In the dynamic world of strawberry growing, farmers face numerous challenges when it comes to meeting the stringent requirements of chemical spraying programs.

Given the unique nature of strawberry plants, achieving 100% chemical coverage remains a constant struggle. Traditional spray booms have proved impractical due to the height and shape of the plants.

For Karl and Mandy Avison at Cedarbarn Farm Shop in Pickering, North Yorkshire, a similar story unfolded on their 8-acre soft fruit farm. “Our challenge was to accurately spray the entire strawberry plants,” explains Karl. “With a herbicide program repeated every 10 days, we needed a system that could be quickly set up during favourable weather. Our old system could only spray one row at a time, and because the sprayer was mounted on a 3-point linkage, it made it difficult to navigate uneven ground. Additionally, the flat bar spray resulted in poor penetration of the spray into the plants.”

UK compact sprayer manufacturer Martin Lishman Ltd has embraced industry changes and stringent customer requirements to drive the development of their sprayer range. When Karl approached them to help design a bespoke strawberry plant spraying system, they were more than happy to get involved.

“Customisation is something that seems to have been lost in today’s mass-produced world,” explains Joel Capper, Managing Director of Martin Lishman Ltd. “While there are some amazing sprayers on the market today, customers sometimes require something that doesn’t exist. Our entire sprayer range is designed to be easily adaptable to meet user requirements like Karl and Mandy‚Äôs.”

This radical sprayer design is based on the Martin Lishman 250-litre Trailed Midi-Spray. The two-section, height-adjustable folding boom is a one-of-a-kind build specifically shaped to fit around two rows of strawberry plants. It features a unique nozzle placement that guarantees a high-precision application of chemicals to the plants.

“The trailed design makes it more versatile for future vehicles, and you can connect it up quicker if the tractor is switching jobs,” adds Karl. “The new sprayer is very easy to use, and the controls are easily accessible, which is very important. The independent Honda Motor also helps speed up preparation time. The new boom means we can now cover two rows of strawberry plants at a time, which saves time, and the penetration of chemicals is excellent.”

From the initial contact with Martin Lishman, their in-house design team was able to formalise the design that Karl had presented to them as a sketch and turn it into reality. “I could put across the problems I was trying to resolve and my own ideas at the early stages of design. I found the stages helpful as they gave us time to tweak the design if needed. I would use Martin Lishman again in the future for our next project! I would be interested in adapting a Raspberry boom and developing a boom for other soft fruit,” Karl concluded.