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Shining a light on innovation in the amenity sector

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

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

Shining a light on innovation in the amenity sector

Shining a light on innovation in the amenity sector

The publication can be accessed here

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

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

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

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

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SAGE is on for summer 2021

SAGE is on for summer 2021: With the government’s announcement outlining the road map for this summer, SAGE is officially ON!

Join us from 27 – 29 July 2021, for the UK’s largest outdoor Sports and Grounds Expo .

SAGE is on for summer 2021

SAGE is on for summer 2021

Set in the stunning surroundings of the Three Counties Showground at the foot of the Malvern Hills, the show will feature hands-on demonstrations and experiences, offering visitors the chance to see and test out the latest products.

Visitors can also observe leading exhibitors showcasing their products, without any limitations on space, while also hearing the latest ideas from within the industry.

SAGE brings together grounds personnel from a broad range of sectors, providing an engaging and well-resourced environment. The expo will advise companies on how to improve efficiency and cost effectiveness, exploring and showcasing the products that can help.

The government’s announcement out of lockdown has really opened up the summer; SAGE now sits perfectly in the calendar, and provides a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors and to see what is on offer across the industry. Our motivation is to give visitors a hands-on experience, without compromising on safety, and at The Three Counties Show Ground this is easily achieved.” Says Event Manager Vicky Panniers

“Our aim is to provide an environment that will benefit everyone from grass roots to senior management; we are very excited about what is on offer and we look forward to seeing you all.” She continues.

The Sports & Grounds Expo will be the highlight of the industry calendar this summer, offering a safe and proactive environment for those operating across all sectors of the sports and grounds maintenance industry. SAGE is a free event open to all, who are interested in the sports and grounds industry.

For more information, contact the team today by email: team@sportsandgrounds.co.uk, by phone: +44 (0)1684 580101 or visit the website: www.sportsandgrounds.co.uk.

Visitor registration is now open – Go to www.sportsandgrounds.co.uk to register and to be kept up to date with what’s to come! Follow SAGE news on Twitter & Facebook for updates.

The safety of visitors and exhibitors is a priority, the latest health & safety advice will be implemented, security measures including social distancing have already been put into action, hand sanitiser will be readily available and free pre-registered bookings for all visitors to reduce queues are heavily encouraged.

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Indigrow signs on as BIGGA Partners

Indigrow signs on as BIGGA Partners: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has welcomed specialist fertiliser manufacturer Indigrow as the association’s latest Partner.

BIGGA Partners offer the highest level of support available to members of BIGGA, with the funding the association receives going a long way to underpin the Continuing Professional Development programme and all educational activity.

Indigrow signs on as BIGGA Partners

Indigrow signs on as BIGGA Partners

Indigrow is a specialist manufacturer of fertilisers and nutrients for the sportsturf market with over 75 years’ experience of operating around the world. Covering five continents and over 40 countries, Indigrow employs over 35 staff with qualifications covering all the aspects of agronomy required to promote healthy growth.

Bradley Foster, Indigrow, said: “Indigrow has long been a firm supporter of the activities of BIGGA and its members as the principles of highly-educated and qualified professionals are ones we appreciate and encourage across our own team. The desire to expand upon our own knowledge and innovate with new products and new methods of working is key if we are to overcome the challenges of the coming decade and I’m delighted that BIGGA and Indigrow will be working closer together to support the needs of the UK’s greenkeeping community.”

BIGGA Business Development Manager Lauren Frazer said: “Indigrow is a company that BIGGA has enjoyed a close relationship with over many years as the team was previously an education supporter. Their continuous product development helps create innovative, efficient and cost-effective products to suite the demands of the modern greenkeeper and so I am delighted the Indigrow team has made the decision to step up to Partner status. We are hugely proud of our relationships with all our Partners and we’re grateful for the incredible support they provide our membership, so I’m thrilled to welcome Indigrow to the line-up.”

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Whisper Twister on twice daily school run

Whisper Twister on twice daily school run: Since taking delivery of a Wiedenmann Whisper Twister in October last year, Chris Lynch, Grounds Manager at John Lyon School, Harrow-on the-Hill and his team have coined their own twice daily school run.

Their site, at Sudbury Fields in North West London, has five full size football pitches, three junior size pitches, 4 training zones and three cricket squares. On any given afternoon up to 150 pupils and PE staff from the independent day school, as well as outside lettings, make full use of the playing facilities.

Whisper Twister on  twice daily school run

Whisper Twister on twice daily school run

Every morning, with clean tractor tyres, one of the team takes their new blower over their Olympic-sized sand dressed hockey pitch, clearing debris and leaves. Then, switching to the natural turf of the football pitches and cricket outfields, they then take on the 2500m tree lined surroundings of the playing fields, to clear more debris and leaves.

“Most people assume that Autumn is the only time we suffer with excess debris, but you’d be surprised at the volumes we still need to clear over the whole year” said Chris Lynch. “We’re an exposed site and on occasion, where there’s abnormal amounts of wind, like the storms in mid-March with gusts to 60mph, we could easily spend nearly two days clearing up, but the whisper twister saves a significant amount of time in the process.”

“Clean tyres are essential when working on the MUGA, so you don’t bring anything from the fields onto the carpet to contaminate the infill.” continued Chris. “The work the blower does on the hockey pitch keeps it free of debris which is the key factor in keeping the drainage of the pitch working to a high standard and making the carpet as presentable as possible.”

“The work to the natural turf is also an essential part of the overall maintenance and care of the pitches. Where possible, you should always avoid leaving leaves or any other kind of debris on the surface. This will cause the soil to retain more moisture, causing extra movement of worms which prefer moving through wet soil trying to feed on the leaves leading to increased casting. By clearing a pitch, you will also help keep as much natural light going to the grass plant as possible and help the overall drainage and presentation.”

“From a Health & Safety standpoint, the Whisper Twister and its capacity to swivel 180° means the machine works for us and not the other way around.  Take our longest tree stretch at over 400m. Our previous blower in a fixed position meant that to operator often had to twist their body to see where they were going but with the hydraulic swivel feature of the Whisper Twister, this means the driver can operate the machine in a natural position most of the time. The blower is also excellent for working into those hard to reach areas we used to have to do by hand.”

Chris and his team are however using their Whisper Twister for lots of other maintenance tasks including car parks, school lawns and helping to blow off dead grass after raking the natural pitches working perfectly alongside the Wiedenmann Super 500 to present their pitches tidily ahead of fixtures.

Area Sales Manager, Grant Buckingham, from Wiedenmann UK dealer, Ernest Doe & Sons, at Esher, who supplied the machine, said: “The Whisper Twister has 200 m³ per minute of blow.  All that puff makes a significant impact to collecting and efficient work management. Chris chose the optional goose neck spout, so the wind nozzles can be set parallel to the floor. Tractors with just one double-spool valve can operate the “left to right” swivel action hydraulically and the “up and down” motion via an electric ram, thus not requiring a second hydraulic service which is not always standard. Chris and the team can also direct the outlet spout to a variety of angles depending on the conditions.”

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Hughes Bros and Battlefield take on Kubota equipment

Hughes Bros and Battlefield take on Kubota equipment: Kubota (UK) Ltd continues to strengthen its dealer network by announcing that two of its machinery dealers are to add the Kubota ground care equipment range to their existing Kubota tractor businesses, with immediate effect.

Shropshire-based dealers Hughes Bros and Battlefield Machinery will extend their product offerings to include a full range of compact tractors from 18-60hp, RTV utility vehicles, and commercial and domestic ride-on mowers, putting both dealerships on a path for further expansion into new markets.

Hughes Bros and Battlefield take on Kubota equipment

Hughes Bros and Battlefield take on Kubota equipment

“We’re extremely pleased to be able to support both Hughes Bros and Battlefield Machinery with the opportunity for further growth in these important sectors,” explains Tim Yates, agricultural and ground care sales manager, Kubota (UK). “This partnership will help Kubota to further strengthen its position in these key markets with the ability to cross-sell between agriculture and ground care customers.”

Hughes Bros Agricultural Engineers based at Oswestry, was established in 1973 by brothers Gary, Roy and Roger Hughes. A Kubota tractor dealer since 2012, the family-run business also has Kubota implements and Vicon machinery among its portfolio.

The business operates with a team of over 20 staff, and sees the expansion into ground care as an opportunity to strengthen its business, further enhancing its reputation as a supplier of premium quality tractors and equipment.

“There are great opportunities ahead, supplementing our existing agricultural business with Kubota’s prestigious ground care equipment,” says Richard Hughes, sales manager and partner in the family business. “We’ve been looking after many ground care customers with parts and servicing – now we can reinforce that with sales of new equipment.”

Battlefield Machinery was formed in 2017 as a Kubota tractor dealer based in Shrewsbury. Run by company directors Richard Evans and Meyrick Pope, the business is one that comprises a team of 14, of which six are mobile engineers. Battlefield Machinery has built a reputation on delivering first class service for its customers, and the extended portfolio will sit alongside the supply of Kubota Implements and Kverneland machinery.

“We’re delighted to have been given this opportunity to expand our business into new sectors,” says company director Richard Evans. “Ground care fits very well with what we already do – and the ability to now provide sales, service and support to schools, golf clubs, parks and sports grounds is a fantastic opportunity for all involved.”

“Our customer base has evolved, and a lot of that is linked to the prestigious brands we supply and service,” he says. “We also want to apply our ‘can-do’ approach to customer service and back-up to the ground care sector. All our customers must benefit from the same level of service and support.”

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Wayne Rooney on Derby pitch

Wayne Rooney on Derby pitch: Derby County boss Wayne Rooney says groundsmen up and down the country are “doing everything they can” to make sure pitches are in the best condition possible.

Read the full article from the Derby Telegraph here

Wayne Rooney on Derby pitch

Wayne Rooney on Derby pitch

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London Stadium relies on G860’s

London Stadium relies on G860’s: The London Stadium has recently increased its fleet of Dennis G860 cylinder mowers, and Head Groundsman James Williams has revealed exactly why.

James is an ambitious young groundsman and his prominent position at the London Stadium certainly is testament to this. The Welshman is about to embark on his fourth year in the role and understandably, he believes that 2020 has been the most challenging yet – but not for the reasons you might think.

London Stadium relies on G860's

London Stadium relies on G860’s

“It’s been a difficult year due to the pandemic,” he said. “The worst thing is waking up in the morning on a matchday and there’s just no spark because you know there will be no fans to showcase your pitch to.”

James obviously takes great pride in his work; he is hard-working, committed and works round the clock to ensure that the pitch is in the best possible condition. Anywhere he can make improvements he will strive to do so – and therefore when an opportunity presented itself, James was quick to seize it.

“When football started again, the Premier League announced that we have to prepare the pitch and leave it well alone five hours before kick-off – it used to be three,” said James.

“This would mean starting a lot earlier and so my CEO asked me if there was anything I needed which could help. Straight away, I told him that two more Dennis G860’s would be nice!”

The London Stadium already had three Dennis G860’s in its armoury when James arrived, and he was pleased to see a familiar mower – one which he had become accustomed to for many years previously.

“I used the G860’s the whole time I was at Swansea City FC,” he said. “I’m just extremely comfortable with them – they are reliable, adaptable and they get the job done to the high standard I expect.”

James isn’t the only groundsman to be of this opinion as many of his peers have long relied on the G860 to provide the perfect cut for sports turf. Lightweight at just 166kg; it is easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate.

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.

“The G860’s are normally brought out towards the end of the week once the pitch has been repaired to make sure that it is in the best shape going into a matchday.

“When the grass gets too thick, or if it’s dying off, we will use the verticutting cassette to clear that out – just to stop it from causing any thatch or disease. We probably verticut once a month as well as use the brush – both help to keep the pitch nice and healthy.

“The 8 bladed cutting cylinder always offers a fantastic finish,” continued James. “I like to cut down to 23mm for matchdays but if there is period when we’ve got a lot of games and training sessions on the pitch then I’ll take it up to 26mm for extra protection and coverage.”

The Dennis G860 was an instant hit when it was first developed and over the years it has proven to be one of the most popular sports turf mowers on the market. There is a reason behind its success according to James.

“Do you know what I like about the G860? It’s the fact that it hasn’t changed a lot. Dennis as a company has evolved with some other great machinery but the G860 doesn’t need to. Why would you evolve something that doesn’t need fixing? You can’t improve perfection.”

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 @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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Covid impact on tee times

Covid impact on tee times: The British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association commissioned a survey to find out the impact full tee times had on courses. The results are astonishing.

Read the full article from National Club Golfer here

Covid impact on tee times

Covid impact on tee times

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Foley Company pushes on in UK

Foley Company pushes on in UK: Despite the current difficulties effecting the Golf Industry globally Foley Company is still forging ahead in the UK. Impressing greenkeepers across the spectrum with the speed and versatility of the Foley range of spin & relief grinders and bed-knife grinders.

More and more are switching to Foley grinders including Open Championship venues St Andrews, Royal Liverpool and Carnoustie and other prestigious clubs such as La Grande Mare, Gerrards Cross and The Wisley.  Turf professionals have invested in the benefits that Foley grinders offer and other clubs benefit through their local dealership such as Farols, Double A Trading Co and Gibson Garden Machinery all investing in the latest Foley grinders. The most popular model’s in 2020 have been the 633 & 653 cylinder grinders with their Accu-Touch 3 Control and the 673, 661 bed-knife grinders.

Foley Company pushes on in UK

Foley Company pushes on in UK

Lani Togi St Andrews – Workshop Manager

“When it comes to saving time, the Foleys are a lot quicker than anything we’ve used before,” he began. “Previous grinders have been quite labour intensive, whereas we don’t have that issue now. The team really like using them, and if they’re happy using them, it makes it so much easier because they do a good job and we get the best results.

Craig Gilholm Royal Liverpool Course Manager

“When Ian came and introduced us to the Foley, we were already familiar with other grinders. So, discovering how great the Foley is, is a reflection on Ian. It was my confidence in him who I have known since 1998, my trust in his ability and the back-up service for the machines he sells, that really sold it to me. For us, our grinder is the most important tool in the shed and reliability is all. That is why, when we change our bottom blade grinder, we will again be looking to Foley.

Rick Hamilton La Grande Mare – Course Manager

“The main reason I choose to have Foley grinders is the principles of relief grinding. They are such excellent relief grinders, and although other manufacturers have good machines, but they don’t relief grind at the same level, and for me, that’s what it is all about,” he explained. Foley has always kept to the principles of that, and it’s something I believe is essential in maintaining a good quality reel and delivering and retaining the sharpest cut ; you have to relief grind.”

Oliver Longden – After Sales Manager for golf and turf at Farol Golf and Turf Machinery

“We had a look around at what else was available, but there was nothing comparable for what we need to do. The training function was another big plus for us. We sometimes get new technicians who haven’t used the machine before. It’s an exceptionally good feature because it shows them a step-by-step set-up and how to work it, so anyone can jump on it straight away and get going.”

Jamie Starnes – Owner and Engineer Starnes Engineering

“I was looking for something that was fully automated that would speed up the whole process, and something that could be set up quickly and easily that you can walk away from when possible to do other things and make use of the time. When I’ve used other grinders to relief grind, I’ve had to stand there and manually push and pull the machine through each individual blade whereas once the Foley is set up, you can leave it.”

A common factor behind investing in these machines was the desire for a quick high-quality automatic grind.

  1. The 633/653 are industry leading in their versatility and can complete quick touch-up spin grinds or return the reel to manufacturers specifications through relief grinding.
  2. The operation is fast and straightforward with the Accu-Reel Selector, and cylinder height stop automatically locating the reel for spin and relief grinding in one set-up.
  3. Pre-set relief angles are easily identified on the relief angle adjuster, which makes it effortless to grind the correct angles and achieve proper clearances for each reel type.

Using the optional Accu-Touch 3 Control makes this even easier. You tell the machine what you’re working on and it does the rest using pre-programmed spin speeds, relief torque and in-feeds. With or without the Accu-Touch 3, once the grinder has started, operators are free to continue with other tasks while grinding is completed.

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Ranger on the rails

Ranger on the rails: Known as ‘rail buggies’, utility vehicles are not new to the railway maintenance industry, but the development of the custom Polaris Rail Ranger presented an opportunity to innovate the design, including the introduction of technology and equipment which is normally reserved for bigger, more expensive plant equipment.

The custom Ranger was built by Fitzgerald Plant Services Ltd, an established provider of specialist services for the rail and construction industries, including repair work, maintenance, engineering and heavy haulage transport. Based in Cwmbran, South Wales, Fitzgerald Plant Services aims to provide a one-stop-shop for all of their customers’ requirements – including specialist solutions like the Polaris Ranger.

Ranger on the rails

Ranger on the rails

“These machines are very versatile and can be utilised in a number of different ways,” said Clayton Greenman, Fitzgerald Plant Services Ltd Engineering Manager. “That’s one reason why they’re so suited to working on the rails because it depends a lot on what kind of maintenance work the contractors are undertaking. Transporting personnel, towing trailers with tools and equipment, weed spraying, leaf clearance, track inspections – the Rail Ranger is the ideal vehicle to do it all.”

Supported by their local Polaris dealer – Usk & Wye Valley ATV Ltd – who serve the Monmouth and Forest of Dean areas, the Polaris Ranger was selected because of its refined cab that offers the option to be fully enclosed with the addition of doors, a windshield, rear panel and roof, alongside its class-leading capabilities and durability.

Initially building a prototype with a Polaris Ranger Diesel, Fitzgerald Plant Services will have delivered four Polaris Ranger vehicles to operate across UK rail lines by the end of this year, with many more custom builds planned for 2021.

“From the initial brief to the delivered prototype, the diesel machine took around three years to develop,” continued Clayton. “Building the machine in compliance with the Network Rail standards is understandably very time consuming due to the testing and documentation required. Development of the prototype petrol Ranger Crew XP 1000 took less than 4 months as we gained a lot of experience from the previous diesel project. Now we’re in series production, we can complete a full rail conversion in about 3 weeks.”

The custom Ranger vehicles are fitted with spacers to give them a wider track width, ensuring the tyres sit correctly on the railhead, as well as specially-mounted rail gear, an air braking system and hydraulic systems. As the Polaris chassis has been designed to accommodate a snow plough, the same mounting points could be utilised to fit the front rail equipment, however, the chassis had to be specially adapted for the rear equipment. The hydraulic system controls the raising and lowering of the rail bogies and the hydraulic trailer park brake, using a 12-volt DC electro/hydraulic power pack powered from the battery. There is also a 12-volt DC twin air compressor which powers the air brake system – a requirement for towing trailers on the UK rail infrastructure.

Fitzgerald Plant Services Ltd added its own custom display, controllers and software to control the various rail systems and operate as effectively as possible. The operator can get real-time updates on machine status and operate the functions via a user interface. There are also password-protected menus for service engineers where all the system diagnostic information and calibration settings are found.

For more information on the Polaris Ranger, please visit the Polaris Britain website here.

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