Responsible Use

Responsible use means getting the basics right all the time.


The following basic principles are the cornerstones of responsible use in all plant protection product (PPP) handling and application activities that take place on farm:

Planning ahead

  • Protect all watercourses with 6m grass buffer strips or 5m no spray/spread buffer zones
  • Manage soils to avoid erosion and run-off
  • Ensure all PPP applications (sprays and pellets) are made by trained and qualified operators
  • Ensure PPP application equipment holds a valid NSTS certificate
  • Ensure filling and container cleaning takes place well away from drains and watercourses
  • Use a BASIS qualified agronomist

Application timing

  • Calibrate sprayer and regularly check for leaks or drips (Use the NSTS Checklist found here)
  • Do not apply PPPs to dry, cracked or saturated soils
  • Do not apply PPPs if heavy rain is expected within 48 hours of application
  • Do not spray or apply slug pellets if ground is waterlogged or frozen
  • If in doubt, check it out; consult a BASIS registered agronomist


  • Take care when filling the sprayer to avoid splashes, spills, foaming and over filling
  • Check best practice advice for filling and handling areas; make sure no PPPs go down farm drains or to water courses
  • Clean up any spills immediately
  • Apply PPPs with care; do not over spray water courses or buffer zones
  • Avoid conditions where spray drift can occur - use nozzles and a spray quality which reduces drift
  • Spray headlands last to avoid driving over sprayed area and picking up mud and PPPs on tyres

Cleaning up

  • Spray tank washings on to the crop or target area
  • Wash the outside of the sprayer before leaving the field
  • Clean mud from tyres before leaving the field and keep tyres as mud-free as possible, as mud on tyres can carry PPPs out of the field
  • Clean application equipment over a lined biobed or an area that drains to a biofilter or in the field away from watercourses and drains
  • Ensure all cleaning activities take place away from watercourses


Why not use our Check it Out Tool. It has been designed to help farmers and sprayer operators review and improve spraying practices and so reduce the risk of PPPs reaching water.