At Trecoop Fruites, we inspect our farmers’ sprayers and herbicide-application equipment every winter. As of this year, we also inspect non-portable application equipment for phytosanitary products at our facilities, including drenchers and in-line fungicide application equipment. TIAF is the company that performs these checks at our facilities.
According to Royal Decree 1702 of 18 November 2011, application equipment for phytosanitary products must be inspected periodically in order to make sure it works correctly and is safe to use. From 2020 onwards, these inspections must be performed every three years. The only equipment items exempt from this requirement are backpack sprayers and hand-pulled sprayers with tanks of less than 100 litres.
Before inspection can be carried out, the equipment must be registered in the Official Register of Agricultural Machinery (ROMA) by farmers with the help of Trecoop’s technicians.
Why is it important for application equipment to be in good condition?
Sprayers and herbicide-application equipment that works correctly help us ensure the safety of the people responsible for applying phytosanitary products. Moreover, applying these products correctly and evenly is the best way to treat the pests and diseases in question, and is also the best way to minimize product wastage and any environmental contamination.
What happens during the inspection?
The inspections performed by TIAF on our behalf chiefly focus on safety equipment, tanks (closing mechanisms, leakage, level indicators, etc.), pumps, safety valves, tubes, filters (presence and condition) and nozzles (flow rate and uniformity, anti-drip system). They also check the machinery itself (leakage, loss of pressure, manometer, etc.).
After the first inspection and, provided the outcome is positive, a sticker like the one shown here is attached to the equipment in question. If the outcome is not positive, the problems are addressed and a second inspection is performed a few days later.
The most common problems can usually be solved by the farmer changing the nozzle or the manometer. The inspectors sometimes find that application conditions can deviate from technical recommendations on pressure, tractor speed during application and volume of product per hectare.
The Technical Department at Trecoop Fruites also has a manometer calibrator and water-sensitive paper strips, which allow us to perform technical assessments outside the external inspection period if any of our farmers want to make sure they are applying their phytosanitary products correctly. On a given parcel of land, it is necessary to check that the product is being applied evenly throughout, in accordance with the height, vigour and leaf area of each tree, and that the droplets are of the correct diameter. These measures enable us to adjust working conditions as necessary and achieve better pest and/or disease control.
Xavi Escario and Carmen Colom
Technical Department, Trecoop Fruites