application requirement. Experience showed that more than half the sprayers tested required repairs or adjustment to achieve the required standard.

Therefore, under The Voluntary Initiative*, a commitment was made by the agricultural, horticultural and amenity industries to extend sprayer testing to cover the majority of field sprayers operating in the UK. As a consequence the AEA and the farming unions, together with other key stakeholders, have developed and introduced the National Sprayer Testing Scheme (NSTS) - a new independently validated, low cost annual, testing scheme to meet this need.


The Voluntary Initiative is a programme of measures, agreed by Government, to minimise the environmental impacts of pesticides - What are the benefits?

There are two main benefits:

Firstly, it ensures maximum efficiency of your sprayer, reduces costly downtime, aids traceability and increases second hand value. The cost of replacing worn jets that deliver only 5% more than the recommended rate is readily recovered in agrochemical savings and improved efficacy resulting from better and more consistent spray quality.

Secondly, a valid certificate provides evidence to your clients, crop assurance organisations and the general public of your commitment to keep your machines in sound, well-serviced condition.


Can the test be done on my own farm?

Yes - provided you dispose of any wastewater under the terms of the Groundwater Regulations.


What does the test cover?

The test covers:

Delivery system - tanks and lids, pump, spray controls, pipe work and hoses
Application system - pressure gauges, spray lines, nozzle bodies, check valves, spray caps and tips, booms and suspension
Ancillaries - rinsing and tank wash systems, recirculation systems, and chemical induction systems.


Can all types of application equipment be tested be tested?

Yes - although primarily aimed at hydraulic field sprayers most application equipment can be included in the scheme including granular applicators. The scheme is also open to equipment used in the amenity, public health and industrial sectors.



Is a test a legal requirement under FEP?

No - however, since the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 is enabling legislation, the requirements for sprayer tests could quite easily be introduced. Statutory sprayer testing is common in other European countries.


Are the test results published?

No - the confidentiality of all information, including test results, is protected under the Data Protection Act.


Who administers the register?

The Schemes Management Board is drawn from representatives from application technology, contracting, training and users together with representatives from Government and environmental organisations. The AEA administers the scheme on their behalf.


What does it cost?

Test charges vary according to the size and complexity of the sprayer. The cost of the test can be recouped in a few hectares. E.g. In winter wheat under 30ha. For further information please don't hesitate to contact us.