Precision Microbes appoint Gary Robertson

Precision Microbes appoint Gary Robertson: Precision Microbes has appointed Gary Robertson as their new technical sales director for the United Kingdom.

Gary has held various positions during his 25-years in the turf industry including golf course manager, groundsman at a Premier League club, working in Bulgaria as a construction and grow-in manager and more recently as technical sales manager at Consolidate Turf.

In his new role, he will be overseeing the expansion and development of Precision Microbes products in the UK amenity sector. The range of products is already popular in Europe with football teams in Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga, and expanding on this success within the English winter sports and golf market is a target for Gary.

Precision Microbes produce blends of up to 60 different microorganisms that can benefit the plant in different ways. These blends focus on the behaviour and benefits of microorganisms on the plant and the growing medium which it lives in.

Gary’s arrival at the company has unfortunately coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, with this in mind, a greater level of sensitivity has been adopted regarding a lower key introduction.  He feels that the products Precision Microbes offer can assist turf managers who may be disrupted or feel short of renovation time as a result of the uncertainty over the re-opening of golf facilities or the resumption of this season and beginning of the 2020/21 season.

Gary explained: “I’m confident Precision Microbes are set up to have a beneficial impact on the UK turf market because they offer a diverse and evolving product range, particularly with the growing demand for alternatives to chemical products.

“Regardless of the green space that you manage, turf issues are generally the same across the board to a lesser or greater extent. The golf establishment continues to adjust with changing landscapes and environments in order to strive for their own individual perfect playing surfaces. Spring and Autumn renovations often take place under less than ideal climatic conditions. This can result in prolonged surface disruption and slow recovery leading to frustrations. It is certainly well documented that oxygen within the profile is a necessity, and incorporating Precision Microbes as part of your primary maintenance programme will supplement this process.

“Our products have been successful at football clubs in Europe, and we’ve seen excellent results not only during renovations but as part of a continued maintenance programme.  Given the current circumstances, these products could be used on pitches to naturally reduce the organic matter without putting them out of action for any length of time.

“Modern pitch surfaces such as Hybrid stitched, carpet systems or even the older stabilised systems have quite specific renovation and maintenance requirements.  Our organic range will complement existing practices and potentially alleviate some of the issues resulting through the inability to turn the surface over.”

Strong Grass Hybrid is a blend of beneficial microorganisms that colonise the leaves, plant crown, rootzone and rhizosphere. Their main objective is to promote strong, healthy root growth and to breakdown organic matter and fertilisers so that they can be easily taken in by the plant. It contains extra beneficial microorganisms that eliminate black layer, and pathogens that infect plants, help keep the plant healthy, thereby helping it fight off pests and infections. It can be applied by spraying directly onto the surface or through the irrigation during a normal cycle.

For further information contact: gary@precisionmicrobes.com

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New appointment at Indigrow

New appointment at Indigrow: Indigrow are delighted to announce the appointments of Joe Russell as area sales manager, helping us expand and enhance our areas of operation within the UK.

For the last few years, Joe has been working in Landscaping and Lawncare, including a spell travelling and working in Sydney, Australia. He studied Sport and Outdoor Education at University and is a keen runner who regularly takes part in local 10k races. Currently training to run marathons, Joe also enjoys playing cricket and golf and for many years has helped prepare wickets at his local cricket club.

New appointment at Indigrow

New appointment at Indigrow

Joe will be responsible for the Sussex and Kent. His knowledge and expertise from the world of sports turf and agronomy are priceless to us and invaluable to our customers. If you wish to Joe, their contact details are as follows:

Joe Russell 07483 082 903 jrussell@indigrow.co.uk

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New COMPO EXPERT appointment

New COMPO EXPERT appointment: COMPO EXPERT GmbH, a European market leader in fertiliser production, has appointed Matthew Williams as National Account Manager for Turf to increase the company’s profile in the UK’s sports turf sector.

A BASIS-registered Turf Agronomist and a member of the European and International Turfgrass Society, Matt brings 15 years of sales and turf consultation experience at high-profile sports venues, landscape businesses and public green facilities to his new role.

New COMPO EXPERT appointment

New COMPO EXPERT appointment

He had previously worked at Spunhill Amenity where he was UK Turf Sales Manager, having moved from Barenbrug UK in 2018 where, over a 10-year period, he held the roles of UK Key Account Manager and New Product Development Manager.

Within his national role at COMPO EXPERT, Matt will be looking after the needs of the company’s current distributors and merchants throughout the UK and Ireland with raw material and branded material supply.

“I intend to increase COMPO EXPERT’s brand presence in the UK,” Matt says. “The brand is number one in Europe and with the company’s high-quality chemistry products, I believe there is plenty of room for expansion in the UK & Ireland market.”

Commenting on Matthew’s appointment, COMPO EXPERT Managing Director, Gerald Bonner says: “‘We are delighted to have recruited someone of the stature of Matt Williams. Matt has extensive experience in a wide range of turf environments and we look forward to achieving greater growth in this market. COMPO EXPERT is the European leader in Turf Agronomy applications and Matt will be leading our significant expansion plans for the UK & Ireland Turf programme.”

Matt can be contacted on: 07392 976 748 or matt.williams@compo-expert.com

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An insight into Agrovista Amenity

An insight into Agrovista Amenity: “My hope for Agrovista Amenity is that the industry welcomes what it’s trying to be – a science-based company offering real solutions to customers and adding value wherever possible.”

John Marland has been integral in the development of the newly formed Agrovista Amenity. With more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, John claims that the launch of the new company is his proudest moment yet.

An insight into Agrovista Amenity

An insight into Agrovista Amenity

In this exclusive Q&A, John explains what Agrovista Amenity truly represents and why the industry should start getting excited.

Q: Now Agrovista Amenity has officially launched, how do you think it’s going so far?

JM: We’re right in the depths of integration now, and that always presents a challenge, but it’s going as well as we expected. There’s a great team within the Agrovista business, and this isn’t the first integration project that they’ve worked on – they’re well versed in integrating businesses into our internal system.

We’ve had a fantastic reception from both customers and suppliers – people really understand why we did it and what we are trying to do. It’s not about buying another business, it’s about finding the right business that helps you to create what you’re trying to achieve in the industry – a business that can service all the marketplace whether it’s online, by telephone or by face-to-face.

Q: What does the new organisation look like?

JM: As you can imagine, there were two existing structures that needed to come together, and we’ve certainly made progress. It may well be early days, but the thing that excites me is that we have a national sales team that rivals any in the market. As we start to turn the strategy into reality there will be a whole new level of customer support, whether that be internet support, field sales or telephone support.

Q: What does this mean for customers?

JM: Customers come first and that’s the primary motivation – not just for Agrovista Amenity, but for Agrovista as a whole.

There’s no need for us to radically hike prices just because two businesses have come together – that’s not a consequence or a motivation. The industry regulates the industry and we are part of that. We hope that our uplift, if you like, will be increased by efficiencies and bigger critical mass. We’re not expecting the customer to finance us – it will just be a case of being better at what we do.

Q: What are your hopes for the Agrovista Amenity business and in turn, your role?

JM: My hope for Agrovista Amenity is that the industry welcomes what it’s trying to be – a science-based company offering real solutions to customers and adding value wherever possible. Inevitably there will be changes within my role, but I just want to see this group of people maximise their potential and help them to become all they can be.

An insight into Agrovista Amenity

An insight into Agrovista Amenity

Q: What do you think are the current industry challenges?

JM: It’s a lack of solutions for challenges. I think soil-borne pests are becoming a real issue. We’re really starting to witness the effects of a lack of chemistry and an expediential rise in issues caused by the likes of leatherjackets and chafer grubs.

Also, I think we still face the same challenges that arise due to a lack of investment in green spaces, or government provided green spaces. I would love to see this market come together and try and approach government to increase standards in local-level sports facilities. I have coached youth football for nearly ten years now, and I’ve seen that although people work hard, the standards just aren’t good enough because there isn’t enough money there.

I think that we need to work harder as an industry to raise our profile and the value of what we do. However, as I sit here today, the weather is top of the agenda. I’m very conscious that the greenkeepers and the grounds people of the industry are adept at facing challenges from weather, but the constant wetness is becoming unbearable.

Q: Do you see any potential growth areas?

JM: I think there needs to be an acknowledgement of the fact that amenity has a lot of markets within it, and we see fit to grow in all of them because we just need to be better than everybody else out there.

Q: Is the development of Agrovista Amenity a career highlight?

JM: I’ve been in the industry for more than 25 years but seeing Agrovista Amenity launch to the team and the market must be one of my biggest career highlights. This is because of the size, scale and magnitude of the business that we now have.

Also, in terms of highlights, I take huge pleasure in seeing how far some of the younger members of the team have progressed. Seeing people succeed within the business that we have is really a highlight. I don’t think you can take too much value in personal achievement. It’s more about what we have achieved collectively over the time we have been in the marketplace.

For more information, visit www.agrovista.co.uk

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JCB backs British canoeist

JCB backs British canoeist: British canoeing medallist Adam Burgess has some extra power in his paddle as he goes for gold this summer – after landing a sponsorship deal from digger maker JCB.

Staffordshire-born Adam, 27, started canoeing aged 10 on the River Trent in Stone, Staffordshire with the Stafford and Stone Canoe Club and has been competing internationally for Great Britain and winning medals since the age of 14.

JCB backs British canoeist

JCB backs British canoeist

In 2015, he won the U23 World Championship in Brazil and two years later took his first individual World Cup medal in Markkleeberg, near Leipzig, Germany, and reached a career high World Ranking of 7th.

Now, Adam is celebrating after Rocester-based JCB stepped in to offer him sponsorship as he prepares for his greatest challenge – the 2020 summer games in Tokyo. Adam has already qualified for the event despite being considered an underdog after battling back from injury.

Adam, of Stone, said today: “JCB’s sponsorship has changed so much for me. Mostly, it means zero compromise now in my preparations for this year. It means I will have the best equipment available and take advantage of every recovery strategy I can in terms of diet. After all this hard work, it feels fantastic to be identified by such an amazing local company for this opportunity, and I will be incredibly proud to represent JCB!”

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “2020 is a very special year for our family company, as we celebrate our 75th anniversary. We are delighted to give our support to one of Staffordshire’s young ‘home-grown’ sports stars, and it would be wonderful to think that Adam could give the county cause for extra celebration this summer. We wish him the very best of luck in Tokyo and in his future career.”

Adam is based in London at the Lee Valley White Water Centre and regularly travels home to visit his family in Stone and Trentham. He rarely travels without his canoe – enabling him to enjoy a nostalgic paddle on the River Trent.

Adam added: “I used to train regularly before school on the Trent and I firmly believe it’s that work I did back then which made me the athlete I am today. I am fast across the water and very efficient – something I attribute to the days paddling ‘through treacle’ on the Trent in Stone!

“This year it is all about the games and I’m doing everything I can to try to bring home that gold medal. I have been selected much earlier than most of my main rivals, which is a great advantage. I only have to peak once this year at the end of July whereas my rivals still have to navigate their national selections between March-May.”

Adam credits much of his recent form to his devotion to yoga and will shortly qualify as a yogi. The life-long Stoke City fan is also a qualified barista with a big love for speciality coffee.

Adam is the second Staffordshire athlete to be sponsored by JCB in the run-up to the 2020 games. The company has also given its financial support to British Triple Jumping champion Ben Williams, 28, of Newcastle-Under-Lyme, as he prepares to represent Great Britain at the summer games.

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Robyn the Record Breaker

Robyn the Record Breaker: Robyn Vaughan, Customer Service Desk Administrator for Limagrain UK, has broken the British record after bench pressing an incredible 100kg (that’s the equivalent of 5 x 20 kg bags of Limagrain’s MM60 grass seed mixture!)

Robyn’s day job may well consist of advising and supporting Limagrain UK’s large amenity customer base but when the clock hits five o’clock, she steps into her other role as the Amateur British Powerlifting World Champion.

Robyn the Record Breaker

Robyn the Record Breaker

It all started four years ago when she joined her local gym to lose weight, meet new people and generally to keep fit. However, it wasn’t long before she realised that she was incredibly strong and her ability to lift heavy weights certainly didn’t go un-noticed.

Sean Blackburn, World, European and British Champion, took Robyn under his guidance and started training her at the Warriors gym in Barton Upon Humber. She quickly showed her potential and before long she was flipping 264kg tractor tyres and training four times a week specialising in bench pressing.

The training paid off and Robyn became Amateur British Powerlifting Union Bench Press Champion in May 2019, by bench pressing 92.5kg, and instantly qualified for the Amateur World Powerlifting Congress Bench Press Championships in Orlando, America.

Robyn conquered the World Championships in the States by picking up gold but determined as ever, she had her sights set on breaking even more records. Her next goal was to bench press an astonishing weight of 100kg.

Her training went up another level with Sean and a strict diet was put in place by her nutritionist Sophie Scott to ensure that she had the energy and strength needed to help her reach her goal.

On 15 February, at the Ultraflex in Rotherham, all eyes were on Robyn as she attempted her record-breaking lift. Her first attempt opened at 90kg, then went to 95kg which was her current record. Feeling confident after her two previous lifts she went fully focussed into the 100kg attempt. Unfazed by the large audience or the magnitude of the task Robyn powered her way glory.

By lifting the 100kg weight she set the new British record and is the only woman to lift 100kg in her age and weight category.

An incredible achievement, Robyn still wants more – the world record is 102.5kg so she is now back in the gym and training towards breaking that later this year.

Commenting on her success, Robyn said: “It is a huge achievement and something I had wanted to do for a very long time. It’s a very surreal feeling to be honest! One moment I’m breaking the British record and the next I’m back at work and down to business with Limagrain UK. I’m very happy because I love doing both!”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/mm. You can also follow the company on Twitter: @MM_Seed

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Q&A with Tim Yates

Q&A with Tim Yates: Q&A with Tim Yates, Business Development Manager- Groundcare, Kubota UK 

After 20 years at Kubota, how are you finding your new role? 

The groundcare sector is well known for being friendly one. Since moving into the Business Development Manager role at Kubota’s groundcare division in December, I have enjoyed a warm welcome from our dealer network, many of whom I have known for the last few decades.

Q&A with Tim Yates

Q&A with Tim Yates

I’ve spent that last 20 years at Kubota and, over this time period, I’ve occupied many different roles within the company. Thanks to this, when moving into my new position, I already had a really solid understanding of the UK business and our customer base, alongside the connections and tools often required to make swift decisions and keep business processes fluid. I also possessed an understanding of the Kubota business as a global entity, having worked closely with our European and Japanese colleagues over the years.

These experiences have enabled my transition to be a smooth one. I have taken on my new responsibilities whilst continuing to work closely with the rest of the wider team at Kubota and engage with our dealer network. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for our groundcare division.

Can you tell us about Kubota’s latest updates to its groundcare range? 

From a product perspective our main focus at the moment is to ensure that our line up meets the Stage V emissions regulations which impact products over 19kw. Being the largest manufacturer in the world of industrial diesel engines under 100hp, Kubota are particularly well placed to meet these new regulations and adopt the compliant engines into our groundcare product portfolio.

We’re also currently placing an emphasis on customer and machine support. As part of a push around these areas, we’ve launched Kubota Care. This is a fully Kubota-backed extended warranty option, meaning that customers can now fully cover their machines against unforeseen expensive repair costs for 5 years. This can help to ensure that a customer’s machine is maintained to the highest possible standards and serviced by Kubota-trained service engineers. The entire warranty can be wrapped up as part of a maintenance agreement and by utilising it – alongside the Kubota Finance options we offer – customers can get more value for their money than ever before.

Are there any machines in particular that are proving popular at the moment? Why do you think this is? 

The zero-turn mower market is one that grows each year. These machines make the task of grass cutting quicker, more efficient and more enjoyable. Our ZD1211 model falls under this range of machinery. Designed to offer faster, improved cutting performance, whilst ensuring that user ease and comfort are still front of mind, this machine is proving popular with our customers.

Each year, more and more people are seeing the benefit of cutting around obstacles in on swift pass, therefore we expect this market to continue to grow moving forward.

What do Kubota customers typically look for when it comes to groundcare machinery? How does Kubota look to deliver on this?

Typically, customers are looking for high quality machinery that delivers on reliability, efficiency and cost.

Having operated within the UK market since the 70’s, Kubota brings decades of experience and expert knowledge to the table. We support our customers through their buying decisions and then provide a high standard of after care.

Put simply, over the years, our products have spoken for themselves. That’s how we have the reputation we have today; as a reliable company that provides sound products and caters to its customers. The important role that our strong dealer network plays in this cannot be overstated. They ensure that our customers’ expectations are not only met but exceeded.

Our end goal is always to align our services and products to our customers’ needs; whether that’s today or in the future.

What are your plans for Kubota’s groundcare division moving forward? 

Kubota is an engineering company at heart, so from a product design point of view we know that the machines of tomorrow are being designed today and we always try to be at the fore-front of this.

On the UK business front, we will look to further focus on the aftersales market, with the Kubota Care extended warranty packages, maintenance agreements, leasing and other finance options from Kubota Finance.

Do you think that client demand is likely to change and how? 

Customers will always demand more. After all, everyone wants to develop their business in order to outpace their competitors. This is true of every sector, whether it is groundcare, manufacturing or even retail. In the groundcare space, having the right machinery can play a big part in standing out from the crowd and delivering on productivity and efficiency goals.

Although we can’t be certain about what customers will be demanding from their groundcare machinery in the future, Kubota needs to be one step ahead of the curve. As such, we continually investing in innovations – such as electric technologies – in order to be better than ‘the best’ and keep our customers happy.

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Campey gives new roles

Campey gives new roles: Campey Turf Care Systems has appointed Ethan Yates as product specialist for North West England and the Isle of Man and expanded the role of product demonstrator, Dave Stonier, to include Asia and the Middle East.

Ethan has worked at Campey since 2013, starting in the workshop as a New Holland apprentice while completing a three year New Holland agricultural course at Reaseheath College where he achieved triple distinction and was awarded the best academic student in his year. His experience within Campey continued when he moved into the role of product demonstrator in 2016 before taking up his new role in December 2019.

Campey gives new roles

Campey gives new roles

Campey has also expanded the role of product demonstrator, Dave Stonier. Dave has been with the company since 2015, having gained eight years of mechanical knowledge in his previous role and has worked as a product demonstrator throughout his five years at Campey. During that time, he has built his knowledge working with Lee Morgado on pitch renovations, demos and product installations in Europe and Scandinavia. Having progressed into the role, Dave has completed numerous installations and demos across Europe and has also represented Campey at trade shows in the UK, America and Eastern Europe. This hands-on experience made him the perfect candidate to continue Campey’s presence in Asia and the Middle East.

Speaking on the appointments, Campey managing director, Julia Campey said: “For the past seven years it’s been great to see Ethan progress through the company. Because he has spent time working in different areas of the business, he has a very detailed knowledge of the machines and how they work, and he is very capable of sharing that with customers. We’re all very happy to have seen him progress to this point and know he will excel in this role.

“Dave’s progression has been similar to Ethan’s in that he has been working with us for a number of years and really understands the machines and how they work. His enthusiasm for travel and knowledge makes him a great person for this job, and we’re all looking forward to seeing the progress he makes.”

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Adam Cooper joins GaNTIP

Adam Cooper joins GaNTIP: The Institute of Groundsmanship-led Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP) has announced the appointment of Adam Cooper, a practising groundsman with more than 31 years’ experience, as regional pitch advisor (RPA) for the North West.

His appointment comes at a time when sports clubs up and down the country are suffering the devastations of storms Ciara and Dennis, and the skills and advice of GaNTIP’s team of RPAs – now nine, plus two key account managers – will be essential in helping grassroots clubs recover from the devastation.

Adam Cooper joins GaNTIP

Adam Cooper joins GaNTIP

GaNTIP is the successful programme that is improving the standard of grassroots football and cricket pitches, as well as the skills of those who look after them, throughout England. It will now be working closely with the England & Wales Cricket Board and Country Cricket Boards, as well as with County FAs, to offer advice and help to clubs when the flood waters subside.

Based in Preston, Lancashire, Adam – who entered the groundscare industry after qualifying as a quantity surveyor – brings to the role extensive experience in maintaining cricket surfaces as well as surfaces for tennis, football, bowls, hockey, croquet and golf. He also spent the past two years in an advisory support role within the GaNTIP programme.

His CV includes work at four Premier League cricket clubs, as well as at AFC Fylde and Accrington Stanley FC plus managing the cricket, hockey, tennis and football surfaces at Lytham Cricket and Tennis Club.

Adam has also been involved in many volunteer grounds roles over the years, particularly at his local cricket club and at the various sporting venues where his children played football, tennis and hockey.

He says he “is looking forward to helping grassroots clubs by applying this understanding of the challenges faced by volunteers, especially now as they face a tumultuous task in reinstating pitches that have been destroyed by the storms.”

Out of work, Adam is a keen sportsman and plays hockey and cricket. He also enjoys salmon fishing and sailing.

GaNTIP is a joint programme between the Institute of Groundsmanship, The Football Association, Football Foundation and the England & Wales Cricket Board, and programme director Jason Booth, says: “Adam’s appointment reinforces how GaNTIP continues to apply the best skills in order to help grassroots sports clubs up and down the country.

“Their experience and advice will be now also be vital in helping grassroots clubs recover from the awful flooding that we’ve experienced in recent months.”

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Expanded greenkeeper team at Chart Hills

Expanded greenkeeper team at Chart Hills: The ambitious new owners of Chart Hills Golf Club, in Kent, are continuing their investment into the club’s staff and facilities by expanding the greenkeeping team and completing previously unfinished renovation projects.

The recruitment process has been led by Golf Course Manager, Neil Lowther, who has 18 years of service at Chart Hills to his name and is committed to restoring the course to its full potential following the venue’s recent purchase by Ramac Holdings Ltd.

Expanded greenkeeper team at Chart Hills

Expanded greenkeeper team at Chart Hills

“After initial conversations it became clear that it was paramount for us to add resource and build a new greenkeeping team in order to take the golf course forward,” commented Lowther.

“Investment has already begun, and we are now able to complete unfinished projects such as the renovation of the 10th and 12th tees which are now well under way.”

The new employees join the existing greenkeeping team of Adam Weeks, Irrigation Engineer, who has worked at Chart Hills for 25 years; Mathew Krause, First Assistant Greenkeeper; Marc Mulholland, Greenkeeper in Training; Gavin Spiers and Geoff Lezemore, both part-time Greenkeeping Assistants.

William Watkins joins Chart Hills as a qualified Greenkeeper with five years’ greenkeeping experience, while Liam Levett heads to the club at the beginning of March as a Greenkeeper in Training, having had previous experience working at the resort.

The club has ambitious plans for major improvements to all the main playing surfaces, excluding the recently renovated greens and bunkers, with drainage works forming a major part of these improvements.

“There is a very positive vibe amongst the greenkeeping team, and we are all looking forward to being part of a new era for Chart Hills,” added Lowther.

Ramac Holdings Ltd are committed to investing significantly in the venue having announced its acquisition in December 2019 and are working on an extensive development strategy alongside the in-house team, led by General Manager James Cornish and Director of Golf Ant Tarchetti.

For further information on Chart Hills, visit www.charthills.co.uk, ring 01580 292222 or email reception@charthills.co.uk

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