AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG offers regular testing dates for field spraying.
We don't know what boredom is. Our list is long and each item has to be ticked off. Every 30 minutes, the agriculturists drive up and take the test in the hope that they will get the sticker they're longing for. This year, it is in a little green unassuming box that Frederik Liebenau only opens up if everything's OK. The worker at AGRAVIS Technik Weser-Aller GmbH is responsible for field spraying test dates in the area of the Nienburg, Germany branch office. He is on the road in spring and autumn to make a painstaking examination of the equipment.
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One of the farms he stops at with his special control vehicle is that of the forest work contractor Marion Lempfer in Rehburg, Germany. Rene Geisler describes his work this way: "We offer this service over the whole region to reach as many customers as possible." They offer 15 dates all over the work area of the Nienburg location and The manager of the branch office says the tests that have become law every three years since 2014 have become an important support for the workshop.
Practiced testing procedures
This is much more than an exercise in duty for these agriculturists. Wilhelm Thürnau from Hagenburg, Germany thinks that "we put a lot of money onto our fields with spraying. That's why our spraying has to work right". He is a regular customer at AGRAVIS Technik where he has his equipment checked on a regular basis regardless of the regulations the legislators make: "We've got it down to a routine" and the test procedure is runs smoothly. Frederik Liebenau is a skilled agricultural machinery mechanic which is why he knows the sprays from top to bottom. He still had to take an extra training course to pass the test because "the crop protectant and fertiliser should be applied as simultaneously and correctly as possible. That means the equipment has to function right". That's why we controllers should also be on top of things." In this case, "we" is Liebenau and his helpers. Together they inspect the spray and pump including manometers that regulates the pressure precisely and then they key the readings into the computer. They make the initial tests for the pump's functionality at the farm and then they go into a large hall for a more precise check. There is a tarpaulin there that looks a little like a swimming pool along with a small wagon that awaits the candidates.
The field spraying lines are between ten and 36 meters, although agriculturist Thürnau's are as much as 27 meters. He has to have a fine feeling for positioning the unfolding equipment right above the tarp along with its tractor. Liebenau says "the idea is to act as if we were on the field" You don't have to say that to Wilhelm Thürnau twice. He calls himself the precision geek. He aligns everything and then critically eyes up the subsequent procedure. Clear water flows out of the spray onto the tarp and scanner wagen. The first run-through measures the water hardness and the second the cross-distribution of the liquid. The scanner wagon knows ahead of time how wide the spray is and how many measuring points it has to approach and it delivers its data to the computer directly. Afterwards, the testers can see in a diagram which jet is not functioning right because it immediately pinpoints outliers. The jet performance may not deviate from one another by more than ten percent. There are some problems from poor cleaning, incorrectly storing the spray in the winter months, soiling or defective or worn jets.
Sprays are important building blocks
Thürnau puts it this way: "This appointment is important to me for self-regulation because the more precise I work, the better that is in financial terms". He is on his fields from April to November, his own 50 hectares of land and those of his customers and he puts great efforts into offering "reasonable plant protection". One important building block is an intact and controlled spray. After evaluating all of the data and facts, Frederik Liebenau doesn't see any reason to complain. He opens his little treasure box while Thürnau manoeuvres his tractor and spray out of the hall. The last thing missing is the award for passing the test.
You can find the current appointments for testing field spraying at all of the work areas here.