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DLF Seeds announces facilities investment

DLF Seeds announces facilities investment: DLF Seeds, the worlds-leading grass seed breeder is to invest £3.5M in new state-of-the-art mixing and distribution facilities at its main seed processing site at Inkberrow in Worcestershire.

This comes on the back of a £3M investment at its Scottish site at Broxburn, near Edinburgh in 2015, which automated and revolutionised the handling of forage grass and clover mixtures into the agricultural market.

DLF Seeds announces facilities investment

DLF Seeds announces facilities investment

“This investment will transform our current production facilities and bring much needed additional capacity and efficiency to cope with the future market demands in the amenity, consumer, environmental stewardship, cover crop and wildflower markets,” says Tim Kerridge, Managing Director for DLF Seeds.

“We have already seen increased demand for our products, especially for environmental stewardship, cover crops and wildflowers, in response to the UK government’s focus on habitat creation and carbon capture. In the amenity and consumer sector we have also experienced sustained growth and continue to see opportunities in these markets, as the economy recovers from Covid and embraces the sustainability agenda.”

The investment encompasses a new fully automated mixing plant for amenity and consumer products, whilst freeing up existing mixing capacity to triple the throughput of environmental stewardship, cover crops and wildflowers.

“This is a very exciting time for our industry where we must invest to ensure our customers can continue to receive the highest levels of service and the quickest delivery times for their orders,” Mr Kerridge continues. “Covid and Brexit have presented many challenges over the past two years, but this investment will ensure we are well placed to serve our customers in the decades to come.”

Work, which has already started, is expected to be completed by spring 2023.

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Extended collections from DLF

Extended collections from DLF: To meet the increasing demand for conservation mixtures and environmental areas within both sports venues and amenity land, DLF have expanded their range of wildflower mixtures.

The Pro Flora collection, each designed to recreate a particular habitat or suit specific site and soil conditions, now contains 14 UK native mixtures thanks to the addition of Pro Flora 13 and Pro Flora 14 for 2020. The non-native Colour Boost wildflower range has also been extended, from three mixtures to six.

Extended collections from DLF

Extended collections from DLF

As demand for improved biodiversity on all major landscape projects grows, Pro Flora 13 species-rich lawn and landscape mixture has been developed to contain 20% native origin wildflowers with 80% fine-leaved, low-growing grasses. This mixture massively increases the species count and diversity per m2 compared to a standard lawn mix. In addition, the flexibility of maintenance makes it suitable for more intensively managed areas, as well as conventionally managed grasslands that receive just one or two cuts a year. The greater amount of time between cuts sees a greater number of species flower, providing additional benefits to pollenating insects.

Also new for 2020, Pro Flora 14 – tall herb and tussock mix – uses species with varying heights and structures to create habitat for a wider range of insects, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Tall herb grassland provides a vital pollen and nectar source late into the year to sustain invertebrates, in turn providing a food source for birds and predators higher up the food chain. These taller growing species can help to visually blend more traditional parkland/meadow mixtures with woodland and natural scrub and should be maintained in sections, to retain the essential habitat that has been created.

DLF have also added three new mixtures to the popular Colour Boost range. Originally introduced in 2018, the collection is specifically designed for maximum floral impact, incorporating cultivated flowering species to deliver a colourful long-lasting display. The collection provides an essential food source and habitat for many species of animals and invertebrates, especially pollenating insects.

With a focus on a specific colour palette, Colour Boost 4 provides a warm mix of flowers from pale pinks through to deep reds, flowering from late spring through to late autumn. Over the same flowering period, Colour Boost 5 delivers yellows in every shade, including California Poppy and Tickseed. Finally, Colour Boost 6 is a true ‘chameleon’ – a diverse mixture of over 40 species and sub-species that changes in colour throughout the growing season.

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DLF announce SALTEX winner

DLF announce SALTEX winner: Paul Humphreys at Concord College, Shrewsbury and Taunton Schools’ Mark Jolliffe have been announced as the winners of the DLF/Johnsons Sports Seed ForthRoots Competition at SALTEX 2019.

Having successfully answered three questions on DLF’s 4Turf Tetraploid ryegrasses, they were rewarded with new innovative tools for effective on-the spot overseeding worth over £600.

DLF announce SALTEX winner

Pictured receiving their prizes from their respective DLF Regional Technical Managers, John Hughes and Ian Barnett, Paul takes home the ForthRoots MultiTool and Mark the ForthRoots Ryeseeder. Designed to fit perfectly into the scars and space left following matches or training, the interchangeable tine options on the RyeSeeder and MultiTool help to create the perfect seed bed for quick recovery.

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DLF Seeds for Exeter Chiefs

DLF Seeds for Exeter Chiefs: A change in career is a daunting prospect, but it can often be made easier with training and support from new industry peers.

For Max Sandford, a joiner by trade, he is swiftly learning ‘all things turf’ after taking over as Head Groundsman at Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club 18 months ago. One of those trusted contacts is Ian Barnett of DLF Seeds who has supported Max with the Johnsons J Premier Pitch, in use across the club’s stadium and training facilities.

DLF Seeds for Exeter Chiefs

“The world of grass seed was very new to me” Max explains, when he accepted the top job in early 2018. “Ian, our regional DLF Technical Manager, together with my local distributor have spent a lot of time going back to basics, looking at cultivars and mixture qualities which has given me a much better understanding. The support has been invaluable and has certainly given me enough of an insight to see that the Johnsons mixtures are doing a fantastic job!”

A combination of J Premier Pitch and the ProNitro coated version, J Nitro Premier Pitch, have been used across the site for the last seven years. “We carry out a full renovation on both pitches each year after the final game and overseed roughly every six to eight weeks, depending on the time of year and pitch usage.”

“I am very impressed with the germination, the density of coverage and the strong colour we achieve year on year. The wear tolerance is a major factor for rugby, especially in the scrummaging areas, but the J Premier Pitch holds firm which is testament to the strength of the rooting.” On the back of Ian’s advice, Max is looking forward to trying Johnsons J 4Turf mixture for the first time this winter, to deliver deeper rooting and rapid establishment even under low soil temperatures.

Max concludes, “I enjoy reading about what other groundsmen are using and when I see Johnson’s mixtures used at leading facilities around the country, I feel confident that I’m sourcing the best products I can for the club. Ultimately, I’ve found if you ask the right people the right questions, you will get the right answers!”

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Adlington Turn To DLF

Adlington Turn To DLF: Cheshire’s Adlington Golf Centre has recently undergone major construction works to create a brand new 9-hole par 3 course.

With a new bypass rendering the old site non-viable it was back to the drawing board for Owner & Managing Director David Moss. One thing that hasn’t changed however is the choice of Johnsons Sports Seed mixtures, from DLF, which are delivering strong coverage as they prepare to open the course to the public.

Adlington Turn To DLF

Open to players of all ages and abilities, Adlington Golf Centre comprises of a 40-bay driving range, 9-hole pitch and putt and a 9-hole par 3 course, a site totalling 125 acres that is seeded wall-to-wall with mixtures from DLF. “When we built the previous Par 3 course in 2003, we used seed from DLF and that’s where my working relationship with John Hughes really began” explains David. “With the new course constructed as a like-for-like replacement, John and I decided to stick with the same mixtures we had used previously in order to minimise the changes in both playability and appearance.”

MJ Abbott Ltd commenced the major works in May 2018 and by October, it was ready for seeding – with Johnsons Sports Seed, J Rye Fairway and J Green mixtures. “While these are the same mixtures as we’ve used before, we now benefit from the improved cultivars thanks to the DLF breeding programme. J Green has always given us fast, true greens while the Rye Fairway mixture has proven to be very hard-wearing on the high-traffic areas. Both have continuously delivered strong colour for fantastic presentation. We are delighted with how the ‘grow-in’ phase has progressed, with reps, suppliers and the course architect alike, all commenting on the impressive coverage and appearance.”

“We have also incorporated some DLF Wildflower mixtures into the outlying habitat areas to add colour, diversity and interest.” Here, John recommended a bespoke mixture of Species Rich Grassland plus Wildflower. David concludes, “With years of consistent results under our belts across the two courses and driving range, there was no question that we would turn to DLF to deliver the reliable results we needed on this project. The seed coming through strong, once again, means we’re on track for opening the new course this August.”

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Complete DLF Range At Goodwood

Complete DLF Range At Goodwood: The Goodwood Estate relies on mixtures from across the DLF Seeds portfolio to deliver results site-wide. With a remit including two 18-hole golf courses, a cricket ground, gardens and farmland, a grass airfield, and a motor circuit, General Manager of Sports Turf & Grounds, Phil Helmn, is certainly kept busy with such a momentous breadth of surfaces to prepare.

Joining the Goodwood Estate four years ago, from a greenkeeping background, has seen a steep but fascinating learning curve for Phil – “everyone says it, but in this job no two days really are the same!  One day me, and anyone of my full-time grounds team of 35, could be working on golf course renovations, or the next coordinating ground preparations for Goodwood’s Festival of Speed which has an attendance equal to that of Glastonbury Festival!  What’s really interesting is how every environment has such different performance criteria so I’ve taken a lot of guidance and advice from companies and distributors, DLF being one of them.”

Complete DLF Range At Goodwood

As a long-standing user of seed from DLF’s Masterline and Johnsons Sports Seed mixtures, introducing those across the estate was one of Phil’s first exercises. “Ryegrass is the primary species used across the estate because of its hardwearing qualities and quick germination making it suitable on a wide variety of sports and fine turf areas. On our cricket wicket, Johnsons J Premier Wicket mixture has been working really well.”

Johnsons J Premier Wicket features a four-cultivar blend of Clementine, Monroe, Dickens and Chardin perennial ryegrass and delivers outstanding shoot density, rapid establishment and high disease resistance. In terms of its usage, Goodwood’s cricket ground has seen a surge in popularity, which is driving investment into the facilities later this year. “We currently host lots of local league matches but developments on one of the wickets will hopefully see that prepared to a higher spec with the J Premier Wicket, along with a £1m new pavilion, in the hope of heading towards county level play.”

Complete DLF Range At Goodwood

“On our golf greens, we’re currently on a bent grass overseeding programme and over on the grass airfield, which has a resident academy of three Spitfires, we’re using the hard-wearing ProMaster 70 mixture from Masterline. With so many sports arenas, there’s always new challenges, and peaks and troughs in demand, which keeps you on your toes. The seed from DLF gives us one constant we can rely on.”

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DLF Deliver Colour At Lilley Brook

DLF Deliver Colour At Lilley Brook: Scrub areas at Cheltenham’s Lilley Brook Golf Club have been rejuvenated thanks to wildflower mixtures from DLF Seeds. In a quest to improve the visual appearance and ecological qualities of waste land around the site, Course Manager Nigel Thompson has found success with DLF’s Colour Boost mix.

Situated on the edge of the Cotswolds, the picturesque 18-hole mature parkland course keeps Nigel and his team of 5 greenkeepers very busy. “I’ve been looking at ways of adding colour and diversity to areas around the course that don’t tend to get a lot of maintenance” explains Nigel. “We earmarked a scrub area between the 2nd and 3rd hole to trial a wildflower plot last year. Ian Barnett of DLF came in to explain the various options available, and we settled on an annuals mixture, Colour Boost 1, which we sowed last May.”

DLF Deliver Colour At Lilley Brook

“Despite the warm and dry conditions, it popped up Mid-June and provided outstanding colour right through until the late autumn. Not only that, but it provided a habitat for insects to thrive in, in particular we noticed an increase in bees, in and around the wildflowers.” The Colour Boost mixtures incorporate both wild flower and garden flowering species, that establish rapidly to deliver a colourful display throughout the whole year. Sown directly onto the final recipient site, they require little irrigation, fertiliser/chemical application or maintenance throughout the season.

Following the success here, Nigel is now planning to introduce some more wildflowers, this time native perennials, around the perimeter of the course. “As part of our ongoing drive to introduce wildlife initiatives, we’re going to use the DLF Pro Flora 9 mixture around teeing-off areas to create habitats for a variety of species. It’s great to think we can do our bit to support pollinators, and at the same time, improve the look of the lesser-used areas of the course. It’s a win-win!”

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DLF Join The Amenity Forum

DLF Join The Amenity Forum: DLF Seeds, the world’s largest producer and distributor of grass seed, have become members of The Amenity Forum. They join over 70 other organisations, covering all aspects of the sector, to deliver research and information to those responsible for natural turf areas.

Amenity Forum Chairman Professor John Moverley commented, “We are delighted that DLF Seeds have joined the Amenity Forum and, by doing so, have demonstrated their commitment to delivering best practice in the sector. The forum advocates a fully integrated approach to amenity management, and choice of the right grass seed and its management thereafter is an important part of that.”

DLF Join The Amenity Forum

As part of their relationship, DLF recently hosted an update event at their Didbrook research station. On the day, DLF UK Breeding Manager Tony Strickland delivered an insight into their Global R&D amenity grass breeding programme, and the 16 years of development, profiling and testing that goes into bringing a new variety to market. The event concluded with a visit the Amenity plots, to look at DLF’s portfolio of cultivars currently under trial. John added, “The day was a fantastic opportunity to update those that attended on current policy issues, as well as to provide information on the new Assured Standard for the sector, which is due to be launched later this year.”

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New Face In The North For DLF

New Face In The North For DLF: To support their continued investment, growth and increase in sales, DLF Seeds have announced the appointment of Alistair Eccles. Joining the amenity team as Regional Technical Sales Manager for Scotland and the North, Alistair’s new role will see him working closely with both customers and distributors, providing advice and support on the Masterline and Johnsons Sports Seed ranges.

Alistair has a wealth of industry experience in many different areas of agronomy, grass seed and turf production. He joins DLF on the back of 12 years spent at Germinal Seeds where he worked closely with a range of customers including golf courses, sports stadia and landscapers. Prior to this, Alistair spent 18 years in several roles in the crop protection industry. He is a BASIS and FACTS qualified advisor and is now looking forward to putting his expertise to good use in his new role with DLF Seeds.

New Face in the North for DLF

“Over the years I have been fortunate enough to work alongside some fantastic turf managers and I look forward to furthering acquaintances old and new, delivering technical advice and support in my new role.  DLF are continually researching and developing exciting new breeding innovations which I’m excited to be working with in the golf and sports turf sectors.”

A keen golfer himself, Alistair can often be found out on the course in his spare time.

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