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Shining a light on innovation in the amenity sector

Shining a light on innovation in the amenity sector: As part of its role in promoting best practice in all aspects of amenity management, the Forum has released a new digital publication entitled aptly enough ‘Amenity Innovation’.

It is intended to be a twice per year publication with articles on aspects of innovation and research. In the first edition, there are articles from Professor Alan Gange from Royal Holloway, University of London, on biological control, from Dr. Ruth Mann from STRI on innovations in sports, lawn and urban green spaces and from Dr. Penny Hundleby from the John Innes Institute on genome editing and what it can offer. Ian Graham, from Complete Weed Control, also considers what innovation can offer in his area of work.

Shining a light on innovation in the amenity sector

Shining a light on innovation in the amenity sector

The publication can be accessed here

https://amenityforum.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Amenity-Innovation-Newsletter.pdf

As the independent chairman of the Amenity Forum, John Moverley, says in introducing the publication, ‘Undoubtedly much is happening in all aspects of amenity space and sports surface management and a publication such as this is seen as giving opportunity for all in the sector to hear of particular projects, innovations and current research ideas’

Currently the government is undertaking a review of all aspects of weed, pest and disease management with a view to producing a new UK National Action Plan, which will set the targets and requirements in future. The Forum is actively engaged in such discussions and, within their recent consultation, innovation is a key topic.

For further information on the activities of the Forum and its guidance information and events, contact Kate at admin@amenityforum.net and she will also be pleased to forward you a copy of the new publication.

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Amenity Regional Sales Manager (x2) – Grass and Seed Sales – North West England / North Wales and London / South East

Amenity Regional Sales Manager (x2) – Grass and Seed Sales – North West England / North Wales and London / South East

Continued business growth has driven the creation of exciting new positions within Barenbrug UK.

Amenity Regional Sales Manager

Amenity Regional Sales Manager

Barenbrug has a long and illustrious history, leading the way in the development of grass seed technology for over 100 years and here in the UK we continue to go from strength to strength, providing innovative seed solutions to both the Amenity and Agricultural markets. We are proud to support UK industry, producing the majority of the seed we sell right here in the UK, championing and backing UK businesses.

Joining our industry-leading Amenity Team, you will be responsible for the management and development of our business in either the North West of England and North Wales or London and the South East. Being a driven industry professional, you will be tenacious in generating additional sales from existing business as well as commercially astute, developing relationships and creating sales with new customers.

With proven technical skill in respect to Amenity Grass Seed, you will be an effective and adaptable communicator, providing market-leading professional advice, both in respect to products and to application techniques, to distributors and end-users alike, becoming an effective ‘business partner.

You will also collaborate with the rest of the Amenity team on the department strategy and key areas of focus, as well as provide support to the marketing function.

Suiting a dynamic, motivated individual who is a team player but able to work autonomously this role is a fantastic opportunity to develop and build on your existing skill set in a supportive and future-focused business.

What are we offering?

  • Competitive salary (dependant on experience)
  • Company car
  • Contributory pension
  • Training opportunities
  • Wellbeing and employee support programmes

What are we looking for?

  • Confident, performance-driven professional with relevant experience in the Amenity industry.
  • Skilled and personable communicator, able to communicate at all levels of business.
  • Commercially aware individual, able to understand, anticipate and accommodate customer requirements, while balancing them with the business aims and objectives.
  • Ability to self-motivate and effectively organise own time and priorities.
  • Individual looking for a long-term career within a people-centred, future-focused business.

What do you need to be successful?

  • Demonstrable and applicable knowledge of the Amenity Grass Seed Industry
  • Proven success in a regional or travelling sales role.
  • Self-motivated with an ability to multi-task
  • Committed to facilitating a great customer experience
  • Effective and experienced communicator
  • Flexible, solution-focused approach
  • Sportsturf qualification (preferred) or relevant experience.
  • Clean driving licence
  • Good level of computer literacy (MS Suite, Excel etc)

If this sounds like you, then please apply by sending your CV and cover letter to careers@barenbrug.co.uk – we can’t wait to hear from you!

Agrovista Amenity appoints Katy Richards

Agrovista Amenity appoints Katy Richards: “I have already found my path – digital marketing is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” said Katy.

Born and raised in rural Shropshire, Katy wanted to experience ‘city life’ and it is for this reason that she opted to attend university in the heart of vibrant Birmingham. Her three-year degree course was Digital Marketing, and she was so keen to get started that she began working in a marketing role before she had even graduated.

Agrovista Amenity appoints Katy Richards

Agrovista Amenity appoints Katy Richards

“My degree course very much focused on the creative side of digital marketing and so working for a marketing agency also enabled me to learn the practical side,” she said.

Even after graduating, Katy continued to work for the marketing agency and was quickly promoted from an assistant to an executive – most notably after excelling in search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. However, after four years of experiencing ‘city life’ her heart still belonged in Shropshire.

“I discovered that it just isn’t for me,” she said. “I am very much a country girl and I needed more greenery back in my life. Therefore, I left the job in Birmingham and moved back to my family home in Shropshire.”

With an impressive marketing portfolio Katy started freelancing and worked on a variety of different projects for just over a year. She admitted to missing an office environment and the camaraderie of working in a team and it was at this point that she came across the job at Agrovista Amenity.

“The job obviously caught my eye because it was a digital marketing role, but it was the company culture which really appealed to me,” said Katy. “The amenity and agricultural aspects of Agrovista is all very much part of life when you live in a Shropshire village – it just felt a good fit for me.”

The office environment will have to wait a little longer after the country went back into lockdown on the day before her start date, but Katy is already settling into her new role.

“It is all very exciting and there is lots to do,” she said. “At the moment I am working on a variety of projects such as e-commerce, SEO, social media advertising and I’m also starting to learn HTML coding.

“I’m part of a great team here and my line manager, Siân Workman, has so many excellent plans in place – I’m looking forward to supporting her and playing an important role.

“We are all working from home at the moment,” Katy continued. “It is working really well, and the company has put some excellent procedures in place to ensure that we have excellent communication with one another.

“I find every aspect of this role fascinating and I’m very much looking forward to the road ahead.”

For more information about Agrovista Amenity, visit www.agrovista.co.uk/amenity

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ICL to sponsor Amenity Forum event

ICL to sponsor Amenity Forum event: ICL has announced that it is sponsoring the Amenity Forum ‘Meeting the Challenge’ online event, taking place on 25 February 2021.

Dr Dan Jones – Managing Director of Advanced Invasives, and Barry Browne – ICL’s Landscape and Industrial National Sales Manager, will be featuring in the highly anticipated online event. Their presentation will be focussing on a new invasive weed management project that has been developed off the back of the successful Invasive Science Lite webinar series.

ICL to sponsor Amenity Forum event

ICL to sponsor Amenity Forum event

The project will cover native and non-native species and will look to address limited evidence and support within the industry for some key species beyond Japanese Knotweed. It will provide a working guide to each species on how to treat, control and will seek to answer or dispel some misunderstandings and myths surrounding vegetation management of these highly invasive weeds.

Meeting the Challenge timetable on 25th February

09.45Arrival and networking.

10.15Welcome and Introduction.

10.20Policy Update – including the review of The National Action Plan, enforcement and PPPs approval going forward. Adrian Dixon, CRD

10.40Change, Challenge and Opportunity in terms of Amenity Management – including a focus on current issues and update on how the sector needs to respond.

– Forum activity to be covered with production of guidance on integrated control and producing plans, carbon reduction and water quality challenges. Presented by John Moverley.

11.10Facilitated Participative Session – the group will be split into various work groups.

11.45 – BREAK

11.55 – Presentation by Dr Dan Jones and Barry Browne

12.15Update on The Amenity Standard.

12.30Conclude.

Meeting the Challenge is a completely free event but will require registration.

To register for the event, please visit www.amenityforum.co.uk/our-events/

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

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Critical time for amenity management

Critical time for amenity management: For everyone engaged in amenity management, these are really important times. The pandemic and all its consequences are having, and will have, a long lasting impact on everyone, and those engaged in managing amenity spaces are certainly not exempt from this.

What has been demonstrated is the essential nature of much of the work, especially in seeking to keep parks, transports networks, sports surfaces etc. safe and healthy and fit for purpose. However, nobody can predict with certainty the future. With an economy under real stress and unemployment up, there will be less resource available and certainly changes in pattern of use of amenity spaces.

Critical time for amenity management

Critical time for amenity management

Also, to be factored into the mix is the government review of the UK National Action Plan which focusses on all aspects of weed, pest and disease management. The draft plan is now out for consultation and the Amenity Forum will be responding fully. The Forum is also urging other organisations to make response. It is vital that we stress the importance of what is done and why weed, pest and disease management is essential. We cannot take this for granted; we need to make our politicians fully aware of what we do, and the professional standards employed. In that latter context, the sector must embrace the Amenity Standard. It is a totally recognisable way to demonstrate professional standards by showing organisations involved are members of an approved assurance scheme. There is much support from policy makers for the Standard and getting engaged shows commitment by the sector and will very much assist in gaining the right outcomes for the sector. For further information contact admin@amenityforum.net or visit the website www.theamenitystandard.co.uk

The National Action Plan will be the key focus at a series of free Updating Events being held by the Amenity Forum over the coming weeks. They are half day, free and open to all and being run entirely online. It is really important that those engaged in, or with an interest in, amenity management are fully aware of the potential changes and express their views. These free events will provide this. For details of registration, please contact Kate at Admin@amenityforum.net. The dates are February 9th, 11th, 23rd, 25th and March 4th.

Also recently launched at this important time is a government supported survey seeking to ascertain usage of plant protection products in amenity and related information. If you receive a request to provide this data, please do so. It will provide clear evidence not only of what we do but its importance.

Professor John Moverley, independent chairman of the Amenity Forum, says ‘’The important and essential nature of amenity management may be something those engaged in it understand but we must ensure that message is articulated clearly and strongly to all especially the public and policy makers. Everyone involved should be immensely proud of what they do but now is the time to say it loud. Critical times ahead maybe but working together the sector can face such times and be successful, of that I have no doubt’’.

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COMPO EXPERT Appoints Agrovista Amenity

COMPO EXPERT Appoints Agrovista Amenity: German fertiliser manufacturer COMPO EXPERT has announced the appointment of leading supplier to the UK’s amenity industry Agrovista Amenity as the ‘exclusive national distributor’ of its turf products in the UK.

As part of this partnership, Agrovista Amenity will be involved in all COMPO EXPERT turf product research and development – working closely with COMPO EXPERT’s Global Head of Turf – Dr Fritz Lord and Dr Mauricio Hunsche the Head of Research and Development.  Head of Regulatory Affairs Dr Thomas Leppin will work with Agrovista Amenity on regulatory issues and Chief Marketing Officer Dr Ingo Mueller will contribute to joint marketing initiatives.

COMPO EXPERT Appoints Agrovista Amenity

COMPO EXPERT Appoints Agrovista Amenity

COMPO EXPERT will supply its full portfolio of turf and landscape products, through Agrovista Amenity’s distribution channels, containing controlled-release fertiliser, slow-release fertiliser and nitrification inhibitor technology. The wide range of granulometry will also be available to turf and landscape clients.

Commenting on the partnership, COMPO EXPERT Managing Director Gerald Bonner says: “COMPO EXPERT is delighted to be the preferred partner for the manufacture and supply of turf and landscape fertilisers to Agrovista Amenity. Our unique and innovative controlled and slow-release chemistry will provide the most environmentally-friendly fertilisers to turf and landscape clients.

“Agrovista Amenity is the perfect turf agronomy partner for a chemistry and agronomy-led company like COMPO EXPERT. We are delighted with the agronomy-led approach from Agrovista Amenity and we believe that this partnership will expand our leading European turf and landscape footprint in the UK.”

John Marland, Head of Amenity, Agrovista UK Ltd says: “We are delighted to announce our association with COMPO EXPERT, a manufacturer that brings a wealth of technical knowledge and superior quality.  COMPO EXPERT supplies the highest-quality nutrition used at some of leading venues across Europe and the world. We feel this partnership further signals Agrovista Amenity’s commitment to bring choice and technical excellence to the UK amenity market.”

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Important survey for amenity sector

Important survey for amenity sector: The Government is funding a major survey of the amenity sector to increase its understanding of the total amount of plant protection products used, their modes of application and the key reasons for use.

It is vitally important that the sector fully supports this work as it will form the basis for future policy and strategic decisions, and it will provide very valuable information for use across the sector.

Important survey for amenity sector

Important survey for amenity sector

A similar survey was conducted in 2016 but participation was low which reflected badly on the sector. This time the Forum has been consulted to help ensure the survey is as straightforward as possible and relatively easy to complete. This way it is hoped that participation will be much higher, and that good and sound data can result.

The survey will be sent out electronically and, if you are selected to receive one, the Amenity Forum is urging you to complete and return promptly. It is understood that there are many calls on time, but this survey could prove really important to all. The surveys will be sent out from the week commencing January 18th

Professor John Moverley, Independent Chairman of the Amenity Forum says ‘’2020 has been an unprecedented year bringing with it personal tragedy and impacting on all our lives not just now but for well into the future. It has shown how vitally important is the work undertaken in amenity management helping keep our transport networks operational, our parks and green spaces safe and sustainable and our sports areas fit for purpose to name just a few aspects of amenity. This survey will help provide really important information to guide future policy and I urge everyone to participate if approached’’

Also, during February and early March, the Forum is holding its popular Updating Events. This year they will be held online on 5 dates. They are half day events, and free but pre-registration is required. For further information, please contact admin@amenityforum.net  With the changes facing us all following BREXIT and the review of the UK National Action Plan relating to weed, pest and disease management, these are important updating opportunities for all involved or with an interest in amenity management.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

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Important survey for the amenity sector

Important survey for the amenity sector: In early 2021, the Government is funding a major survey of the amenity sector to increase its understanding of the total amount of plant protection products used, their modes of application and the key reasons for use.

It is vitally important that the sector fully supports this work as it will form the basis for future policy and strategic decisions, and it will provide very valuable information for use across the sector.

Important survey for the amenity sector

Important survey for the amenity sector

A similar survey was conducted in 2016 but participation was low which reflected badly on the sector. This time the Forum has been consulted to help ensure the survey is as straightforward as possible and relatively easy to complete. This way it is hoped that participation will be much higher, and that good and sound data can result.

The survey will be sent out electronically and, if you are selected to receive one, the Amenity Forum is urging you to complete and return promptly. It is understood that there are many calls on time, but this survey could prove really important to all. The surveys will be sent out from the week commencing January 18th

Professor John Moverley, Independent Chairman of the Amenity Forum says ‘’2020 has been an unprecedented year bringing with it personal tragedy and impacting on all our lives not just now but for well into the future. It has shown how vitally important is the work undertaken in amenity management helping keep our transport networks operational, our parks and green spaces safe and sustainable and our sports areas fit for purpose to name just a few aspects of amenity. This survey will help provide really important information to guide future policy and I urge everyone to participate if approached’’

For further information on the content of this release or about the work of the Forum, contact Kate at admin@amenityforum.net

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Soluble strategy from Headland Amenity

Soluble strategy from Headland Amenity: A switch to a liquid feeding programme has paid dividends on the fairways at Canons Brook Golf Club. Having fallen victim to the drought of summer 2018, the fairway recovery was boosted by a new liquid regime formulated by Headland Amenity.

A tank-mix consisting of XTEND®, Elevate Fe® and Clipless NT® applied throughout 2019 has helped to encourage and maintain strong, healthy coverage as the new season approaches.

Soluble strategy from Headland Amenity

Soluble strategy from Headland Amenity

When Course Manager Damien Bowe joined Canons Brook in Harlow back in 2016, there was no nutritional programme in place for the fairways. “I quickly introduced a conventional granular programme, which we applied in April and again in September. In 2018 the hot weather hit us hard and we lost a lot of coverage but we went ahead with the granular application in April as normal which, combined with some good rainfall, stimulated good recovery and strong growth.”

To sustain the recovery and coverage achieved, Damien together with his Headland Regional Technical Manager, Peter Blackaby, formulated a liquid programme to ‘spoon-feed’ the fairways throughout the growing season, rather than merely aim to strengthen them before winter. They applied XTEND® 21-0-0 at 30L/hectare, Elevate Fe® at 20L/hectare and Clipless NT® at 1.5L/hectare every 4 weeks between June and September. “We used a low rate of Clipless NT® to keep on top of any flushes. This helped to thicken up the sward, giving us nice, controlled growth and healthy, dense fairways.”

“We also applied Headland’s TriCure AD™ separately at 2.5L/hectare, and achieved fantastic results with that, particularly in those areas that were stressed the most from the previous summer. We put this down ahead of any forecasted rainfall and it helped to hold onto any rain we got and kept the plant nice and strong. As an added bonus, it also kickstarted the germination of seed we had applied earlier in the year, in some areas of the course that hadn’t seen any growth in months.”

Despite the almost non-stop rainfall Canons Brook have seen since September, the Headland programme has ensured the fairways have emerged into 2020 strong and ready for play.

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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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