Posts

Turf management is coming home

Turf management is coming home: Scott MacCallum chats with Karl Standley and Andy Gray about their respective roles and the forthcoming European Championship.

We can all remember our first day at work. Mine? The train was late, I missed my connection and I had to hitchhike from Dundee to Perth, thus clocking into my first day of honest endeavour two and a half hours late, not fit for even the most basic of induction.

Turf management is coming home

Turf management is coming home

What a first impression! Imagine then, this fresh faced young lad cycling 15 miles, then hopping onto a train, all to get to his local club’s training ground to his first job in groundsmanship.

He’s teamed up with a senior team member, whose job is to guide him through his first day, and is handed the task, under supervision of course, of seeding four pitches and a goalkeeping area.

Up and down he goes, concentrating hard on producing the straightest lines he can muster. Heaving a great sign of relief, mission accomplished, he glanced back to see that the seeder hadn’t been turned on!

His mentor just said, “Do it again”, and a first lesson had been delivered.

But from such inauspicious beginnings great careers can be salvaged, and I’m not talking about mine.

Eighteen years on, that callow youth is preparing the most famous football pitch in the world for the country’s biggest football event since football came home in 1996 – the delayed Euro 2020s. Still a young man, Karl Standley, is Head Groundsman at Wembley Stadium, and that first job was at Southampton Football Club.

And mentor? The guy who let Karl carry on, knowing that the longer he went without realising the seeder was inactive, the better the lesson would be? Well, Andy Gray became Head of Grounds at the FA’s St George’s Park last September, and is now working hand in glove with Karl, and with the England team management, to ensure training conditions conducive to aiding England’s assault on the Championships.

The odds on Karl and Andy going on to hold two of the most prestigious jobs in world groundsmanship would have been so high, that if, during their break on that very first day, they’d popped down to the bookies and put tenner them both reaching where they are now, they could be retired rather than facing up to the most exciting few weeks of their careers.

Ah, the Euros. Well, this time last year Karl was working on a number of scenarios based on the impact of Covid 19, on the assumption that they would still be going ahead on the expected dates. It would be fair to suggest that what ultimately has happened with the impact of the pandemic would not have been covered by any FA scenario, or anyone else’s for that matter.

Andy, on the other hand, started last year planning maintenance programmes for Southampton before the FA came calling and he started work on September 1, last year.

“When we heard those words from Boris Johnson about the seriousness of the pandemic and the lockdown we put everything on hold, but as we all know Mother Nature doesn’t have an ‘Out of Office’ and the grass keeps growing,” recalled Karl.

“So, for us, it was a case of putting a protective bubble around the team and carrying on the good work. Our main focus was on making sure our team was safe, making sure they were healthy, making sure we were aware of any issues in their home life that we should be aware of and that they knew they had our support.”

Like everyone else at the time, Karl’s crystal ball was in need of a complete reboot and wasn’t providing any hints to help his path forward, but he and the team were able to do what they could to keep on top of things.

“Looking ahead to what the next few months were to hold was difficult as no-one knew whether the lockdown was going to be one month, two months or three. Everybody was wanting to know when football was going to come back. It was the one question they were asking.

“But, at the stadium, we just wanted to keep the pitch as healthy as possible so that we were ready for when football did come back.

That was our plan,” explained Karl.

Turf management is coming home

Turf management is coming home

“Luckily our roles are primarily outdoors in the fresh air and we were able to put protocols in place for when we were in the building.

It was a difficult situation to manage but everyone bought into the mindset of keeping everyone safe. The key, as always, is good communication,” explained Karl, who worked two days a week from home during the lockdown, swapping with other members of the team, to ensure minimal numbers were working on site at any one time.

Much of their work was put on hold but as Karl readily admits, “It’s hard for grounds teams to stop and sit still”, and they were still constantly out on the pitch refining what they do.

“We were regularly raking and regularly verti-cutting, constantly on the pitch trying to thin the plant out, make it work and keep it healthy. It was a case of how quickly can we do four rakes of the playing surface and how quickly can we recover.

We ran a few scenarios during lockdown so we could collect data and analyse the results we were getting from the pitch so that we would be ready for when football came back and for the Euros too.”

While Karl was grappling with the consequences of Covid and lockdown at Wembley, Andy was dealing with similar issues at Southampton where he was Grounds Manager.

“When it all stopped nobody had a clue what was going on. I remember that Premier League football was suspended for two weeks and our next match on April 4th was called off and then it went further into April and then further after that. We eventually got going again mid to late June, but it was tricky for us to know what we could and should do in terms of pitches and training ground.

“If we’d known on March 23rd that we had until June 23rd we’d have ripped all the pitches up and renovated them there and then,” said Andy, speaking from his new place of work 135 miles north of Wembley.

When play did start and one season quickly merged into the next, it didn’t give much time for the regular close season renovation work and while Andy believes that pitches have suffered as a result, he can see a small upside to the situation.

“We are often told we are mad to be tearing up a perfectly good pitch, but what has happened this year shows the importance of the work we do between seasons. This season has proven why we do what we do.”

Andy took up post at St George’s Park on September 1, but there was no gentle introduction to his new job as, on that very same day, the England squad arrived to prepare for their autumn internationals.

“I actually started when arguably the pandemic was at its least severe bur come November, lockdown two, the tier system and then lockdown three in January, it’s been pretty tough. But I’ve always said there are plenty of people worse off then me. I’m very lucky to have what I’ve got and to be doing the job that I do,” said Andy, who is living in rented accommodation in Burton and travelling back to his family in Southampton when work allows.

Asked if the situation has been tricky for him Andy is quick to come up with another word entirely -“exciting”.

“It’s the FA, it’s England and it’s what I really wanted to do,” he said.

Andy will have around nine months to prepare St George’s Park for the Euros with the state-of-the-art facility acting as the nerve centre for Gareth Southgate’s campaign to win a second major title.

“It has been a learning curve since I joined. I’d been at Southampton for 22 years and of the 350 or so employees I was the third longest serving, so I’ve gone from everyone knowing that I was there to being the new person. I’ve never experienced that before,” he explained.

However, the pandemic has provided Andy with time which he has used wisely.

Turf management is coming home

Turf management is coming home

“With nobody around for long periods of time it has allowed me to get to know the site and appreciate where things are, it’s just that there are people who I haven’t met yet in the flesh. We have video calls but it’s not the same.”

I asked if Andy had a pre-determined plan to work within at St George’s, if he had the opportunity to put his own stamp on things.

“On the whole I’ve got a free hand to do what I want to do. It was a strange situation in that there was nine months between my predecessor Scott (Brooks) leaving and me taking over. The team here ran things until I started. That, together with the pandemic, meant that there was no official handover.

“But I Iike to think that I got the job on the back of the work I’d done at Southampton, not just on the pitch, but staff-wise and business-wise too.

So that is what I’m looking to impose here. Why change what I was doing when it was successful in the first place?”

Back at Wembley and Karl is having to prepare for the Euros while taking on board all the re-scheduled matches from last year, the matches which offer all levels of player the unique honour of playing on the hallowed Wembley turf.

“We’ve got seven*matches at the Euro’s including both semi finals and the final. We’ve also got five training sessions and probably about seven or eight closing ceremony rehearsals, plus the ceremony itself. But we’ve just had a busy month with backlog from last season to catch up on.

“While just two weeks ago we had the Papa John’s Trophy, Portsmouth against Salford, and that had been held over from 2020, while we have the FA Vase and the FA Trophy as a double header on the same day. There is also the FA Cup semis and the final itself, and the Carabao Cup final.

But the famous pitch is prepared to the highest standard irrespective of whether it is Sutton United playing Harrogate Town or England playing Scotland in the final of the Euros.

“It is all done the same. When we are classed as a neutral venue we prepare the pitch so that it will play best and, for me, that’s a quick game of football. That’s what we like to see, that’s what brings the entertainment and that’s what the players are practising at their training venues. So, whether it is the FA Vase or the FA Cup final itself it is always the same.”

Ensuring the pitch is at its best is a team effort and Karl is blessed with an experienced group of lads, all of whom have an input into how the highest possible standards are met, with cultural methods to the forefront.

“On the back of a game we’ll tear the pitch to pieces and just get the grass plant working and keeping it as healthy as well. Cultural over chemical, that’s our philosophy,” explained Karl, who shares Andy’s view that the best pitch is a “short pitch and a wet pitch”.

“It also about data checking to ensure that the rotational resistance is there. We also look at textile strength. It is key to me when the first bit of sunshine touches the first blade of grass in March that we know we are charging that pitch up and that we have that textile strength.

Without the data it’s a guessing game. Everyone can have an opinion but I’m always looking at the key data to make sure we are ready.”

Back at St George’s and Andy is gearing up for a big month and having just had both the full and under 21 national teams on site is becoming more familiar with the England staff.

“When I arrived at the same time as the squad last September that first camp just flew by but this last week, having both squads here meant I got to know more people and recognising backroom staff on TV from their time here meant I really felt a part of it.

“So, for June we are treating St George’s Park as a club training ground for, hopefully, five or six weeks and within that we’ll have daily dialogue with either Gareth, or his assistant Steve Holland. The medical team play a huge part as well, while I’ll also be speaking with Karl as well because we will be wanting to produce the same conditions to train on as they will have to play on,” he explained.

“It is a real honour to be a part of it. Like anyone who follows football, as a kid I watched Italia ‘90, Euro ‘96, France ‘98 and there was a real buzz about the country. That was one of the things which attracted me to the role in the first place.

“Last week I was able to stand at the side of the pitch watching them train for 20 minutes and I really appreciated what a proper privilege it was.”

Andy visited Karl at Wembley not long after he started but the chat by Teams’ phone on a regular basis covering topics as wide ranging as football pitches; vintage football shirts; family and Panini stickers as both Karl and Andy were and still are avid collectors.

It isn’t surprising though given that shared history they have going right back to the Southampton training base in 2003, and that first meeting on a noisy SISIS Hydromain. Karl was an avid Saints fan and season ticket holder and was one of the ecstatic crowd when Matt Le Tissier scored the very last goal at the Dell, before the club moved to St Mary’s.

“We do go back a long way and have shared trips abroad and went to each other’s wedding. So, it is more than just work for us,” revealed Andy.

So what is it about Southampton which has produced, not just Karl and Andy, but also Dave Roberts, now Head of Grounds at Liverpool; Graeme Mills, current Southampton Head Groundsman; Ricky Rawlings and Dan Osbourne.

“For the first nine years of my career I worked under Dave Roberts and I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it forever, I could not have asked for a better mentor, tutor, teacher for those early years. That was where my start came from.

“Southampton isn’t just a great academy for players. It’s a great academy for ground staff as well.”

And while Karl wasn’t at Southampton for as long as Andy, he is also quick to credit Dave Roberts for the wonderful start he gave him to his career.

Turf management is coming home

Turf management is coming home

“He was my first real manager and I really soaked it all in. Dave is calm, cool headed and believes in his team. He was always open with me and that mind set is one thing I’ve taken into my grounds team here at Wembley,” said Karl, of his former boss.

So, when that Euro 2020 trophy is held aloft by Harry Kane, or could it be Andy Robertson, at around 10pm on Sunday July 11, or 10.30, if Scotland have had to rely on penalties again, two men – and another sitting watching on TV in Liverpool – will be thinking back to that first meeting on the rusty old Hydromain on the Southampton training ground and appreciating, in Karl’s case, that it is not how you start it’s how you finish.

See Karl and Andy talk with Scott MacCallum on the Turf Matters YouTube channel

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’’.

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Don’t lockdown your turf management

Don’t lockdown your turf management: While golf courses are facing unprecedented times, greenkeepers are being urged to keep on top of maintenance to ensure courses are in good condition for when golfers return.

Colin Mumford, technical manager at Bayer, says that seasonal conditions, such as plummeting temperatures and excess rainfall, combined with the challenges posed by Covid19, have affected many courses.

Don’t lockdown your turf management

Don’t lockdown your turf management

“Previous lockdowns prevented planned work from going ahead, and once the courses were open, golfers returned in their masses making the management and maintenance of courses very challenging,” says Colin.

He adds that the cold and wet conditions we’ve experienced this winter could also contribute to long-term turf damage. “Despite being in another lockdown, it’s vital that greenkeepers do all they can to start the year with ‘stress free’ turf, as a healthy course will be less susceptible to weeds, pests and diseases,” says Colin.

Unlike previous lockdowns, at the moment, greenkeepers can undertake maintenance work, which should allow them to catch up from last year, weather permitting.

“Preventative disease methods should be undertaken now to reduce the risk of disease appearing later in the year,” says Colin.

“Keeping surfaces dry by switching or brushing dew off the playing surface should be done daily to help reduce disease outbreaks and ensure a cleaner cut when mowing. And if plant health is a concern, the height of cut (HOC) can be raised slightly, but be mindful that courses may open at short notice, and may require a rapid return to the original HOC which isn’t ideal,” says Colin.

“If it isn’t too wet, aeration or verti-draining can help remove below ground compaction allowing water to move more effectively through the rootzone, preventing waterlogging and surface damage to the course.

“Another job that can be done, is cutting back overgrown trees on the course to minimise shaded, damp environments in these areas,” he adds.

Colin warns that golf courses have been one of the first venues to open following a lockdown and therefore temporary courses may need preparing if the weather is still poor. “Letting players onto frozen courses that are beginning to thaw can result in roots breaking due to surface movement, leading to long-term course damage.

“It’s also worth considering re-routing player traffic flow around the key areas of the course and roping off any high traffic areas to avoid turf getting churned up,” adds Colin.

“Turf stress at this time of year can put the plants under pressure, leaving them more susceptible to problems later in the year, and therefore it’s important to try and keep courses as healthy as possible from the outset,” he says.

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Woodland Management made easier for Wildernesse GC

Woodland Management made easier for Wildernesse GC: A CM220TMP woodchipper from GreenMech has transformed the woodland management programme for Wildernesse Golf Club.

The heavily tree-lined woodland/parkland course in Sevenoaks, Kent, requires year-round thinning, pruning and felling. The new 9” machine has significantly improved the productivity for Course Manager Mark Todd and his team.

Woodland Management made easier for Wildernesse GC

Woodland Management made easier for Wildernesse GC

With classified ancient woodland, Chance Wood, at the very heart of the course, the scale of the task at hand led Mark to look for an upgrade to their existing machinery at the end of 2019. “I spoke with our local dealer Burden Bros who suggested we upgrade from a 6” to a 9” machine and demonstrated the GreenMech CM220TMP. You could see straight away how it was going to be so much more effective at dealing with the large quantities of material we have to process.”

The course woodland predominantly consists of beech, birch and oak, however it’s the holly in the understory of the canopy that causes a real issue. “Some areas are smothered in it and the awkwardly shaped branches used to be really difficult to get into our old chipper unless you spent time snedding all the branches off. The CM220TMP’s large hopper means we can take down holly trees up to 20-foot-tall and get them straight into the chipper – reducing handling and stopping backlogs. Thinning this out improves not only the aesthetic and playability qualities, it also allows extra air and light to get down to the playing surfaces.”

“Being tractor mounted means we can take the chipper wherever it is needed, with the chip we produce dispersed in the woodland, used in some of the decorative beds or given to the members for use in their gardens. One of the really great things is GreenMech’s round disc blade chipping technology. Not only does it process more efficiently but when they blunt you simply turn them to the next sharp edge which means that, compared to traditional straight blades, you get three times the life out of each set.”

Mark was also thankful for having the chipper at their disposal during the recent storms, where the course experienced strong winds and fallen trees. “The chipper disposed of these without a problem” Mark explains. “While it comes into its own over the winter months, we have projects to work on throughout the year and with the CM220TMP, these have now become much easier.”

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Golf Research Enterprise Driving Knowledge In Course Management

Golf Research Enterprise Driving Knowledge In Course Management: Golf course managers and greenkeepers have the unique opportunity to determine the direction of an innovative new research programme led by STRI and supported by BIGGA.

The Golf Research Enterprise (GREEN) is aimed at identifying and finding solutions to the problems facing golf course professionals now and in the future.

Golf Research Enterprise Driving Knowledge In Course Management

Crucially the decision as to what GREEN has to research is down to you – the people who manage golf turf. What do you think are the most difficult aspects of golf course management, where a focused investigation could determine best management practices?

The challenges of golf turf management are varied; they could be UK wide or may be very localised. What keeps you awake at night? What turf issue do you Google most? These are the issues GREEN would like to identify, investigate and disseminate the resulting knowledge for the good of the golfing industry.

How GREEN works

Tell us your burning issues on your golf course by logging into and completing a short questionnaire survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GRenterprise. We will collate all the responses and prioritise those of greatest concern. The priority list will be presented and discussed at BTME 2020.

Next steps

Once priority topics are established, GREEN will develop a research programme to investigate priority issues with trials work commencing at STRI’s research facility in Bingley in 2020.

Depending on the nature of the research programme instigated, you may have the opportunity to be part of the GREEN research programme by completing parts of the research objective on your golf course under the guidance of STRI. Therefore, we would be grateful if you would indicate your willingness to be part of any trials work on your returned questionnaire.

The results

The results from the research programme will be updated periodically in seminars at BTME and STRI Research Days, online and via social media as well as through articles in Greenkeeper International and STRI’s Bulletin.

STRI and BIGGA are both committed to working closely with this initiative to assist in successful delivery and dissemination of results.

Dr Ruth Mann, head of global research at STRI, said: “The Golf Research Enterprise will give all golf turf managers the opportunity to influence decisions on where research should be focused to create solutions to the everyday problems on the golf course. I’m looking forward to discovering how we can address these challenges and further enhance golf course management.”

BIGGA chief executive officer, Jim Croxton, said: “What makes the Golf Research Enterprise different from those initiatives that have come before it is that greenkeepers are being placed at the very heart of the project. BIGGA members have the opportunity to help shape the direction of the research and they will also be able to play an active role in any trials and practical studies that arise.

“In such a rapidly changing industry, it’s vitally important that there’s clarity in the advice being given to our members. If we are to meet the ever-rising challenges of golf course management, we need to have answers to the questions that are being asked and so this initiative from the STRI is very welcome.

“STRI are making a significant investment and we are delighted to be working alongside them. We urge everyone in the turf industry to get involved in this initiative”.

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

SCAG Expand Debris Management Range

SCAG Expand Debris Management Range: The “V-Ride” range of Stand-On mowers from SCAG, supplied in the UK by STM has had a new addition: The Windstorm.

This is, in fact, an addition to the SCAG Debris Management range, and is a 37HP stand-on driving unit based on the V-Ride 2 with front-mounted centrifugal blower with a massive 6000 cfm output. The intake size is 375mm and there is a two-directional output nozzle with angle control operated from the fully-featured and comprehensive  dashboard. 10.5mph forward speed and up to 5mph reverse speed makes for a versatile and nimble machine.

SCAG Expand Debris Management Range

Large size comfort cushion for the operator to lean against, plus large diameter padded steering controls that require minimal effort for the lever action make this a comfortable, powerful, versatile and productive machine.

The machines are available through the STM dealership network. To find your nearest dealer ring 01789 488450, email info@st-mach.com or look at our website www.st-mach.com

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

New Biostimulants For Turf Health Management

New Biostimulants For Turf Health Management: From establishment to recovery, a full season approach to turf health management is now on offer, following the launch of two new biostimulant products by Arysta LifeScience.

Tonivit® and Double Edge® join existing product Goemar Turf® to form a triple pronged approach to turf management, offering bespoke solutions for three different stages of sward development.

New Biostimulants For Turf Health Management

Technical Support for Arysta LifeScience UK & Ireland, Stephen Olive, said: “Together, these three products complement each other as a programme, but also individually offer solutions for specific uses through the season, whether that’s establishing newly seed turf, improving overall health status, or boosting recovery following high traffic activity.

“Manufactured to the same standard as our traditional crop protection products, our biostimulants are highly concentrated thanks to the development of a refined cold-press extraction process at our manufacturing plant in St. Malo, France. This means the application rate for all three products is between just 1 and 3L/ha.”

Aimed at the establishment of turf is Tonivit – a new biostimulant formulated from natural GA142 seaweed extract with added P & K. It activates root growth, root activity & tillering to quickly establish a stronger sward for newly seeded or re-seeded areas.

The effect of Tonivit on emergence speed is demonstrated through trials, which have shown that newly sown leys treated with the product reach 70% sward density three weeks earlier than those untreated.

Central to the range is existing product Goemar Turf, formulated from GA142 with added MgO, Cu & N. Goemar Turf improves the overall health and maintenance of turf, particularly for areas of aesthetic value such as golf courses. It can also help to prepare grasses for environmental stresses such as drier conditions throughout summer.

Completing the set is Double Edge. Double Edge is aimed at turf recovery, and uniquely combines two complementary biostimulants to further boost root growth and improve stress relief. Double Edge features 18 different vegetable amino acids along with GA142, N, P & K.

Stephen added: “We recognise that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not necessarily best for biostimulant products in the amenity turf sector.

“Following the success of Goemar Turf, which is used at some of the top golf courses in the world, we wanted to develop our portfolio further to create targeted solutions that address some of the main problems that greenkeepers and groundsmen face.

“Biostimulants are an important part of an integrated approach to turf protection, demonstrating a commitment to the sustainability agenda. We are proud to offer these three innovative products to the amenity turf sector.”

All three products were showcased at BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition in Harrogate last month.

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

New Management For Machinery Distributor

New Management For Machinery Distributor: The UK distributor of Ferris, Wright and Spider mowers and Jensen woodchippers has announced new leadership this week.

Divisional Director Tim Lane, who established the Machinery Imports business at T H WHITE in 2016 and has been instrumental in the growth and success of the business, is moving onto a new role after 19 years at the company.

New Management For Machinery Distributor

Bill Johnston now assumes the role of Head of Machinery Imports from 1st February, taking full responsibility of the management of the division.

“I joined the T H WHITE Group in 2015 as a woodchipper specialist and since early 2017 have been responsible for Jensen UK, building relationships with dealers across the country and developing a comprehensive and growing dealer network for the brand” says Bill.

“My new role will involve further promotion of our four brands and further growth of the dealer network throughout the UK, using the momentum gained already in the past three years created by our experienced team.

“I have identified areas where we still have further opportunities for both our team and our existing dealers to grow and am excited for the future of our business.”

Bill will manage the Machinery Imports team of Area Sales Managers who will continue to support all the UK Ferris, Wright, Spider and Jensen dealers, as well as remaining the primary point of contact for Jensen woodchipper enquiries.

“Following a superb 18 months with Jensen, I feel we have barely started our journey with this premium brand. I’ll be working closely with our Jensen Woodchipper Specialist, Nathan Jacobs, to ensure we maintain the same level of dealer support.

“We have already identified opportunities for further gains in our parts business and will be appointing additional staff in that area in the coming weeks to support our parts offering.”

Focusing on the future of the business, Bill has impressive plans and aspirations in place for all departments, commenting:

“All four brands will benefit from technical and sales training that we are rolling out to our dealer network throughout 2019. We have plans in place to continue increasing brand awareness across the board and the business is forecasted to grow market share as a result.

“Particular focus will be given to our parts department where our sales and expertise grows year on year and with additional investment will create an enviable and highly efficient after-sales function.”

Prior to joining the T H WHITE Group, Bill spent 22 years managing Character Landscapes.

Based in central Wiltshire and operating from three depots, his company maintained a reputation for quality, with the business achieving significant repeat custom. Designing, building and maintaining some of the finest gardens in the South of England, working on a mix of private historic homes and parks, commercial developments and sensitive environmental sites.

Bill believes the success of his company was a direct result of the staff employed, with a diverse skill set and unequalled enthusiasm. Everyone within the company whatever their position, from the team of garden designers to the teams undertaking ground maintenance in all weathers were valued by both Bill and the customers.

“I fully recognise how a motivated team can achieve great success and will continue to pursue this aim throughout my career.”

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

John Deere Management Changes

John Deere Management Changes: John Deere has announced an important change to its European senior management team, effective from 1st January 2019.

Dennis Docherty has been appointed vice-president, agriculture & turf sales and marketing for Europe, North Africa and the Near & Middle East. He succeeds Christoph Wigger, who has been appointed vice-president, global crop care platform for Deere’s worldwide Agriculture & Turf Division.

John Deere Management Changes

Since Denny Docherty joined John Deere in 1998 he has held numerous roles with increasing responsibilities in sales, strategic planning and marketing for both key divisions of Deere & Company, Construction & Forestry and Agriculture & Turf.

In his most recent role as director, ag & turf global marketing, Denny has overseen global planning focused on an innovative product and production system portfolio. The most prominent products launched under his leadership include the new 5R Series, 6230R & 6250R, 8400R and 9RX Series tractors, in response to European customer requirements. Most recently, the launch of the 9000 Series self-propelled forage harvester range is another example of his customer-centric leadership approach.

In his new role, Christoph Wigger will focus on expanding the company’s crop care portfolio with special emphasis on precision agriculture, as John Deere seeks to further grow its global leadership position in this area. Chris will also define growth strategies for recently acquired companies such as PLA, Mazzotti and King Agro, and drive the introduction of Blue River’s precision farming technology.

John Deere Management Changes

Chris Wigger joined John Deere in 1991 and has held several roles of growing responsibility in sales and marketing. For the past 11 years he has led the successful transformation of John Deere’s sales & marketing organisation as well as the Dealer of Tomorrow strategy in Europe, the CIS, North Africa and the Near & Middle East.

For more information, visit: www.JohnDeere.co.uk

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Disease Management Trials

Disease Management Trials: This year’s STRI Research event will see Bayer continuing its study into disease prevention in pursuit of the best programme for tackling Microdochium Patch in light of recent losses to curative chemistry.

Dr Colin Mumford, Bayer technical manager, explains that the new research will build on results from last season’s set of trials, that showed preventative options outshone curatives.

Disease Management Trials

“This year the aim is to reinforce these findings and see how we can improve on current disease management programmes, with alternative and new products, as well as different application rates and timings.

“A variety of different fungicides will be put to the test, including Exteris® Stressgard® and Dedicate®, alongside a number of plant health promoting products, from two of our main distributors, Headland Amenity and Rigby Taylor,” he says.

“Once again, we’ll be testing the Microdochium Patch cover, colour and quality of the turf, with a variety of programmes including preventative fungicides, plant health products, and the last remaining curative options that mimic a more traditional approach.”

He points out that the conditions this year could be quite different to the low disease threat experienced by the STRI last season. “The turf has taken a bashing this summer, with prolonged periods of high temperatures and strong sunlight, so it’ll be very interesting to see how the turf fairs with a stressful start to the disease season.”

The trials are due to start in late August, to pre-condition the turf for improved health, and should run until spring 2019, to see if there is any effect on green-up ahead of the key playing season.

Colin explains that during the event, along with representatives from Headland Amenity and Rigby Taylor, the Bayer team will present on each of the combinations being applied to the plots, their regularity and the expected outcomes.

For more information, please visit www.environmentalscience.bayer.co.uk, Headland Amenity www.headlandamenity.com or Rigby Taylor www.rigbytaylor.com

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

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.