Inspections of plant protection equipment in use aim to point out and remedy deficiencies caused by wear and tear plus ageing which would otherwise be detrimental to dosing and distributing precision. This realization has led in Germany to first voluntary inspections of field crop sprayers already at the end of the 1960s.
It has proved successful until today to have these inspections conducted by officially approved inspection workshops. These are usually private or cooperative farming machine workshops, which undertake to conduct the inspections according to official requirements and regulations. A considerable advantage of these approved inspection workshops is that any deficiencies discovered can be remedied on the spot and within the scope of the inspection. As proof of successful inspection, a sticker is attached to the equipment.
To ensure that the conduction of these inspections is as uniform as possible in all federal states of Germany and that the technical quality is equally good, a working group "inspection of plant protection equipment" consisting of federal and federal states governments has been established. The Institute for Application Techniques in Plant Protection of the Julius Kühn Institute is in charge of this working group. This working group consists of experts from the federal states. They determine uniform German regulations and standards for the organizational and technical conduction of equipment inspection. A large part of these regulations is reflected in the Guidelines of the JKI.
In July 1993, inspections for field crop sprayers became compulsory. The official inspection of sprayers for tall growing crops became compulsory in May 2002. With the entry in force of the regulation on plant protection equipment, which is the national implementation of the European directive on the sustainable use of plant protection products (EU Directive 2009/128/EC), all plant protection equipment must be inspected. They had to be inspected successfully at least once by the end of 2016.
Owners of plant protection equipment in Europe are obliged to have their equipment inspected in a triannual interval. Equipment without a valid inspection sticker must not be used.
The SPISE group (Standardized Procedure for the Inspection of Sprayers in Europe) is working on further steps for the harmonisation and mutual acceptance of equipment inspection.
The Member States of the EU can make exceptional rules at national level (EU Directive 2009/128/EC, Article 8 (3)) if the validation of risks to human health and the environment allows the exception. These exceptions can release certain equipment from the obligation of inspection, extend the interval of inspection or delay the date for the first inspection. In Germany theses exceptions are defined in the regulation on plant protection equipment.
Cord F. Ladiges