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BTME in the spring

BTME in the spring: It was strange, but reassuring at the same time, to arrive in Harrogate for BTME 2022. After a gap of 26 months since the last edition, which seemed like an absolute lifetime, it was great to see so many familiar faces and catch up with friends and acquaintances alike. Given the last two years, every returned smile – it was a mask free show – was proof that the deliverer of that smile had come through Covid and was still standing.

What was strange, though, was that it was all happening, not just at the end of March, but during a hot spell. The weather was lovely and seeing people enjoying themselves in pavement cafes and bars just added to the weirdness of it all.

BTME in the spring

BTME in the spring

As for the BTME itself. So much was as usual. Even the most skilled navigator could be seen examining the wall maps trying to establish not just where they were going but where they were. The multiple halls – complete with two Reds – are a feature of the Harrogate International Centre and very much the price you pay to enjoy everything else about the Harrogate experience.

It wouldn’t be unfair to hold up the NEC Hall, in which SALTEX is held, as a superior venue, but then that particular corner of Birmingham doesn’t possess what Harrogate offers. In an ideal world someone would come up with an NEC-style Hall in a Harrogate-style location.

That wonderful weather was, however, a doubled edged sword. Yes, it was great for those who were in and around Harrogate, but it was also perfect golf course prep weather, and warm enough to encourage grass growth. So many regular attendees had to remain back at their courses. A common opinion was that it was the Course Managers and Head Groundsmen who made the trip leaving behind the team to get on with the work, so the quality of visitor was high.

It did mean, however, a drop in visitor, and stand, numbers which will impact on BIGGA’s bottom line.

To be fair to BIGGA, and CEO Jim Croxton, there was no attempt to disguise the figures, instead embracing the fact that the BTME had returned and that so many had, in fact, made the effort to attend.

For those who prefer the lightweight shirt to the heavyweight jacket there is disappointment as BTME will return to its regular January slot in 2023.

One interesting aside. There was a significant number of people who Covid while in Harrogate. I remained clear but I heard of at least six people, with whom I had one-to-one chats during the three days, who subsequently tested positive.

We are not out of the woods and have to remain ever vigilant.

Visit the Turf Matters YouTube channel for exclusive BTME videos

The latest XGT 40VMax products

The latest XGT 40VMax products: Leading power tools manufacturer Makita UK has expanded its XGT 40VMax range of machines with the launch of the DK0014G 2-Piece Combo Kit, DK0172G XGT 2-Piece Combo Kit, KT001G Kettle, KP001G Planer, HS011G Circular Saw and VC005GL, VC002GL and VC004GL Dust Extractors.

DK0014G and DK0172G XGT 40VMax 2-Piece Combo Kits

A must have for any tradesperson, the DK0014G and DK0172G combo kits both feature two of Makita’s most popular professional cordless power tools in a convenient storage solution. The DK0014G includes the TD001GZ XGT 40VMax Impact Driver and HP001GZ XGT 40VMax Combi Drill. The DK0172G includes the TD001GZ XGT 40VMax Impact Driver and HP002GZ XGT 40VMax Combi Drill.

The latest XGT 40VMax products

The latest XGT 40VMax products

Both kits also include two 2.5Ah XGT batteries and the DC40RA Fast Charger, and everything is helpfully packed into a type 3 Makpac case for easy storage and transportation. The kits also come with the 191C10-7 ADP10 charger adaptor, so tradespeople can use the DC40RA to charge their existing LXT batteries, making it even easier to switch between tools and tasks.

With the TD001GZ close at hand tradespeople can easily remove or drive screws into harder materials – and the HP001GZ and HP002GZ make screwdriving and drilling applications a breeze.

KP001G XGT 40VMax Planer

The incredibly powerful KP001G is perfect for smooth, rough and thin planing. It has a planing width of 82mm and an impressive cutting depth of 4mm, and can deliver a no-load speed of 15,000rpm for maximum efficiency and rapid cutting. With left and right chip ejection, the brushless KP001G also features a foot on the base plate to raise the base of the machine off the bench or material when not in operation, which protects the workpiece from scratches and damage.

To ensure user safety, this machine has an electric break that works to quickly stop the blade once the tool is powered down. It also includes Makita’s soft start technology – and an anti-restart function to prevent accidental start up. Thanks to the inclusion of Makita’s Auto-start Wireless System (AWS), the KP001G can also be wirelessly connected to a compatible dust extractor via Bluetooth, enabling the dust extractor to automatically start when the tool’s trigger is engaged.

HS011G XGT 40VMax (270mm) Circular Saw

Compatible with a guide rail, this powerful circular saw is designed for precision rip cutting and delivers output that is equivalent to corded alternatives. It has a no-load speed of 3,500rpm, it bevel cuts up to 1° (left) and 60° (right) and has a maximum cutting capacity of 101mm at 0°, 71mm at 45° and 51mm at 60°.

The HS011G features constant speed control that works to maintain the blade speed and ensure optimum cutting performance. To ensure user safety, this machine includes AWS technology for efficient dust extraction and includes an electric brake to quickly slow down the wheel rotation.

VC005GL, VC002GL and VC004GL XGT 40VMax Dust Extractors

The VC005GL, VC002GL and VC004GL Dust Extractors have been developed to offer tradespeople a powerful solution for quickly and effortlessly cleaning up at the end of the workday. All machines deliver a maximum sealed suction of 23kPa and have large tank capacities (VC005GL – 8L, VC002GL – 8L and VC004GL 15L) to prevent regular work breaks to empty the tank. The VC002GL and VC004GL also include an automatic self-cleaning filter to prevent blockages and ensure optimum efficiency.

The VC005GL can be used for dry vacuuming and the VC002GL and VC004GL are both suitable for vacuuming finer, airborne particles.

KT001G XGT 40VMax Kettle

The KT001G Kettle is the perfect jobsite companion. It can be powered by Makita’s XGT 40VMax batteries or the PDC1200 portable power pack to boil water wherever you are on site. It is equipped with an anti-spill lock button to prevent accidental spills and it stops boiling automatically when the kettle or power supply stand is lifted to ensure safety. It has also been designed to provide high heat retention, while keeping the kettle surface cool.

Thanks to the carry handle on the power supply stand, the KT001G is easy to transport around site.

Kevin Brannigan, Marketing Manager at Makita said: “Our latest 40VMax products join the wider, expanding XGT range, which now consists of over 50 models that can all be powered using the same XGT batteries. This means that professionals can effortlessly switch between tools and tasks to maximise their on-site productivity and efficiency, or even pour themselves a hot cup of tea!”

To find out more about Makita visit: www.makitauk.com

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The role of Sports Pitch Management Platforms

The role of Sports Pitch Management Platforms: Data has always been a part of professional sports turf. For decades grounds people have made notes on paper about their maintenance. As time passed, the paper turned into spreadsheets and has evolved into online pitch management platforms such as GrasPro.

This shift has been down to advancements in pitch technology and the expectations that come with it. Simply put, to get the best out of their investment, pitch managers need to know precisely what is going on with their pitches.

The role of Sports Pitch Management Platforms

The role of Sports Pitch Management Platforms

Using a data management system to do this helps collect and track that data and allows for enhanced decision-making and early detection of issues using historical data. As an industry, we are still in the relatively early stages of data platforms, but they have already made an impact; below, we look at the six vital roles of pitch management systems in the future of turf.

The Advantages of Moving Data Online

The main advantage of moving data online is accessibility. It’s there whenever you need it, wherever you are. With a system like GrasPro, all of your information is in categories, so it’s quick to find exactly what you need. No more rummaging around notebooks or figuring out what’s the right spreadsheet.

Once you’re set up, you really see the benefit of quickly accessing your categorised data, setting and measuring KPIs, and being able to share information with your grounds team, coaches and facility managers instantly. This benefits everything from sharing notes related to upcoming fixtures and quickly comparing and analysing using graphically presented graphs, charts and tables.

Being the Change Through Data

The second vital role of pitch data is decision making and change. Having comprehensive pitch usage and quality data goes a long way to informing the future of your pitches. How many games can they take in one week? When do they need to be aerated? How much water do they need? Etc.

Having this information helps with day to day maintenance, planning and scheduling, but it can also inform major infrastructure decisions when building new facilities, deciding on a new pitch construction or planning a tournament.

Informing decisions is also applicable to consultants who use testing kits and GrasPro to provide informed improvement plans, support grounds team and benchmark pitch progress.

Data is a Team Effort

This one is less about the vital role of data and more about the team using it. Gathering data regularly is crucial for analysis, and it is a team effort. With everyone involved – whether at the same facility or venues across the globe – having a group of people adding to a system provides more comprehensive data.

It also has the added benefit of engaging those collecting. It helps them understand a bit more about how what they are doing is making a difference, and this can be especially helpful in educating new staff.

Making Pitch Maintenance a Green Machine

It’s already proven that collecting data is vital for sustainable turf maintenance, and the importance will only grow in significance.

In 2020 The Sustainability Report published by Touchline stated 83% of football fans care if their clubs impact the environment. The report also found that sustainable stadiums cost 31% less to operate.

When it comes to pitch maintenance, working sustainably can be done simply by only using exactly the amount of water and fertiliser you need, not spraying on windy days or by finding the optimum amount of time to use grow lights etc.

The savings this can make whilst helping the environment are considerable and, in some cases, can even lead to finances being available to purchase battery powered mowers.

The Ability to Bring all of your Data Under One Platform

The popularity of data collection can be seen in its availability. If you buy a weather station or grow lights, they will typically come with data collection software.

Whilst this is helpful for that particular tool, you can lose the benefit of having all of your data in one place.

A solution for this is using an independent platform like GrasPro, which has the largest range of data categories available. Having all of your info in one place means you can analyse and report on it in conjunction with other data to deliver the big picture you need.

What’s the Future of Pitch Management Systems?

A significant role in the future of pitch management platforms is development. Automating the data collection is the next logical step in making it a more efficient process.

This can include everything from automatic water readings to machinery sensors that track machines’ usage. Eventually, this can lead to automatically generated daily, weekly and monthly reports for a truly streamlined process that delivers everything you need to know.

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Turf-ing up the power

Turf-ing up the power: Makita UK has expanded its cordless outdoor power equipment range with the launch of three new lawnmowers. The DLM480, DLM481 and DLM539 all benefit from Makita’s LXT Twin 18V technology, that delivers an impressive 36V of power to make light work of grass maintenance.

DLM480 and DLM481 LXT Twin 18V (36V) 48cm Lawnmowers

These powerful machines deliver a maximum output of 860W, a no-load speed of up to 3,100rpm and a cutting width of 480mm. With a two-tooth blade design and adjustable cutting height, the DLM480 (push mower) and DLM481 (self-propelled mower) will both easily glide through grass and are recommended for lawns up to 800m/2. What’s more, their large wheel diameters of 180 / 230mm and PVC tyres mean they can sustain higher performance even when used over muddy or uneven ground.

Turf-ing up the power

Turf-ing up the power

To help minimise downtime, the DLM480 and DLM481 feature a mulching function to break down the clippings and optimise space in the collection bag. The inside of the deck also has a streamlined shape to improve grass collection efficiency further. What’s more, these machines also feature a grass level indicator, so operators know when the bag needs emptying.

DLM539 LXT Twin 18V (36V) 53cm Lawnmower

The DML539 (self-propelled mower for lawns up to 800m/2) delivers a maximum output of 860W, a no-load speed of up to 3,000rpm and a wider cutting width of 534mm to help get the lawn cut in better time. With a self-propelled function included, this model will reach its full speed of 5.0km/h in under two seconds.

The DML539 also includes a mulching function, streamlined deck shape and grass level indicator, as well as large wheels for stable operation.

Kevin Brannigan, Marketing Manager at Makita said: “It is a busy time for those in the landscaping and grounds maintenance sectors, and having a high-power, durable and efficient lawnmower in their armoury is key to ensuring on site productivity. The DLM480, DLM481 and DLM539 all benefit from Makita’s powerful LXT Twin 18V technology – and offer the added benefit of being IPX4 rated against water ingress, which is ideal for those working outside in unpredictable British weather.”

To find out more about Makita visit: www.makitauk.com

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INFINICUT® pair the perfect combination

INFINICUT® pair the perfect combination: Ticking far more than just the ‘green’ box, a pair of INFINICUT® mowers are delivering a first-class finish at Stanley Park Sports Ground – a 47-acre facility, owned, managed and maintained by Chippenham Town Council.

More than 100 teams of all ages and levels call Stanley Park their home, including Forest Green Rovers FC who have used the venue for first-team training for the last four seasons. It is here that the combination of a 34” FX cylinder and SM34 Rotary are perfecting both pre and post-match presentation.

INFINICUT® pair the perfect combination

INFINICUT® pair the perfect combination

Chippenham Town Council are two years into their pledge of becoming a ‘Carbon-Neutral’ Council by 2030 – with all areas of their operation, including their grounds maintenance, under review for cleaner, greener alternatives. Head of Leisure Services Paul Harvey said that switching to battery-powered mowers was a logical first step. “Whilst we’re keen to be investing in more sustainable solutions to our everyday tasks, it is critical that any equipment we procure produces the results we need to fulfil the expectations of the professional teams we host” says Paul.

“It was evident from the first demonstration that the INFINICUT® range was a perfect fit for us – meeting our carbon objectives but also delivering a fantastic quality of cut, and presentation that is second to none.” This strong first impression led to the purchase of a 34” FX cylinder mower in May 2021. “We use this for FGR’s pitch preparations and across some of the other pitches on the site when we need to elevate presentation to the next level. Switching to a pedestrian mower has also enabled us to keep heavier equipment off the surfaces, noticeably reducing issues associated with drainage and compaction.”

To complement their 34” FX, the council further invested this year in an INFINICUT® SM34 Rotary, delivered in April by local dealer Hunt Forest Group. “After consultations with Oliver Hall at INFINICUT®, a dedicated Rotary machine for the clean-up cut was the next step for us. The powerful suction of the SM34 stands the plant up and removes any debris, leaving the pitch absolutely spotless! In the short time we’ve had this machine, it has already made a huge difference.”

“As a council, we have strict budgets we must work to so purchasing the right machines for the job at hand is essential” Paul concludes. “The INFINICUT® mowers are not only helping us to fulfil our green objectives but the professional presentation they deliver has not gone unnoticed, undoubtedly helping us to secure a recent contract extension with Forest Green, who are now staying with us for at least another season.”

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The electric armchair that cuts grass

The electric armchair that cuts grass: We have the electric car, scooter, and bicycle – all of which are battery powered – now it’s the first drive-by-wire lawnmower for domestic gardens that offers the comfort of a favourite armchair while cutting the grass.

The STIGA Gyro sets the standards for battery powered mowing.  It employs STIGA’s eMotion Technology – a unique electronic system providing effortless steering and speed all delivered through a precise, armrest mounted joystick.

The electric armchair that cuts grass

The electric armchair that cuts grass

Powered by STIGA’s eMotion technology – a unique electronic system developed to effortlessly govern direction, steering and speed – Gyro offers an extremely precise joystick to control the vehicle, allowing it to turn on a sixpence, guaranteeing an enjoyable ride, and taking lawn mowing to a whole new level.

Each rear wheel is driven by a self-contained electric motor and this combination guarantees a powerful cutting performance, superior ergonomic design delivering unsurpassed driver comfort and mower manoeuvrability.

The Gyro is suitable for large and complex gardens up to 8,000 square meters.   The 360-degree turning radius enables close mowing up to lawn edges, even under bushes, while ensuring maximum driver visibility.

“This is what lawnmowers will be like in the future and are available later this month.  Gyro establishes a completely new category of battery-powered sit-on mowers for challenging areas, unbeatable productivity that are not just fun but comfortable to drive too” says Gary Whitney, managing director of STIGA UK.

STIGA Gyro is available from May with retail prices from £7,131.

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Win big with the Great British Garden Festival

Win big with the Great British Garden Festival: If you’re visiting RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, The Great British Garden Festival has an incredible prize on offer! Simply sign up to join as a member while you’re at the show and you will automatically be entered into a draw to win £1,000 worth of garden products kindly supplied by their Partners! 

Membership costs just £10 and gets you all sorts of exclusive access to savings on products as well as entry into gardens and events all year round.

Win big with the Great British Garden Festival

Win big with the Great British Garden Festival

Love plants? Love gardening? Love days out? The Great British Garden Festival is for you! Join as a member and save on all things gardening!

With the help of fellow green fingered friends, The Great British Garden Festival has created a searchable hub for you to find out about all of the amazing gardens and events that are right on your doorstep! All around the nation there are thousands of beautiful gardens, hidden gems and incredible events. All you need to do is check The Great British Garden Festival website to see thousands of places to go and products that you can save on.

The Great British Garden Festival is proud to have some amazing ambassadors that advocate their mission to support gardeners like you. With support from the RHS, Kew, Historic England, Historic Houses, Visit Britain and the National Garden Scheme why not get behind the Festival too? Their Ambassadors personify the very best in their respective fields, coming from all backgrounds and working lives, they represent the diverse nature of the nation’s love for gardens and gardening including famous faces from TV like Gemma Collins, Lee Burkhill, Flo Headlam, Mark Lane and Simon Lycett.

Enthusiasm continues to flood in from all over and their list of Partners is growing daily, adding new places that you can visit and new products that you can save on. With so many different offers available, there really is something for everyone. Encourage each other to get out and about and enjoy the green spaces.

Let’s make the world a little greener together!

Visit the Great British Garden Festival website at www.GreatBritishGardenFestival.org.uk to find out more and sign up to claim your deals!

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Toro to Support The R&A Women

Toro to Support The R&A Women: The Toro Company announces its support of The R&A Women in Golf Charter by becoming a signatory of the industry-wide initiative. According to The R&A, the Women in Golf Charter aims to create a more inclusive golf culture by enabling more women and girls to realise their potential at all levels of the sport.

To achieve this, the Charter requires the support and participation of other national golf federations, businesses and organisations, like Toro — who is a trusted leader in golf grounds maintenance equipment and irrigation solutions with a global presence in more than 125 countries.

Toro to Support The R&A Women

Toro to Support The R&A Women

As a proud supporter of the Women in Golf Charter and also a founding partner of The R&A’s new community golf facility at Lethamhill in Glasgow, Scotland, Toro will be providing annual apprenticeships to women and minorities to encourage further career development and diversity in the golf industry.

“We have built a legacy of giving back by actively leveraging our expertise, resources and business partnerships to increase interest and engagement in the golf industry, specifically among women and girls,” stated Judson McNeil, President, The Toro Company Foundation. “Furthering our efforts through official support of The R&A Women in Golf Charter reinforces the ongoing commitment to bringing more diversity to the game of golf.”

Toro’s commitment to the Women in Golf Charter isn’t its only inclusion initiative. Toro has served as preferred supplier and partner to First Tee since 1998. During the 24-year partnership, Toro has supported girls’ access to careers in the golf industry, STEM educational programs and Grow the Game Grants focused on expanding diversity in the game of golf by the inclusion of more girls. And as the official partner of the ANNIKA Foundation’s “Share My Passion” golf clinic, Toro is helping to introduce young girls to the game of golf and support the Foundation’s goal of developing women’s golf around the world.

Additionally, the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award — hosted in partnership with Reesink Turfcare, sole Toro distributor in the UK for golf and sports fields equipment, and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) — celebrates the next generation of talented and dedicated greenskeepers. In 2021, Toro was excited to recognise Rhian Barton of The Wisley Golf Club. She was the first woman to win the prestigious award.

Beyond external initiatives, Toro has also established the Women’s Initiative Network to create, promote and support a culture of equality and inclusiveness for women across all business functions within the company.

For more information on Toro equipment and irrigation products for the golf industry worldwide, please visit toro.com/golf.

About The Toro Company

With roots dating back to 1914, Toro is a leading worldwide provider of innovative solutions for the outdoor environment, including turf and landscape maintenance, snow management, rental and construction equipment, and irrigation solutions. Through a strong network of distributors, dealers, retailers and rental stores in more than 125 countries, Toro helps customers care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, construction sites and agricultural operations. More at: www.toro.com.

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SAGE named the home event for GRASS

SAGE named the home event for GRASS: SAGE are proud to announce that they have become the home event for GRASS, a newly launched forum built by a Group of Groundcare Industry Specialists. Taking place 6th and 7th July SAGE will provide a platform for GRASS to introduce it’s objectives to the industry this summer.

GRASS stands for, Groundcare Resources & Sustainability Suppliers, and is the innovative idea of Mark Tomlinson head of environmental and sustainability stadia projects at Bio-Circle, one of the leading companies paving the way in sustainable solutions for the industry.The NEW Networking & Support Forum is a FREE to join group that supports all Groundcare and other sporting industry sustainability projects, providing free advice and knowledge of sustainable pitch care.

SAGE named the home event for GRASS

SAGE named the home event for GRASS

Top Grounds Personnel, Leading Industry Manufacturers and Senior Experts have come together to form a “Go To Group” that allows grounds staff to begin their own sustainability projects with support and advise.

Through the expert sustainable and environmental forum, GRASS will provide the latest information available all under one roof, whether it’s technical pitchcare maintenance, through to recycling washdown, white line marking paint, recycling containers, battery powered equipment, seed, lighting, our information bank is endless.

“A First for the Groundcare & Sporting Industry, and a much-needed Support Forum Group. By coming together and sharing knowledge GRASS can help and support Groundcare personnel with their sustainability projects. We want to help and protect our environment and make a difference.”

Mark Tomlinson

Focus on sustainability

This year, sustainability has become an even more prominent priority across all industries and SAGE is proud to be hosting the first sustainability summit, which will take place on Wednesday 6th July at SAGE 2022, in partnership with Bio-Circle.

The summit will be led by experts across the industry and will provide guidance and support on how sustainable solutions can be achieved by businesses across the sports and grounds maintenance industry. The panel and their colleagues will be on hand to deliver tailored options for those looking to adopt processes that are more environmentally friendly.

Everyone is welcome to attend SAGE 2022. Visitors from last year included educational institutions, local authorities and councils, contractors, construction managers and private estates.

The team at SAGE invites all visitors to stay for the networking event on the Wednesday evening, 4pm – 6pm, sponsored by Fleet Line Markers, where everyone will get the opportunity to meet fellow industry professionals at the stunning showground, with a few added bonus’ as well.

To register for SAGE 2022. Please visit; www.sportsandgrounds.events.

If you would like to exhibit at SAGE 2022, there is still time to reserve your stand, contact us today; team@sportsandgrounds.co.uk

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The swift has landed

The swift has landed: Swallows and swifts are starting to appear in our gardens but one Swift that has already landed is making a big, green impact.

The Swift battery powered garden rider from STIGA is the world’s first ride on mower whose batteries are interchangeable with a wide range of 48V hand-held tools such as strimmers, blowers and hedge cutters.

The swift has landed

The swift has landed

This means only one charger is needed to power the whole garden as the batteries that drive the Swift rider also power other STIGA hand-held garden tools.  You can keep on mowing too as the Swift operates very efficiently on just three batteries whilst the fourth can be used in the brushcutter, blower, hedger etc to tidy up the garden.

Battery power is becoming very popular as many look for a green alternative to fossil fuels for their garden equipment.  And with no trailing power cables, STIGA ePower batteries offer all the power of petrol and are cleaner, quieter and emission free.

When the birds are ready to fly back to Africa in the autumn the STIGA Swift won’t be joining them as they line up on telegraph wires!

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