The true cost of cutting costs?

The true cost of cutting costs?: When a machine is operating at optimum performance and being utilised in the correct conditions, professional groundskeepers or operators can expect to see healthy and pristine looking turf. But performance could be hampered if a mower isn’t properly maintained and that includes the choice of replacement parts.

Currently, we’re in the thick of the core mowing season, and it’s likely that replacement parts will be required to maintain that optimum experience and result.

The true cost of cutting costs?

The true cost of cutting costs?

Here, Franck Pillittieri at The Toro Company, shares some reasons why it’s essential to consider true lifetime value and not just a low price point when it comes to purchasing replacement parts.

“We know that for many in our industry, as in many others, there is a need to try and reduce cost when it comes to maintenance work on equipment. In the current climate especially there is likely to be more pressure than ever to cut costs in the short term – but what is the true cost when the price is lower?

“As a premium manufacturer, our parts are not the lowest price on the market. We offer our customers the Toro Genuine Parts solution for a Genuine performance. Below are the top reasons we recommend buying discerningly when replacing parts in your mower.”

Quality fit

Our Toro Genuine Parts are custom designed for each machine, so when one needs replacing it makes sense to fit a like for like piece. Cost demands though, could lead people to consider a cheaper alternative. However, not only could the lower cost part not fit correctly, but it could also compromise the machine going forward, increasing wear and general run down of the machine.


Whilst a cheaper price may seem like a great saving at the time, it is likely to prove a false economy in the long run if the part isn’t built to last. Not only may you have to incur the expense of replacing non-genuine parts more often, you also may experience longer downtime for your machine, impacting your productivity.


With any replacement product that is not designed for the machine there is a risk to the safety of the user and the lifetime of the machine. Often, cheaper replacement parts come from manufacturers who focus more on cost than safety. We, at The Toro Company, place the safety of the users and the performance of the machine at the top of our priorities.

Machine damage

When parts are purchased from a Toro-approved channel partner, the consumer can trust that the channel partner is committed to the care of the machine. We cannot expect this to be true for unrelated suppliers that may offer the cheapest parts on the market. Cheap parts could damage to the machine, resulting in a cost that could counteract any potential savings. Downtime for repairs can also result in lost income. For example, belts and filters go into the core of the equipment, and there is a risk of causing a break down or technical issue by using non-genuine parts.

Time efficiency

If certain parts of the mower are replaced with non-genuine replacements there is a possible impact on the time it takes to complete a job. For example, all Toro blades are engineered for our specific machines to increase efficiency. A replacement blade could be less effective and require more frequent cutting, again incurring more overall costs and decreasing efficiency.

Poor results

There is also the possibility with cheaper parts that you could achieve a poorer cut with your mower. When using cheaper tines, for example, you may damage the turf and have a reduced result.

“At The Toro Company, we offer a high-standard after-service experience in collaboration with our channel partners. This includes 24-48 hour delivery, meaning less downtime for your machine, knowledgeable service technicians if you need help installing parts or require information on your mower, a 90-day warranty for peace of mind, and a guarantee that we are investing in innovation to benefit customers now and in the future.

“So, whilst we appreciate the current situation that many of our customers are in, we encourage everyone to consider the longer-term view for the best outcome for their machines.”

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Otterbine diffuses the situation

Otterbine diffuses the situation: May was the sunniest calendar month on record and with the way things are going it may well not hold that title for long! So, this year more than any other year, water management specialist Otterbine is advising greenkeepers to be pre-emptive to the challenges hot weather can throw at lakes and ponds.

Water left unattended for long periods of time can very quickly deteriorate, especially as the weather warms up and as it’s predicted this summer will be a hot one – some say reminiscent to that of 2018 – it cannot be underestimated how important it will be to manage water quality.

Otterbine diffuses the situation

Otterbine diffuses the situation

Warm water, plentiful sunlight and an excess of nutrients is a combination that, without a proper water management system in place, can leave lakes and ponds with problems such as algae, aquatic weeds and odours.

Simon Powell, Otterbine business development manager at distributor Reesink Turfcare, explains why it’s vital to implement preventative measures now, he says: “Oxygen depletion or stress situations occur for different reasons, but many lake management issues are related to both the light and heat generated by the summer sun. We understand that for some, water management may not be top of the to-do priority list, but it really does pay dividends to act now before the problems take hold.

“Once a lake has lost its ecological balance and goes into crisis, the costs of restoring the lake increase dramatically. As well as often being more expensive to implement, reactive solutions tend to be less friendly to the environment too.”

Low oxygen levels, combined with minimal circulation, prematurely ages water and throws the natural ecosystem out of balance. Only then do symptoms of poor water quality begin to appear, which as well as algae, weeds and odours, include sludge build up and aquatic life struggles or is killed off.

Simon says: “By increasing oxygen levels and circulating oxygen rich water throughout a lake, water quality can remain high, inhibiting algae, aquatic weeds and unpleasant odours. The most natural water quality management solution is to introduce aeration into a pond or lake to eliminate stagnant water. That’s where Otterbine’s aeration systems can help.”

With Otterbine’s aerating fountains, industrial aerators and diffused air systems and their proven high oxygen transfer rates, you can easily increase the dissolved oxygen levels in your lake or pond, preventing or curing stagnant water, algae build up and bad smells for clean, clear, healthy water. And with Otterbine’s decorative range you can make your lake or pond an appealing beauty spot at the same time.

For more information on Otterbine aerators, contact distributor

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Leatherjackets target for new Acelepryn Emergency Authorisation

Leatherjackets target for new Acelepryn Emergency Authorisation: A further new Emergency Authorisation (EA) for the use of the Syngenta insecticide, Acelepryn, has been reapproved to target leatherjackets for the 2020 season.

The new leatherjacket specific authorisation supplements the summer chafer grub EA announced in May.

Leatherjackets target for new Acelepryn Emergency Authorisation

Leatherjackets target for new Acelepryn Emergency Authorisation

“Two individual EA’s allow a longer window of application to target the specific pests at the most appropriate timing for each- which coincide with the pests’ egg hatch and initial larval activity,” according to ICL Technical Manager, Henry Bechelet, who applied for the Emergency Authorisation on behalf of the industry.

The EA permits use of Acelepryn on affected greens, tees and fairways, along with horse race courses and airfields. The treatment period for leatherjackets is up until 31 October 2020.

Leatherjackets cause damage to turf through feeding on roots and leaves – typically resulting in pock-marked and uneven surfaces, which can be severe in localised patches, he pointed out. Racecourses and horse gallops are especially prone to surface instability where root damage is caused by soil pests.

Furthermore, extensive damage can occur in all turf surfaces when badgers, birds and other foragers root through turf in search of leatherjackets. Flocks of birds attracted to feed on larvae are of particular concern on airfields.

Leatherjackets are the larvae of crane fly (daddy longs legs). Adults typically emerge in late July to the end of September, although hatching may be further extended into the autumn depending on weather conditions. Crane fly start to lay eggs almost immediately, depositing up to 400 eggs each in 80-100 batches.

The eggs hatch after approximately 14 days, when larvae start to feed on organic matter and roots, along with leaves on the surface around their holes. Optimum results have been seen from application targeted during peak egg laying, to target larvae soon after egg hatch.

“The extension of use to the 31 October could prove extremely useful to target later emerging leatherjackets. However, all orders must be received by ICL by 27 October, to enable necessary stewardship records and delivery,” added Mr Bechelet.

The Emergency Authorisation permits Acelepryn use in situations where there is an acknowledged instance of economic damage, or risk of bird strike on airfields, and where the product has been recommended by a BASIS qualified agronomist.

This season, for the first time, Acelepryn users will be able to submit online stewardship records of areas treated, via the ICL website:

Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby, advised the best results have been achieved with applications when young leatherjackets, at the 1st and 2nd instar stages, are actively feeding near the soil surface.

“It’s important to apply at higher water volumes, using the white O8 XC Nozzle to target the spray through to the soil surface,” he advised. “Irrigation will help to move the spray into the target zone.”

The authorised label permits application at the rate of 0.6 litres per hectare, applied in 500-1000 l/ha water. Only one application per year is permitted on any given area.

Greenkeepers and turf managers are urged to report sightings of crane fly activity through the on-line Pest Tracker. The aim is to build a picture of pest activity across the UK and Ireland, to anticipate issues and aid application timing. Further information and pest identification guide is available on the Syngenta GreenCast website.

For further information on best use guidelines where chafer grubs and leatherjackets have caused economically damaging effects contact an ICL Area Manager or BASIS agronomist:

ICL Area Managers for Acelepryn enquiries:

Jamie Lees

07500 992464


Craig Lalley

07824 528252


Emma Kilby

07748 111965

South East/East London

Andrew Pledger

07387 056659

South/London/Channel Islands

Darren Hatcher


07787 697684

South West/West London

Nick Martin

07900 666691

North West

Phil Collinson

07824 473699


Matt Nutter

07810 656240


Alternatively contact Syngenta UK Technical Manager:
Glenn Kirby

07483 333964

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AEA formally appoint new president

AEA formally appoint new president: Mr Malin is Managing Director of Etesia UK and has been an active member of the AEA for over 14 years.

As President of the AEA Les’ role will be to lead the Board of Directors, while the farm equipment and outdoor power equipment councils and various technical and specialist groups focus on current issues and initiatives.

AEA formally appoint new president

AEA formally appoint new president

He speaks of the unusual circumstances of his appointment and the way forward for the Agriculture and Outdoor Power sectors.

Due to Covid-19 the 2020, the AEA Annual General Meeting was postponed, leading the Association to take the unprecedented step to nominate Mr Les Malin as its President-Elect. Now, however, and following recently introduced changes in legislation, Mr Malin’s role as President of the AEA has been formalised, as the AGM was allowed to be held virtually, with some 30 participants in attendance, as well as the company legal advisors to ensure all was legally binding.

Mr Malin commented on the alternative course of action, “First of all, I would like to thank the AEA Board of Directors for nominating me to be the next President of the AEA. It is, indeed, against a backdrop of very uncertain and difficult times. With COVID 19 now having taken over from Brexit as the focus of everyone in the UK, the work of the AEA has had to adapt like many other businesses and groups.”

Ruth Bailey, CEO and Director General of the AEA said, “It is indeed very strange times. We are delighted, however, to have Les as our President and welcome his knowledge and experience within the industry to guide us through.”

Les’ early background is rooted in agriculture, where in his early years he worked on a mixed farm and would also use the farm equipment for contracting jobs.  He then started his own contracting business in his 20’s.  In the mid 1990’s he made his move to outdoor power equipment as area manager for Polaris, after which he worked at Amazone Groundcare before finally moving to Estesia as an ASM, then General Manager and finally Managing Director.

Les has many years of experience both within agriculture and the outdoor power equipment sector and said of the future “This virus has shown us more than ever that Technology has to be the key forward for all of us, we have to embrace the  future forget the past and show our customers that we can offer expertise, money saving machinery, environmentally efficient solutions such as robotics in agricultural or the outdoor sectors. We as an industry must embrace these modern methods to safeguard our futures and entice the younger generation into a sector of employment that few people leave if they actively engage in its culture and history”

Mr Malin is due to receive his official chain of office in more certain and safe times but so he knows what to look forward to, we have mocked up his official image.

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GGM Group step out for charity

GGM Group step out for charity: A Lancashire business has demonstrated that it will always go the extra mile for charity -even when faced with a global pandemic and tough weather conditions.

This weekend, staff from the Colne-based GGM Group completed their annual fundraising walk with a difference – taking on a specifically adapted route to adhere to social distancing guidelines, while raising over £3000 for three worthy causes – Greenfingers, St John’s Hospice and Pendlebury Hospice.

GGM Group step out for charity

GGM Group step out for charity

Managing Director Chris Gibson and his team travelled from his home-town of Lancaster to the businesses’ head office in Colne and then back again, covering a distance of approximately 100 miles – through a combination of cycling and walking. The walking element, which covered over 80,000 steps,  covered the Lancashire Witches Walk which passes through the Forest of Pendle and the Forest of Bowland to finish at Lancaster Castle. Travelling through blistering temperatures and torrential rain, the team completed their walk on Saturday afternoon, arriving at St John’s Hospice, Lancaster to a hero’s welcome and a well-deserved afternoon tea with a well-earned beer and fizz.

The team had planned to climb the three highest peaks in England as part of the company’s annual charity walking event, and were disappointed to be unable to go ahead as planned. Undeterred, Chris came up with his own ingenious solution.

He explains more:

“Last year the GGM team completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks in aid of our company charity, Greenfingers, and we were looking forward to this year’s event.

“As part of the Government’s initiative to get us back to work via walking or cycling, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to continue our fundraising. I chose this route because it was created to mark the 400th anniversary of the trail of the “Lancashire Witches” held at Lancaster Castle and  I wanted to recognise the injustice and prejudice of the past and the need continue to fight to remove these from society today.  We were able to include several of our team and their families in our efforts, with people undertaking different legs in pairs, to enable social distancing.

The event raised money for charities who are finding themselves cash-strapped during these difficult times. Greenfingers is the company charity for the second year running, dedicated to supporting children who spend time in hospices around the UK, along with their families, by creating inspiring gardens for them to relax in. In addition, funds will also be raised for St John’s Hospice in Lancaster which provides free palliative care to patients with life shortening conditions across North Lancashire, South Lakes and parts of North Yorkshire and Pendleside Hospice in Burnley, which exists to promote and enhance quality of life for people with life-limiting illnesses.

The GGM Group consists of two businesses across two depots. PSD Groundscare is the national distributor of specialist landscaping equipment, including AS Motor and Eliet, Koppl and TS Industrie. GGM Groundscare is a specialist supplier of tractors and high-quality professional land-based equipment for commercial and domestic use. Servicing the North West and Yorkshire, it supplies a range of products from leading franchises including Kubota, Baroness and Amazone.

Chris Gibson concluded:

“I am hugely proud of what our staff have achieved this weekend. It was teamwork in the truest sense, and we all worked hard to make the event work while adhering to social distancing. The youngest participants were just seven years old and as a family business, and it was fantastic for us all to come together.

We’d like to extend our thanks to Chorley Nissan who loaned us a support vehicle and Lisa and the team at St John’s Hospice who waved us off and then welcomed us back with refreshments.

“It’s a key part of our ethos at The GGM Group to give something back to the local community  so for this event we’ve decided to support  both St John’s Hospice in Lancaster and Pendleside Hospice in Burnley, as local charities who are desperately in need of funds at this time alongside Greenfingers our nominated company charity.

The GGM Group set a target of £1000 for the event which it has already smashed, with a current total of over £3000. You can support this worthy cause by donating at

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Don’t hit your ball towards greenkeepers

Don’t hit your ball towards greenkeepers: After a course manager suffered a nasty head injury when struck by a ball, BIGGA explain their members often find themselves in the firing line.

The golf course is perhaps unique in sport as greenkeepers can often be seen carrying out work while the course is in play.

Don't hit your ball towards greenkeepers

Don’t hit your ball towards greenkeepers

It’d be a little odd if a groundsman was marking out a penalty area on a football pitch or the boundaries of a tennis court while a match was in play. But with tee sheets filled to the brim and greenkeepers having a massive area to maintain, it’s inevitable that eventually the greenkeeper and the golfer will come into contact – often with dangerous consequences.

Portlethen Golf Club’s course manager, Neil Sadler, shared a gruesome image of himself after he was struck on the head by an errant golf ball at the weekend, which left him hospitalised and with a concussion…

The damage caused by a golf ball hitting you on the head is about a tenth of a head-on collision in a car crash and of the 12,000 golf-related injuries recorded each year in the UK, around 3,500 are head injuries caused by a golf ball.

The R&A’s Rules of Golf attempt to mitigate the potential dangers to both greenkeepers and other players. Within the ‘Etiquette’ Behaviour on the Course section, it is explained how golfers should always wait until the way ahead is clear before playing a shot. This applies to whether the person ahead is a greenkeeper going about his duties, another golfer or a member of the public.

Golfers have a duty of care not to put others at risk as result of their actions. Sadly, all too often greenkeepers find themselves in the firing line.

We got together three golf course managers to hear their thoughts on the matter and to discuss who should have priority out on the course – the greenkeeping team or the golfer?

Chris Sheehan (left) is a former BIGGA president and head greenkeeper at West Derby Golf Club for over 30 years. James Parker (centre) was course manager at Pannal Golf Club in Harrogate and is now at Longniddry Golf Club near Edinburgh. Jack Hetherington is course manager at Boldon Golf Club in the North East after a spell as head greenkeeper at Alnwick Golf Club.

Here’s what they told us:

Chris Sheehan (head greenkeeper, West Derby): “Most golf clubs that I know, if not all of them, have a policy where the greens staff have priority at all times. But, despite this, greenkeepers sometimes find themselves in the firing line. This is the worst scenario and it not only hurts them from a mental point of view, but it also hurts them if the golf ball hits them. There have been many instances of balls hitting greenkeepers and causing serious injury. It has happened to me and when you go up to the golfer and say ‘did you not see me?’ They say ‘oh no, I didn’t’ or ‘I didn’t think I’d hit it that far’. When you are on a machine, you can’t hear them shouting ‘fore’. As far as I am concerned, don’t play while the greenkeeper is on the green.”

Jack Hetherington (course manager, Boldon): “Greenkeepers should have priority at all times. It’s easier for me to educate my three members of staff than it is to educate all of my members and say ‘right, you must give way at this time, but at this time we’ll give way’. It’s easier for golfers to give way at all times and for me to educate my staff on when it’s acceptable to make them wait and when it is not.

James Parker (head greenkeeper, Longniddry): “If you’ve got somebody cutting a green then golfers should wait. Conversely, if the greenkeeper feels the task is going to take too long and hold up play, then by all means move to the side and let people play through. The difficulty is that the more we squeeze our tee sheets, which every club is doing now as we want to cram in as much golf as we can, then the fourball who are stood in the middle of the fairway feel under the same pressure as the greenkeeper on the green. They’ve got people on the tee behind them wanting to play. But as long as the member and the greenkeeper can work together, I don’t really see that it should be a huge issue.

Chris: “I spoke to had a health and safety expert in and he said ‘I think all the greens staff should wear a helmet and hi-vis jackets when they work on the golf course, so the golfers can see them and they know it’s a member of the greens staff’. I said ‘don’t you think the same applies to visitors or any member?’ We’re all people out there and if that isn’t enough to stop people hit golf balls towards you, I’m not sure what will.”

James: “I spoke to a health and safety advisor who said completely the opposite. I mentioned about bump caps and hi-vis – I’m firmly against it – and he said he thinks it makes golfers more last if you give them bump caps and hi-vis and the beauty of not wearing them is that golfers should be on the lookout for greenkeepers. Safety gear doesn’t stop golfers from hitting their ball, because they just say ‘he’s got a bump cap on. I’m going to hit it anyway, he’ll be fine’.”

Chris: “You can literally kill somebody with a golf ball. There have been serious injuries that have been caused and our fear is that it won’t be long before somebody gets killed.”

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