Amenity Sprayer Operator of the Year 2024 Announced
JCB’s Dan Waring announced as Amenity Sprayer Operator of the Year 2023 Professional spray tech, Dan Waring, has won the prestigious title of Amenity Sprayer Operator of the Year (ASOOTY). Managing all the turf and amenity spraying at the JCB Golf and Country Club in Uttoxeter, he was praised for his meticulous attention to detail and adoption of new technologies to assure accurate application. Dan’s ASOOTY award presentation was made as part of the glittering BIGGA industry awards at BTME in Harrogate this week (23 January 2024), along with the competition’s other finalists, Conrad Cavill of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon and Bryan Ramsey of Complete Weed Control, Scotland South East. The ASOOTY awards highlight best practice and experience in the challenging role of ensuring accurate application on all amenity surfaces. Sponsored by ICL and Syngenta and managed by the Amenity Forum, the awards seek to share top tips and advice that will raise the standards of spray application across the amenity industry. Having worked for six years at JCB Golf, Dan has been the full-time spray tech for the past three seasons. One of the keys to his success has been continuous professional development, including a year in the US on the Ohio State programme with an intensive focus on application skills. He also regularly completes on-line sprayer training courses and tailoring the latest spraying technology and innovations from the agricultural sector to be adopted for amenity application. Working closely with course manager, Callum Wark, Dan’s role has been integral in using accurate application to deliver a full spectrum of conventional and biological plant protection products and nutrition, designed for a successful Integrated Turf Management approach to overall plant health and turf quality. “I would urge all sprayer operators to undertake as much training as possible, to gain more knowledge on the products being used and the application technology,” he advocated. “That will enable people to be more confident in what they are doing, and give the spray tech’s role the credit it deserves.” One of his top tips would be to lay out all the products required for the following day’s spraying, in the order they will be mixed, before leaving - so they can be methodically checked again and then added to the tank quickly and efficiently. He will also half fill the tank with clean water and pressure test for any visual leaks, before adding any chemical. Presenting the award at BTME, Ian Graham, Chairman of the Amenity Forum, said: “The skills required to competently apply professional plant protection products are often overlooked. Along with the formal training and accreditation process, there is the experience that takes years to acquire. “Winners of this award have elevated the application process to an art, be that with a knapsack or a boom sprayer, to help maintain the amazing playing surfaces that sport has become used to enjoying all year round,” he added. “The Amenity Forum is delighted to work with ICL and Syngenta as the sponsors of this award and would like to congratulate Dan for upholding the highest of professional standards.” ICL Landscape & Industrial Business Development Manager, Lewis Blois, added: “We are delighted to support such an important cross-sector industry initiative with a continued commitment to raise standards and improve results. “Importantly it has identified and recognised the range of spray application techniques and the differing skills involved across the amenity sector. It will provide a unique and vitally important resource for all involved in spray application.” Sean Loakes, Syngenta Technical Manager, advocated the awards reflect the importance of an Integrated Turf Management (ITM) approach to responsible and sustainable turf and landscape maintenance. “The skills of sprayer operators to make efficient, effective and above all safe applications are essential for the future sustainability of the amenity and turf care industry,” he advised. “The ASOOTY awards are a welcome way to recognise and reward the leading individuals and for everyone to learn from their experience.” Look out on the Amenity Forum website for more details and entry form for the launch of next year’s ASOOTY and your chance to win.