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Dennis ES-34R’s are perfect for FAW

Dennis ES-34R’s are perfect for FAW: Head Groundsperson James Mathewson has praised his fleet of Dennis ES-34R battery powered rotary mowers for making a difference at Colliers Park National Football Development Centre.

The centre, situated on the historic site of Gresford Colliery in Wrexham, stands as a testament to the Football Association of Wales’ (FAW) commitment to fostering football talent. The facilities boast state-of-the-art training grounds making it a pivotal hub for football development.

Dennis ES-34R’s are perfect for FAW

Dennis ES-34R’s are perfect for FAW

At the helm of the grounds team is James Mathewson. His journey in the industry began at the Honourable Artillery Company in London, followed by stints at West Ham United FC and Arsenal FC’s training ground in London Colney. Post-Covid, James served as the Deputy Head Groundsperson at Northampton Saints before seizing the opportunity at Colliers Park.

In his first Head Groundsperson position, James is thriving and overseeing recent acquisitions of pitch maintenance equipment with a significant shift from petrol to battery-powered machinery. James praises the Dennis ES-34R electric rotary mowers for their role in this transition.

“The FAW has a drive towards sustainability and is very passionate about it. From a practical point of view, the ability to use the Dennis ES-34R’s on one pitch while the other pitch is in use just makes our day so much easier,” says James.

This is because the rural setting of Colliers Park presents unique challenges, including noise restrictions due to the close proximity of a hotel. James emphasises, “Having silent electric machinery, means we can cut pitches before early training sessions – it opens up our days a lot.

“There has probably been a bit of resistance over electric equipment, and I was quite sceptical when they first came out,” continues James. “Until you use it, it is very easy to think like that because everyone is so used to using petrol mowers – but the Dennis E-Series mowers are incredible machines.”

The ES-34R is a 34” (860mm) battery powered twin blade rotary mower using the latest lithium-ion battery technology. It is ideal for fine turf mowing and cleaning up operations in stadia and training facilities. Utilising the contra rotating hardened steel blades and low chute ensures maximum collection performance.

While allowing ground staff to achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface, the E-Series range will also help meet sustainability and environmental initiatives, minimise carbon footprint, emissions, running costs, HAV’s and noise without any range anxiety.

“We purchased three Dennis ES-34R electric rotary mowers. I didn’t really look at other rotary mowers on the market,” explains James. “Predominantly they are used to clean the pitches after training sessions. We also use them for the first few cuts after renovation before we put the cylinder mowers on.

“They put a nice stripe in the pitch which coaches and players like to see and they hoover up all the debris because they have fantastic suction.

“The best feature on these mowers is the option to increase the speed of the blade in wet weather to suck the debris up – which they do just as well as when it is dry. The size of the machine is another big plus because you can get a pitch completed with three of us in about 45 minutes on average. This would have taken three of us three hours with our previous rotary mowers.”

James also dispels concerns about battery life, stating confidently, “We can do a whole pitch on one battery. They do this with ease and that takes any anxiety out of doing the job.”

In summary, James and his team at Colliers Park National Football Development Centre have embraced the Dennis ES-34R electric rotary mowers. The shift to sustainability, coupled with the machines’ efficiency and adaptability, reflects a forward-thinking approach in sports turf management.

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter and Instagram @DennisMowers and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK. You can also view the latest Dennis videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers

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GreenBest Ltd to Showcase Innovative Fertiliser Solutions

GreenBest Ltd to Showcase Innovative Fertiliser Solutions: GreenBest Ltd, a leading provider of cutting-edge fertiliser products, is thrilled to announce its participation in SALTEX 2023. You can find us at Stand C100, where we will be unveiling our latest advancements in the world of turf care and fertiliser solutions.

One of our company goals is to further expand our organic and biostiumlant range and move to more sustainable sources. That’s why this year we’ve expanded our Velvit range to include four new organic/organo-mineral products: Shea Spring/Summer, Shea Autumn, Fulvic Acid and Humic Acid.

GreenBest are proud to be back at SALTEX

GreenBest are proud to be back at SALTEX

Shea Spring/Summer & Shea Autumn are meticulously crafted from the byproducts of shea seed processing, often discarded as waste, to create a valuable and eco-friendly resource. Our Shea products demonstrate excellent levels of organic matter, promoting a healthy carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. Available in 1-2 mm and 2-3mm for use on fine turf or larger areas, ask our team for more details.

We have also been working hard to produce content, courses, and webinars for the GreenBest Academy; an educational provision brought to you by our FACTS-qualified team of experts. The GreenBest Academy will grow your knowledge in all areas of fertilisers, turf management, lawn nutrition and ornamental horticulture. Find out more about our latest courses in ‘Designing fertiliser treatment plans for football/rugby pitches and bowling greens/croquet lawns’.

“We are thrilled to be part of SALTEX 2023 and look forward to engaging with the turf management community,” said James Whittick, Sales & Marketing Director of GreenBest Ltd. “Our commitment to sustainability, product quality, and custom solutions has made GreenBest a trusted partner for turf professionals. We invite everyone to visit our stand and discover how our offerings can enhance turf health and performance.”

Visit the GreenBest team on stand C100 to pick up our latest Velvit brochure and for guidance on how to find or become a Velvit distributor. You can also take away a FREE trial pack of our Purity Soil Conditioner, a sample tower of our Velvit Fertilisers and a FREE gift.

Contact details:

sales@greenbest.co.uk

www.greenbest.co.uk

+44(0)1963 364788

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Reliable G860’s are excellent for Hartpury

Reliable G860’s are excellent for Hartpury: Matthew Newman, Grounds and Sports Turf Manager at Hartpury University and Hartpury College in Gloucester, claims that his fleet of Dennis G860 mowers are reliable, robust, and ergonomically excellent.

Matthew was once a student at Hartpury University and College completing a National Diploma in Horticulture before being offered a position on the grounds team in 2002. He now oversees three divisions which consists of a grounds team, a sports turf team, and a construction team.

Reliable G860’s are excellent for Hartpury

Reliable G860’s are excellent for Hartpury

The eight sports pitches, which are split equally between rugby and football, require a lot of attention as Matthew explained.

“They are arguably the most demanding surfaces because of the amount they are used,” he said. “During the week we find ourselves preparing the pitches for university and college teams, which still must be high spec because they are in the top divisions, but then it gets to the weekend, and we have premiership fixtures for the women’s teams or championship rugby games for men. In these situations, we are very much aware that we are preparing pitches for the paying public and that the games will be streamed online around the world for all to see. It is a lot of work, and we need reliable machinery.”

It is for this reason that Matthew decided to upgrade his previous cylinder mowers to four Dennis G860’s.

Relied upon at world class stadia and major tournaments, the Dennis G860 is one of the most renowned cylinder mowers in the grounds management industry. Lightweight at just 166kg it is incredibly easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls for the throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive.

The mower features a large diameter front roller with an adjustable scraper which has been designed for a precise height of cut control, giving an excellent finish on every occasion. The Dennis G860 also features an interchangeable cassette system to assist with a wide range of tasks such as including scarifying, verticutting, brushing, spiking, and slitting.

“Once we trialled the Dennis G860’s, we just had to have them,” continued Matthew. “They are lot more robust, more sturdy, easier to use and more manageable. For me the usability is one of its best features – they are ergonomically excellent, and everything is in the right place in terms of controls. It does a brilliant job every time and it isn’t complicated. I think there are quite a few machines out there that are perhaps over engineered. Dennis keeps it simple and straight to the point.

“The G860’s present the pitch brilliantly and they provide a more defined stripe than other mowers we have used.”

Matthew and his team use the Dennis G860’s on both the rugby and football pitches approximately three times a week. With such a busy schedule, time is of the essence and Matthew has noticed that the Dennis G860’s have helped in this respect.

“We seem to cover the same area more quickly with the Dennis G860’s. Previously we were only able to single cut and would never have enough time in the day to double cut, whereas we can do that now.

“We’ve had the Dennis G860’s for a couple of years now and nothing ever goes wrong with them. They are incredibly reliable.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter and Instagram @DennisMowers and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK.You can also view the latest Dennis videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers

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And the winners are…

And the winners are…: The three winners of the Amenity Forum Sprayer Operator of the Year Awards, sponsored by ICL and Syngenta, have been announced.

The Amenity Forum Sprayer Operator of the Year Awards (ASOOTY) recognises and rewards top sprayer operators across the amenity industry. It aims to improve standards, by identifying the best practice of individuals to enhance results – and share their experiences across the industry.

And the winners are…

And the winners are…

ASOOTY is sponsored by ICL and Syngenta and managed by Amenity Forum, in association with BASIS.

From a record number of high-calibre entrants this year, the competition has now been whittled down to three great finalists – Darren McLaughlan, Course Manager at Trump Turnberry Golf Club; Keith Scruton, Course Manager at Darwen Golf Club; and Kiel Barrett, Head Groundsman at Leeds United FC.

Darren is now into his 26th year in the industry and followed in his uncle’s footsteps who was a greenkeeper. Commenting on his award, Darren said: “I’ve been spraying for as long as I can remember, and I look at this award first and foremost as personal development. This is a huge part in the way I like to manage myself and my team. If you are standing still, then you are going backwards so to have this award; and even to be nominated for me is progression.”

A summer job at a local golf club ignited Keith’s passion for greenkeeping and he has since been in the industry for 32 years. “The benefit of having this award is that it will act as an accreditation of good practice and that’s something I’ve tried to achieve with spraying over the years,” he said. “Hopefully this award shows that even a small club can implement good practice and do the right things without having as many resources as the bigger clubs.”

Kiel learned his trade at Headingley Carnegie stadium, home of Leeds Rhinos, before being appointed as the Head Groundsman of Leeds United FC in 2012. He has been at the club ever since and has worked wonders with the Elland Road pitch.

The overall winner will be announced at the BTME Welcome Celebration which will be taking place om 24th January 2023.

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

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When 3 cylinders are better than 4

When 3 cylinders are better than 4: Specialist turf growers, County Turf, farm in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire with a fleet of 24 tractors. A strong relationship with local dealer Peacock & Binnington saw the company introduce a Fendt 211 to the fleet in 2020. The Fendt has since done over 3000 hours and has helped director Chris Medley reduce fuel costs and improve the efficiency of loading work.

“We run four-cylinder tractors for most of our general production work. I was advised that the three-cylinder Fendt would manage the work well whilst offering a significant fuel saving. It has been an eye-opener because we have reduced our fuel consumption by at least 25 percent and yet the tractor has performed admirably,” he explains.

When 3 cylinders are better than 4

When 3 cylinders are better than 4

There are five models in the 200 range: the 207, 208, 209, 210 and top of the range 211. Power outputs start at 79 horsepower and extend to 124 horsepower. All models are available as Power, Profi and Profi+ with AGCO’s three-cylinder 3.3 litre engine.

The latest model 211 benefits from a power boost called ‘Dynamic Performance’ which releases an additional ten horsepower on demand. The system detects when components such as the PTO, hydraulics, engine fan and air-con need more power, and then provides that added power through smart control. “If I had one criticism of our 211 it is that it is a little short of power for some applications. The new model may be an option for us in the future if the boost function provides the extra power that we need,” says Mr Medley.

The 69 plate 211 at County Turf has been used mostly for loading. With a Fendt loader on the front and pallet tines on the three-point linkage it has become a popular choice for loading work and Mr Medley suggests it is more useful than a telehandler. “It has very sensitive controls for loading work and the joystick is ergonomic to use, so operators prefer it to a telehandler. It also has the advantage of carrying at the front and rear so it can move more in a day.”

Being a light tractor, it is also easier to transport. The Fendt is regularly deployed to sports grounds where it loads fresh turf and moves sand. “When we install pitches, we need lighter machines to reduce any potential damage to the turf. The Fendt is perfect for this because it has sufficient power without the greater weight that four-cylinder tractors carry.”

The cab is typically Fendt. Quiet, comfortable, and ergonomic. It is spacious and more akin to the larger models in the range. The high seating position offers the operator better vision over the loader and gives an overall feeling of space. “The view from the Fendt is great for our operators when they are moving turf. Operators also enjoy the comfort, especially when they are using it for long shifts.”

The land used to grow turf is dry and coarse which makes establishment tricky at times, especially with the high winds experienced in the area. The 211 is regularly used for mowing and irrigation work but is also versatile enough to work with a harvester, loading lorries. “We can move the Fendt from one job to another really easily. It has enough power to pull mowers and transport irrigation equipment whilst also having the loading capability to move turf.”

Comfort has always been a distinguishing part of the Fendt brand and the 200 series is no exception. Despite being a compact machine with a turning circle of just 4.2 metres, the cabin feels every bit like that of one of the larger models. The seat offers excellent cushioning and support which will help those intending to do long stints behind the wheel. “Our operators really appreciate the Fendt for its comfort and prefer to use the 211 if they can.”

County Turf has a constant churn of tractors, choosing to replace each tractor in the fleet within three years to keep within the warranty period. With excellent support from Peacock & Binnington, Mr Medley is never left without a machine and servicing has been completed quickly and efficiently. “It is vital that we avoid downtime. The Fendt has not let us down in over 3000 hours, so we are really pleased with the reliability and the service we have had from P&B.”

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Are you involved in amenity management?

Are you involved in amenity management?: The Amenity Forum is currently running its very popular series of Updating Events across the UK. One of these is to be held at Arsenal’s Football Ground on March 9th and will contain important briefing information on topical issues as well as forthcoming policy change. As well as being events to receive information, they also act as opportunities for those attending to contribute their views and influence matters.

The whole series of free events are made possible by sponsorship. The Forum is grateful to Weedfree who are core funding all the series and to individual host organisations for providing the venue and refreshments for each event. Being able to offer the London event is thanks to Belchim Amenity UK, strong supporters of the Amenity Forum and its objective of promoting best practice and high standards in amenity management.

Are you involved in amenity management?

Are you involved in amenity management?

The full programme of events two of which have already run, together with individual host organisation is provided at the end of this release. So if you are involved in, or have an interest in, the amenity sector, please contact Kate at admin@amenityforum.net to book your place. Whilst free events, you do need to book your place with Kate, in advance. On registration, you will be sent a full copy of the programme for your event and location details or sign in links for the on line ones.

In terms of weed, pest and disease management, significant policy change is afoot. With our withdrawal from the EU, new regulations are emerging regarding the approval and use of plant protection products. In addition a new UK National Action Plan is soon to be issued setting out the requirements going forward. We already know that this will have a major focus on integrated management approaches and greater enforcement and standards. Then there is the implementation of the Official Controls (Plant Protection Products) Regulations 2020 (OCR). This has already legally required all suppliers of plant protection products (PPPs) to register their locations and stock carried. From June 2022, such a legal responsibility will also apply to all users of PPPs backed up by increased inspection and enforcement.

Representatives from UK and national governments will be in attendance and thus the events provide excellent opportunity for you to express your views and thoughts direct to them.

William Weld from Belchim Amenity UK said ‘’Belchim Amenity UK are delighted to support this event as part of a series being held across the UK. These events come at an important time for the sector and it is vital that all involved are kept fully up to date’’

ENGLAND                                                              DATE                                                   HOST

Yorkshire (on line)                                          9th February                                       Green-tech        

Manchester                                                       24th February                                     ICL

Leicester                                                             25th February                                     Agrigem

London                                                                 9th March                                             Belchem Amenity UK

Throws Farm, Essex                                        17th March                                          Origin Amenity

NORTHERN IRELAND

Belfast                                                                  23rd March                                          NI Government                

SCOTLAND

Edinburgh                                                           4th March                                             Scottish Government                    

WALES

Cardiff  (on line)                                              16th February                                     Complete Weed Control

The Forum is very grateful to Weedfree for their support in making this series of events possible.

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Are County cricket pitches soft targets?

Are County cricket pitches soft targets?: It is no surprise that the standard of County Championship pitches has once again been thrust into the spotlight following England’s capitulation in Australia.

Read the full article from Cricbuzz here

Are County cricket pitches soft targets?

Are County cricket pitches soft targets?

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Junior footballers are pitch perfect

Junior footballers are pitch perfect: A former premier league groundsman is working his magic on Barnard Castle FC juniors’ pitches.

Read the full article from The Teesdale Mercury here

Junior footballers are pitch perfect

Junior footballers are pitch perfect

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So, how are we doing?

So, how are we doing?: By Ian Mather-Brewster, Key Account Manager/Regional Pitch Advisor at the Grounds Management Association.

This year has been particularly difficult for everyone. Sport clubs and organisations have dealt with sudden openings and closures, along with furloughs, adverse weather conditions and relentless uncertainty.

So, how are we doing?

So, how are we doing?

However, throughout the upheaval, grounds staff – whether volunteer or professional – have continued to work hard each day, holding sport together by ensuring pitches are ready to go at a moment’s notice. At the GMA, these challenges are the reason we felt that this year was the perfect time to launch GroundsWeek.

This inaugural celebration week was an opportunity to give all those in the industry the much-needed credit they deserve, while welcoming others into the sector. Here’s a run-down of how the sector’s doing as sport begins to unlock, and why grounds staff are so central to making sport possible.

Volunteers at the helm

The importance of outdoor exercise has been hugely emphasised as a result of Covid-19. While gyms and other indoor sport facilities have been closed, outdoor facilities have acted as a lifeline for the public to go out and exercise during this turbulent period. Grounds staff have played a pivotal role in making this happen.

Volunteers at local clubs have used their permitted daily exercise to ensure these local pitches continue to be ready to be used at a moment’s notice, giving the public a place to exercise and play. It’s no secret that sport has a transformative impact on our wellbeing – after the past year, the need to supercharge both our mental and physical health is going to be paramount. With the pandemic having had a devastating fallout on mental wellbeing, it’s essential that the public have access to outdoor sport facilities once we’re permitted to play.

After the initial national lockdown was announced last year, volunteer grounds staff had to get surfaces back to a top standard after facilities had been unused for quite some time. Volunteers had to suddenly adopt different skills and learn new ways of working. With industry guidance about how to return and when it was safe to do so, grounds volunteers across the country were able to get back out there and provide high quality, playable surfaces.

Getting the professional game back on

Professional sport resuming during the pandemic has also been a lifeline for many – something to focus on and enjoy, it has also acted as a conversation starter for many who’ve been sat at home with very little to do or talk about. While many are keen to get back to playing themselves with their local teams, friends and family, being able to watch your favourite team play on TV has been a welcome distraction from the outside world. With professional sport having the power to lift us up in times of turmoil, grounds managers and staff’s role in making that possible has been pivotal.

Some staff have worked completely on their own throughout the pandemic, without the help of volunteers or a team, yet still have managed to produce immaculate surfaces which have been televised for professional games. They’ve also had new, additional responsibilities: sanitising all equipment before and after large-scale games in huge venues – many have miraculously managed to do this single-handedly. Reduced budgets from the previous season have meant smaller renovations for many professional sport facilities, however, grounds managers and volunteers have still managed to produce top-standard playing surfaces, despite the condensed season leading professional sport grounds to be used far more often than usual, multiplying the workload for grounds managers and volunteers.

Due to the pandemic, clubs and organisations within professional sport have also had to increase the number of areas used for training to comply with safe distancing rules, with some lower league clubs having had to train at bigger stadiums to reduce risk – this has meant grounds staff have had an even bigger job to do in making sure all these areas are ready for use, time and time again.

At cricket clubs, grounds workers have had to start preparing and covering practice areas far earlier than usual – usually, cricket players would get flown overseas for international fixtures, but currently they are stuck in the UK, meaning these pitches need to be in top condition consistently.

The unsung heroes of sport

Despite the strain put on grounds managers and volunteers at a grassroots and professional level, they have continued to keep facilities in top condition so that we can continue to play after lockdown. Grounds staff are the overlooked upholders of sport, without whom, the game simply could not go ahead.

Among furloughs taking place, budget cuts and a lack of investment, as well as the shorter seasons but the same number of games on the pitches, the grounds industry has had to put more effort than ever before into keeping sport pitches playable, and have managed to do an incredible job. Without grounds staff, sports pitches would be non-existent, compromising the future of sport as we know it.

Grounds staff have also gone beyond keeping sport pitches immaculate – to giving up space at their grounds to allow for Covid-testing to take place, and local clubs have helped set up food banks as well as assisted in delivering food to the vulnerable. The grounds community has had to become more resilient than ever, sticking together in the face of unwanted criticism, and
keeping sport going through these difficult times.

Joining the sector

Despite this, we know the sector is facing a crisis – without a new generation of grounds staff and volunteers, there will be a knock-on effect both for the public wanting to get active, and on professional games. Grounds maintenance requires considerable knowledge, time and dedication to provide a pitch that meets rigorous standards set out by professional sporting bodies, with year-round attention to detail, and intensive labour to ensure surfaces get enough care.

GMA’s new research* shows that young people aren’t considering grounds management as a career, and the grounds sector is facing a significant skills gap as a result. Our research shows that 40% of the workforce is over 50, and 9% of grounds managers and volunteers will be retiring in the next five years. If things continue the way they’re going, unfortunately, 5,120 pitches across the UK could be left without a grounds person soon. However, hope is not lost: 6,000 young people are needed to join the profession, to help the turf care sector get on the road to recovery.

#GroundsWeek was a call on the nation to celebrate the vital contribution of grounds staff, while urging young sports fans to consider the profession. The week was set up to celebrate the vital role that professional grounds staff, volunteers, and the turf sector plays in making sport possible. After what has been a really difficult year for the sector and beyond, we wanted to use this celebration to showcase grounds staff and the brilliant work that they do – and have continued to do – despite sport stopping and starting. #GroundsWeek, which will continue each year, is an opportunity to celebrate our sector, and emphasise the vital role grounds staff play in driving sport forward, from grassroots to a professional level. We’re hoping sports fans and the general public have been inspired to consider volunteering at their local pitches or joining the sector as professionals in the future.

*(Data gathered from Sport England’s Active Lives report, GMA’s Sports Vital Profession Report and Back to Play)

PNE boss says pitches are suffering

PNE boss says pitches are suffering: Preston North End manager Alex Neil thinks pitches are starting to show signs of wear and tear because the shortened close season prevented repair work being done on them.

Read the full article from The Lancashire Post here

PNE boss says pitches are suffering

PNE boss says pitches are suffering

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