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GMA education programme continues to grow

GMA education programme continues to grow: The Grounds Management Association (GMA) reaches a significant milestone in its online training with more than 2,000 enrolling for its courses since the pandemic began.

Now, the not-for-profit member organisation adds two new courses to its training offering; Online Level 2 Cricket Surfaces (Applied Turf Culture) and the first face-to-face training course since the Covid-19 pandemic began, Level 2 Racecourse: Turf Management.

GMA education programme continues to grow

GMA education programme continues to grow

Taking around 6 hours to complete, Online Level 2 Cricket Surfaces (Applied Turf Culture) is ideal for volunteers or new additions to grounds teams seeking to develop their skills and learn about the importance of preparing a playing surface with the implementation of an annual maintenance plan.

Students who successfully complete the end of course assessment gain valuable knowledge and applicable skills for day-to-day maintenance activities and a certificate of achievement, whilst the course’s specialist content will be crucial for all aspiring cricket grounds staff or volunteers.

Whilst expanding its online training suite, the GMA also announces the return of face-to-face training with a 5-day training course at the British Racing School. Taking place from 14 – 19 November 2021, Level 2 Racecourse: Turf Management teaches students how to apply the theory required to understand the science of racecourse grounds maintenance and will be equally relevant for individual grounds staff as well as Clerks of the course.

Developed in conjunction with the Racecourse Association and the British Horseracing Authority, the 5-day course will be delivered by industry experts, Alan Lewis NDT, Adrian Kay, Head Groundsman at York Racecourse and Richard Linley, Senior Inspector of Courses at the British Horseracing Authority, with accommodation and food covered in the package.

Dan Prest, Head of Technical and Learning, said:

“It has been an incredibly challenging 18 months, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the drive from so many in the industry to continue in their professional journey and development working in the turf-care sector. Whilst we’ve all had to adapt to a more online-orientated work and study life, we know how valuable practical face-to-face training courses are.

We’re also pleased to be developing more content than ever to align with our Pitch Advisory Service objectives to help volunteers get the most of their local natural and artificial surfaces.”

You can sign-up to online Level 2 Cricket Surfaces (Applied Turf Culture) by clicking here.

Or to find out more about Level 2 Racecourse: Turf Management, click here.

More details on the Pitch Advisory Service can be found on the GMA’s website.

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Agrovista Amenity Academy continues to grow

Agrovista Amenity Academy continues to grow: Agrovista Amenity’s online Academy has shown significant growth with over 9,000 CPD points awarded so far, and the company believes that it is just the start of something special.

The Agrovista Amenity Academy is an online learning resource with courses and lessons created on a range of areas of turf management and for all products sold by Agrovista Amenity.

Agrovista Amenity Academy continues to grow

Agrovista Amenity Academy continues to grow

“It has grown bigger than we ever expected it to,” said Karl Parry, the founder of the education platform. “The amount of CPD points we have awarded really is quite phenomenal.”

The portal consists of videos, case studies, MSDS, labels and technical specifications which have been designed so that turf managers can fully understand and get maximum benefits from the products they use. This will, in turn, lead to healthier, better performing turf.

Furthermore, the Academy website boasts a highly sophisticated weather system which helps people make better decisions for the week ahead.

Launched in 2017, the Academy was the result of a need to provide a platform which suited both the learner and the employer – according to Neil Pullen, Agrovista Amenity Business Development Manager.

“The thinking behind the Academy was to provide education that was open to everybody,” he said. “Not just for those at the top, but more a vehicle for people who were new to the industry or part qualified, to further their education with a desire to become a course manager, or a head groundsperson for example.

“It progressed from there and then two years ago we sat down with BIGGA to discuss their education programme. It was apparent that golf clubs were paying for their staff to complete BIGGA courses, but it meant that the staff would need days off to do them. There was also an issue with the employers paying for their staff to be educated only for the staff to leave once they were qualified.

“So, you had a frustrated employee wanting to further their CPD education with BIGGA but struggling to do it because nobody wanted to pay for it, and nobody wanted to give them the time off. This was where the Academy really progressed because individuals can get the CPD points they need without it having an impact on their employers. Each course can be done at home and there is no cost. Now, a lot of BIGGA members come directly through the Academy.”

The Agrovista Amenity Academy, which is free to sign-up to, provides in-depth knowledge on Agrovista Amenity’s market leading products (Product Courses), as well as a wide range of areas in turf management such as turf disease, chemical, product application, seed and turf pests (Knowledge Courses).

The Product Courses have been designed so that the individual can fully understand and get maximum benefits from the products they purchase. With Product Courses and Knowledge courses being added on a regular basis, Academy students are guaranteed to have a wide variety to choose from.

“I think that the Product and Knowledge portfolios that we can build is endless,” said Karl. “Agrovista has an incredible number of resources combined with highly knowledgeable and experienced professionals. Both sections will continue to expand and will push the amenity standard forward.”

BIGGA allocates up to 4 points for all successfully completed Knowledge and Product Courses and can vary depending on content and length. To date, the Academy has awarded 9,499 CPD points to over 3,000 individuals. While it is evident that the wider industry is indeed seeing the benefits from using the Academy, so too is Agrovista Amenity.

“Internally, having that platform to train the team has been invaluable and we have seen improved sales results,” said Neil. “We now insist that all members of staff pass the courses because it teaches them about the products – how it works, why it works, how to apply it, what rates – absolutely everything.

“At the end of the day, we feel that we have a responsibility to make sure that customers understand everything they need to know about the products – so stewardship wise it is important too.”

The Academy has inevitably seen an increase during the pandemic with more people either being furloughed or working from home, but both Karl and Neil are confident that it will continue to grow, especially with the plans that are already in place.

“I would like to see a deeper integration with BASIS and FACTS and we have already spoken about some exciting new content for best practice,” said Karl. “We are also looking forward to continuing to support BIGGA and I feel that is a partnership which will develop even further. We have so many more courses to publish and I would just like to see the Academy continue to grow.”

“Further down the line I would like to see the Academy spilt into different sections to cater for individual sports,” added Neil. “At some point we are planning on having a golf academy, a football academy, a cricket academy, and a rugby academy, for example, to make it even more specific.

“We would also like to have courses for different abilities – so a foundation, intermediate and a professional course. We’ve got so much planned and while we are not quite there yet – we certainly are not far away.”

For more information, please visit www.amenityacademy.co.uk

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Grow Lights For Schools & Local Clubs

Grow Lights For Schools & Local Clubs: SGL is introducing a brand new grow lighting product line which makes grow lights possible for sports clubs who never had the budget before.

With the SGL Basic line they aim to enable grass quality improvements in different layers and levels of sport. This will lead to better and safer playing surfaces throughout the year for lower professional sports leagues and training grounds, but also schools and local sports clubs.

Grow Lights For Schools & Local Clubs

SGL have taken different measures in the engineering, production and shipping process to reduce costs to a minimum, while still delivering high quality and durable products. SGL product developer Kristel Meijer: “For the Basic line we designed every part from scratch, in order to optimise the use of materials, increase efficiency and keep the SGL quality demands. We use these same parts for all products within the product range, which makes production more efficient and cheaper. In addition, the products are shipped to the customer in an ‘Ikea style’ self-assembly package. This reduces shipping space by 90%, meaning an extensive reduction of shipping costs.”

The first lighting system in the Basic line is the BU50. Its seven HPS fixtures promote photosynthesis by applying PAR light and additional heat, which enables and reinforces grass growth on all sports playing surfaces under all circumstances. The BU50 treats a surface of 50 square meters and recovers grass after games and events, to ensure pitch quality throughout the year regardless of climate conditions.

Grow Lights For Schools & Local Clubs

In due course, more products within the Basic line will follow. SGL founder Nico van Vuuren: “Almost 20 years ago we introduced grow lights to the world of football, which then started a revolution in premier league pitches. Now, we can offer this opportunity to clubs throughout all levels of sport and we hope to do the same for them.”

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Fast Grow Fertiliser Expansion

Fast Grow Fertiliser Expansion: Fertiliser entrepreneur and founder of the Fast Grow Fertiliser brand, Shane Walsh has announced the expansion of his business into the professional pitch care market in Ireland and the UK.

Established as one of Ireland’s foremost suppliers of seaweed fertiliser, The Fast Grow Fertiliser Company already has a significant presence amongst Irish and UK garden retailers. Now, thanks to a sustained enquiry from the professional pitch care market Walsh, who founded Fast Grow in 2015 is now ready to expand into this important Irish market. Commenting on the effectiveness of his seaweed fertiliser Walsh says, “We produce 100% natural fertilisers with absolutely no artificial additives. Regardless of the weather, Fast Grow will continue to benefit the soil for 8 weeks, whereas with artificial fertiliser, if you get a good shower of rain, it will be washed through your pitches.” 

Fast Grow Fertiliser Expansion

Walsh believes that the growing interest amongst those who manage pitches in Ireland is partly due to the fact that there are significant environmental concerns over using artificial fertilisers and weed killers. Walsh suggests that “using natural products for pitch care is a great marketing message for any sports club and really captures the concerns and mood of the public about protecting the planet.”

Fast Grow Seaweed Plant Fertiliser is particularly effective on pitches where there is a heavy concentration of sand to aid drainage. Artificial fertilisers are typically leached through the soil quickly leaving the grass vulnerable to attacks from pest and diseases which in the past would have been treated with chemical sprays. Now with the reduction in the use of pesticides pitch care is more problematic. However using Fast Grow will improve the soil to the point where the grass will be healthy and strong and less susceptible to pest and diseases.

Fast Grow Seaweed Plant Fertiliser is available as a granular product, especially crumbed for pitch application and is available in either 10kg bags or 1000 kg bulks bags.

For further information visit www.fastgrowfertiliser.com

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Reesink Grow Small Tractor Range

Reesink Grow Small Tractor Range: Reesink Turfcare’s range of small tractors is expanding with the launch of the nimble TYM T194.

With the agility of a mower and the additional features and practicality of a small tractor, the T194 adds a completely new dimension to the TYM range.

Reesink Grow Small Tractor Range

The T194 joins the popular subcompact TS25 to bring customers who don’t need a larger framed mid-duty model but need the most amount of power, productivity, versatility and efficiency one compact package can offer, more choice.

TYM sales manager Steven Haynes says: “We’re responding to customer demand by adding another small product to our range of tractors. It appears customers, predominantly those with large gardens or small estates, and contractors, caravan parks and many sports venues, want a powerful option in a compact package. When it comes to towing, moving and maintenance tasks, these tractors are more than capable.”

Designed to appeal to customers looking to more commercial alternative to the ride on lawn mower and those wanting a small multi-purpose product, the T194 takes this to the next level and more. TYM had simplicity and practicality in mind when designing the T194 and because of this they have equipped it with features which customers are sure to appreciate, such as a powerful dual range HST transmission which includes the fatique busting “auto throttle” system which conveniently links the HST pedal to the engine throttle.

A simple and easy to understand dash panel is fitted to give the operator an overview of all of the tractor’s functions. In addition, TYM has worked on the overall control layout on this new model to ensure the tractor is easy to use with all key controls falling neatly to hand.

The T194 is equipped as standard with a 54-inch mid-mounted deck, with cutting heights from one to four inches. Mowing heights can be adjusted from the operator’s seat via the onboard height-of-cut lever which is easy and intuitive to set.

In addition, the T194 can also be specified with a front loader, further enhancing the uses for this small but powerful machine.

For customers looking to do more, the tractor has been equipped with category one three-point linkage and 540 rpm rear PTO which allows for numerous rear-mounted attachments to be fitted and enabling it to be used for other tasks such as sweeping and aerating, leading Steven to say: “The T194 is a true all-season machine.”

Increasing the power in Reesink’s small tractor offering is the TS25. Upping the ante from 19hp in the T194 to 25hp in the TS25, the TS25 has been appealing to a similar audience as the new T194 for a few years now, delivering all the benefits of the T194 but with more power. With a hydraulic lift capacity of 600kg, it’s renowned for delivering superb value and outstanding performance. An optional front loader and mid-deck further increases its versatility opening it up to many more applications.

Steven concludes: “Reesink brought TYM to the UK market because its tractors deliver enhanced performance and engineering excellence. These smaller tractors are no exception to that. They provide our customers an effective but compact solution for their turf maintenance needs.”

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Reesink Grow Training Programme

Reesink Grow Training Programme: Two new hands-on machinery mechanics courses have been added to Reesink Turfcare’s industry-leading training offering for 2019.

The two new courses, Air-cooled Engines and Basic Electrics and Hydraulics, have, says head of turfcare training at Reesink Neil Adams, been added according to demand: “With these two courses we’re going back to basics. There’s so much technology used in machinery maintenance now with diagnostics tools and the like and while that is incredibly helpful, our customers are telling us they want to learn the foundation of these subjects such as how to do a complete engine strip down. Both courses offer a solid start for those new to the industry and a fantastic refresher course for those with a few more years under their belt.”

Reesink Grow Training Programme

The one-day Air-cooled Engines course covers understanding the operation and function of a four-stroke engine, learning how to identify components and operate in-line diesel injection and petrol fuel systems, and diagnosing and repairing common faults associated with modern engines.

The two-day Basic Electrics and Hydraulics course includes understanding and reading electric and hydraulic symbols and schematics, how to use and demonstrate safe practices with electrical instruments and test equipment and how to diagnose and repair electric and hydraulic systems failures effectively. In addition, battery operation and construction, basic electric theory including Ohm’s Law, electrics and hydraulics safety and hydraulic oils and contamination procedures will also be covered.

Further information such as dates, which start in February for Air-cooled Engines and April for Basic Electrics and Hydraulics, can be found at www.reesinkturfcare.co.uk. There, turfcare professionals and employers keen to offer staff the opportunity to learn and expand their areas of interest and need, will also find all the details on Reesink’s biggest range of vocational training for land-based disciplines delivered with Lantra, the national awarding organisation. Alongside that is City & Guilds training and Toro and TYM manufacturer-backed turfcare machinery training.

Neil concludes: “These two new courses bring the total number of courses offered by Reesink to eleven, that’s one of the biggest selections from a distributor and is something we’re incredibly proud of. There’s something to suit everybody, at every level, whether you work in the golf and fine turf sector, sports or grounds sectors.

“Our range of training courses demonstrates our belief in continuously improving standards in the industry. We aim to make training convenient with some courses delivered at the trainees’ working premises, too, using familiar equipment in a familiar environment. This set-up means it could not be easier for customers to develop and invest in their employees.”

Visit www.reesinkturfcare.co.uk and select the Training tab to view this year’s training courses in full, plus find details such as dates and how to book.

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Jensen Grow With New Dealers

Jensen Grow With New Dealers: Arb professionals across the UK are set to see even more from Jensen woodchippers over the coming months, with exciting new dealer appointments in the East of England and Scotland formalised recently.

Constantly growing both in awareness and popularity, the Jensen brand is synonymous with quality, power and longevity, developed by the business who manufactured the world’s first woodchipper in Maasbull, Germany, in 1884.

Jensen Grow With New Dealers

In the East of England, we are pleased to be partnered with P. Tuckwell Ltd, established in 1954 by Len Tuckwell and with 7 depots across Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Suffolk, 3 of which will be offering Jensen sales, service and parts initially.

Tuckwell’s began selling groundcare machinery in 1986 and have since continued to expand and serve a wide variety of commercial industries, well established in their communities as machinery experts who supply high quality machinery and equipment.

Jason Clark, Forestry & Arboriculture Sales Specialist at Tuckwell’s commented, “we have identified the arboricultural market as being under-supplied in the Essex region and are looking to become a key supplier in this sector. Our new forestry and arboriculture line, launched in October, provides a wide-ranging selection of professional brands including tools, clothing, equipment in addition to the Jensen woodchippers.

Excited by the opportunity that the premium Jensen brand offers, Jason added: “Jensen woodchippers are a well-established and highly regarded brand within the arboriculture industry, manufactured to a high specification for optimum performance. Professionals will find the product to be a reliable option while reducing operator costs and improving productivity.

“Our carefully selected brands are recognised for being at the forefront of the industry, and Jensen’s products with their exceptional reputation will complement our existing machinery portfolio.”

Moving into brand new territory for the brand in Scotland, Jensen are now partnered with Field and Forest, who specialise in arboricultural machinery sales and hire. Field and Forest were first established in 2014 by Tom Brown and are delighted to be the first Jensen dealers north of the border.

Tom commented: “Field and Forest’s philosophy has always been to supply the highest quality machinery to the arb and forestry sectors – we see Jensen as being good, reliable, honest kit. We see the A530L as being a particularly versatile machine coming in at 750kg which means it is great for all users and can be towed without a specific towing licence.”

Based just outside Edinburgh in Broxburn, Field and Forest are the first Scottish dealers recruited by Jensen and will be providing sales, hire and service support.

“We are extremely excited to be working with Jensen and have taken delivery of our first few machines. Our aim is to build a short- and long-term hire fleet – and Jensen was the obvious choice of woodchippers having been tried and tested.”

In addition, the Jensen UK team has expanded with the full-time recruitment of Nathan Jacobs as a Jensen specialist sales representative. Nathan joined the business in the summer and has spent several months learning the ropes with the Jensen distributor as well as working with the team at T H WHITE Groundcare to develop his understanding of the brand from a dealer and end user perspective.

“I’ve been working in the arborist sector for ten years,” Nathan recounts, “initially as a field engineer and then moving into management of groundcare and treecare machinery hire. “I am enjoying my role within the Jensen UK business, it is a great challenge and I’m looking forward to continuing to build the brand across the country, supporting dealers and working with the manufacturer to reach the full potential that we know is possible for the Jensen brand.”

Nathan is a dedicated Sales Representative for the Jensen brand across the UK, working with Business Manager Bill Johnston to support the ever-growing dealer network and customers across the UK.

Naturally Bill is delighted with the expansion for the brand:

“The Jensen brand is ever-increasing in awareness, popularity and market share, and we are pleased to welcome new dealers into our growing network, especially in the East of England and Scotland where we see huge potential for the business in partnership with Tuckwell’s and Field and Forest.

“Both dealerships bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table in a range of sectors and I’m looking forward to working with their teams to develop our business in their regions alongside our existing selection of dealers across the country.”

Jensen continues to expand its dealer network across the UK, so keep your eyes peeled for even more new dealer appointments over coming months.

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Grow Lights At The Allianz Arena

Grow Lights At The Allianz Arena: Although LED technology isn’t new, there haven’t been any sports surfaces grown on a large scale successfully with the help of LED light yet. After extensive research, development and testing, Allianz Arena are convinced they will now be the first, by using the SGL LED grow lighting system.

Allianz Arena have purchased four LED systems from SGL, with integrated and fully automatic Infrared Radiation and irrigation, which together cover the entire width of the pitch. Since 2009 Allianz Arena had successfully been using the conventional HPS* lighting units from SGL. Their ambitious sustainability goals were the reason to look into possibilities for a more sustainable grow lighting system. Jürgen Muth, Managing Director Allianz Arena: “In order to get and keep a perfect pitch with a very good natural grass quality, the use of technical support has already been essential to us for many years. SGL and their light technology have been a very important and helpful partner since 2009. Now we climb a new step and look forward to the new LED Lighting Units coming from SGL. After extensive tests we are confident to get good results with these additional lights on our pitch.“

Grow Lights At The Allianz Arena

SGL founder Nico van Vuuren explains the challenge of creating top quality growth with LED: “LED is a fast developing technology and a lot of research is still being done in regards to its use for plant growth. There are many choices to be made in order to get the same quality at lower costs as the HPS armatures. Apart from looking at the energy efficiency side of the story, it’s crucial to look at the plant physiological side, practical side and investment costs too. LED has many advantages, such as the flexibility in light spectrum and the energy efficiency, but also some challenges such as the high investment costs, the lack of Infrared Radiation and the weight.”

While many know LED for its sustainable character, another unique feature that LED has is the possibility to create a so-called ‘light recipe’. This means you can choose the colours of the light spectrum that are used by the plant for specific purposes. The success of an LED armature greatly depends on the right choice of colours. Van Vuuren: “Grass uses red and blue light for photosynthesis. We’ve extensively tested different red to blue ratios, at our own test centre in the Netherlands and at the Allianz Arena. Based on the test results we’ve created the most efficient light recipe for grass growth, recovery and plant resistance.”

One of the reasons that grass has not yet been grown successfully on a large scale with LED is the lack of additional heat. In Europe grow lights are generally used in winter, in times that there is not enough natural light for optimal plant growth and temperatures are low. This means that, besides additional light, the plant also needs extra heat in order to get quality growth. Van Vuuren: “HPS armatures radiate PAR light and Infrared light to the surface while LED radiates almost no heat to the surface. Therefore we have added Infrared Technology to the LED unit. Naturally, this means you lose some of the energy savings you have obtained by using LED. In order to minimize the extra energy input, our Infrared armatures automatically turn on and off to reach and maintain the ideal temperatures for grass growth. Whether the energy saving is still sufficient for a high ROI, depends on the many growth circumstances that a pitch is subject to. Therefore we always run pitch data through our light source efficiency model to determine which light source is most efficient for the specific playing surface. The Allianz Arena is very dark very early in the year, which means they start their lighting season relatively early when temperatures are still high. Therefore they can save a significant amount of energy, since there’s no infrared required at those times.”

The SGL LED system was tested along with other LED lighting units on the Allianz Arena pitch, to compare efficiency, quality and user friendliness of the system. The SGL LED grow lighting system has been able to tackle the challenges and achieve top quality, with a system that is affordable and easy operable by the grounds teams. The LED lighting units will be used along with the HPS systems, with the goal to phase-wise switch to all LED in the coming years.

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Pitchworks Grow With New Area Manager

Pitchworks Grow With New Area Manager: Pitchworks, market specialists in supplying superior ground equipment and products to the sports industry, have confirmed the appointment of Lee Williams as its new Area Manager. Lee’s role will involve covering North Wales, Shropshire, Merseyside, Cheshire and surrounding areas.

Founded in 1993 by former Manchester United FC player Garry Worrall, Pitchworks has significantly grown in size and reputation over recent years.

Pitchworks Grow With New Area Manager

The company prides itself on its commitment to develop close customer relationships which are created through its dedicated sales representatives who provide in-depth one-to-one consultations.

Lee’s previous roles have included being the Head Groundsman at Rydal Penrhos School – a position which he held for 30 years. With experience in the polo industry as well, Lee is also a keen golfer and has represented the County of Flintshire.

As the company continues to grow, the appointment of Lee is another step in the right direction and continues to ensure that the Pitchworks team is perfectly placed to understand the daily demands faced by modern day groundsmen and greenkeepers.

Lee can be contacted at lee@pitchworks.co.uk

For more information please visit www.pitchworks.co.uk or call 0161 427 0857.

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