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Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace

Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace: FairWay Awards has been monitoring the health of sport turf up and down the country using a satellite-based system that reads the amount and wavelength of light being emitted from vegetation.

The ratio of different light wavelengths from vegetation gives an indication of the vigour or distress of the grass canopy: more red light is emitted when grass is under stress. Below is an example comparing a fairway in spring (left) and winter (right).

Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace

Sports turf grass health struggling to keep pace

Having analysed satellite data from 50 golf courses across Great Britain from 2018, Mike Heisig from FairWay Awards comments on recent findings: “We have been looking at the health of grass by tracking exactly the same areas of sports turf from 2018 to today. This gives good insight into actual changes on the ground. What we have seen at the end of March 2021 is that grass health is gradually lagging further and further behind the levels that we saw at the end of March in 2020. Historic data shows that normally in March we should expect to see a major up lift in grass health as it comes out of the winter period.”

“This year however, much of that did not happen and UK grass health slipped back around 5% lower in March 2021 compared with March 2020. Much of this downturn can be attributed to the South East, which seems to be struggling more with grass health levels than any other part the country.”

“Looking ahead at this time of year we expect to see increasing grass health through March and April, leading to a peak in May. It remains to be seen how far grass will recover through the year and what the knock on effect will be for autumn grass management”

The good news is that there is plenty of time for greenkeepers to fine-tune the agronomy to help close the gap. Satellite grass health data is easily accessible and simple to use with huge benefits for turf management.

2021 may be the ideal year to join the Precision Sports Turf Revolution.

Regular updates on grass health through 2021 at www.fairwayawards.com or follow @FairwayAwards on twitter

Join the Sports Turf Revolution contact Mike Heisig: Mike-Heisig@btconnect.com

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Nutrigrow expands sports turf range

Nutrigrow expands sports turf range: Nutrigrow has expanded their Sports Turf range of fertilisers with the introduction of Nutrigrow CRF, a controlled release fertiliser that has been specifically designed for sports turf.

NutrigrowCRF has been formulated to release nutrients for 4‐6 months, based on an average temperature of 20C. In testing Nutrigrow have seen a significant longer release period during the cooler months, which has led to Groundsmen applying the product in late Autumn.

Nutrigrow expands sports turf range

Nutrigrow expands sports turf range

As there are still growing days over the Winter months then the nutrient will be released and feed the turf. This has led to far healthier pitches and other sports surfaces going into the Spring when turf generally looks very weak and poor.

Nutrigrow CRF is formulated from 60% polymer coated urea, 2% MgO, and has an NPK content of 20‐0‐15. It is spread at a rate of 25‐50g per m² and can be spread by hand or more accurately using a mechanical fertiliser spreader. The granule size is typically 2‐3mm and a single 25kg bag can cover 500‐1000m².

Available in both 25kg and 1000kg bags, Nutrigrow are thrilled to supply this to sports organisations across the country, along with free advice and treatment plans.

www.nutri‐grow.co.uk

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BIGGA announces Festival of Turf dates

BIGGA announces Festival of Turf dates: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association has confirmed that its first Festival of Turf will take place this summer, with a new date intended to provide an improved experience for attendees and exhibitors.

The Festival of Turf is a two-day event that will take place in the predominantly outdoor setting of the Warwickshire Event Centre and will bring together golf greenkeepers, groundsmen and many others for the first time since BTME 2020, over 18 months previously.

BIGGA announces Festival of Turf dates

BIGGA announces Festival of Turf dates

BIGGA had initially announced a June date for the Festival of Turf and was confident event could be hosted with COVID-safety measures in place. But with the Prime Minister recently announcing the Roadmap out of lockdown, BIGGA has explored the opportunity of rescheduling the Festival of Turf for later in the summer, when social distancing restrictions are anticipated to have been removed.

As such, BIGGA is delighted to reveal that the Festival of Turf will now take place on 21 & 22 July 2021.

The Festival of Turf will welcome BIGGA members and others in the turf industry to the 30-acre Warwickshire Event Centre, with a wide range of vendors and trade stalls and entertaining twists that bring to life the ‘festival’ element of the event.

COVID-safety measures will remain in place, such as enhanced cleaning regimes and hand sanitising, plus any other requirements as defined by government guidelines. However, limits on visitor numbers and social distancing measures will no longer be required.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “The Roadmap out of lockdown announced by the Prime Minister provided incredibly welcome news for the country and the association’s members, not least because it provided a date for the reopening of golf courses in England and a potential return to normality for us all. It also presented an opportunity for BIGGA to host the Festival of Turf as the spectacular of sports and amenity turf maintenance that we had hoped for when we first announced this event last year.

“We entered into negotiations with the Warwickshire Event Centre and were delighted to come to an arrangement with regards new dates for the Festival of 21 & 22 July. On this date England is anticipated to be at Step 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap, which will see legal limits on social contact removed. Although the published roadmap only serves as a guideline and the timings are subject to change, everyone at BIGGA is excited about the opportunity to provide an improved exhibition experience for our attendees.

“We always intended the Festival of Turf to be an opportunity for BIGGA members and their colleagues in the turf industry to reunite after so long apart and I’m delighted that these new dates will allow even more people to attend what promises to be a fantastic few days of exhibitions and entertainment.”

For more information about the Festival of Turf, head to the BIGGA website.

Keep up to date with the latest announcements and updates on Twitter by using the hashtag #FestivalofTurf

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Turf Matters support #GroundsWeek

Turf Matters support #GroundsWeek: Turf Matters is proud to officially support the Grounds Management Association’s #GroundsWeek, an inaugural celebration week for the turf care sector.

Managed by the Grounds Management Association (GMA), the leading not-for-profit membership body for grounds professionals and volunteers, the turf care campaign will take place 1-7 March 2021 and will celebrate and highlight the vital role that professional grounds staff, volunteers, and the turf sector play in making sport possible.

Turf Matters support #GroundsWeek

Turf Matters support #GroundsWeek

Following a difficult year for the sector due to the impact of Covid-19, #GroundsWeek aims to showcase grounds staff and the amazing work that they do – and have continued to do – despite sport coming to a grinding halt. It also comes after a year where parks and green spaces have been hugely valuable to the public’s health, with increased use for ‘daily exercise’ and physical activity.

To celebrate the week, Turf Matters will be highlighting the fantastic work done throughout the industry.

Geoff Webb, CEO of the GMA, said:

“After a tough year, GroundsWeek is a fantastic opportunity for every part of the sector to come together and celebrate all the hard work that’s gone on throughout the year. We want to inspire sports fans and the general public to realise the vital role we play and get even more people to enter the profession and lend a helping hand at pitches across the country.

“We’re grateful to those officially supporting #GroundsWeek, with businesses and partners helping us champion grounds staff and the amazing work they do.

More information on #GroundsWeek can be found here.

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Club Car appoints Campey Turf Care

Club Car appoints Campey Turf Care: Club Car, the world’s largest manufacturer of small-wheel electric vehicles, has appointed Campey Turf Care Systems as a UK dealer for its commercial range.

A family-run business, Campey Turf Care Systems was founded in 1986 initially to offer sports turf maintenance work in the UK’s north-west region, but has grown to become one of country’s leading independent distributors with machinery available throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA.

Club Car appoints Campey Turf Care

Club Car appoints Campey Turf Care

Its machines and equipment are used by some of the biggest sporting organisations in the world, including Real Madrid Football Club, the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wembley Stadium and prestigious golf courses such as The Wisley in Surrey.

Andy Bourke, Club Car’s Regional Manager UK&I & Nordics, said: “Campey Turf Care Systems is a company which is synonymous with quality and trusted by some of the highest-profile sporting organisations in the world.

“It has built an excellent reputation not only for supplying innovative and reliable turf care products but also having strong customer relationships and superb aftersales service.

“We see this as an exciting partnership that will allow us to continue to deliver value to our customers and accelerate growth in the UK. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with Campey Turf Care Systems.”

Lee Morgado, Director of Campey Turf Care Systems, said: “Club Car brings a natural synergy with our existing product lines and we look forward to working closely with them to develop the current customer base and grow the UK market.

“Campey distributes a wide range of machinery and related products to the turf industry, all reflecting the highest standards, quality of build and performance demanded by turf professionals across the spectrum of grass sports.”

Club Car’s commercial range includes its famous Carryall series of versatile utility vehicles widely used at golf venues all over the world. It also includes the Villager model, designed to transport groups of people and used in some of the world’s biggest resorts, airports and theme parks.

For more information on Club Car visit: www.clubcar.com

For more information on Campey Turf Care Systems visit: www.campeyturfcare.com

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Hicure biostimulant to build energy and protect turf

Hicure biostimulant to build energy and protect turf: The first turf biostimulant from Syngenta heralds the potential for a step change in stress management, along with performance enhancement for existing and future turf management programmes.

New Hicure has been developed to deliver the key protein-building amino acids crucial to build and protect plants from stress effects, along with recovery of playing surface quality faster and more effectively.

Hicure biostimulant to build energy and protect turf

Hicure biostimulant to build energy and protect turf

More than six years of science research and investigative trials has developed the unique formulation of 18 amino acids in Hicure, along with an instantly available energy source for turf to make most effective use.

Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby, highlighted amino acids are the building blocks for proteins that make up all plant structures – each with a different construction. “New research into the molecular activity of plant cells has sought to identify which amino acids are required for key functions.

“That’s given a valuable insight into which amino acids can be effectively supplemented to better prepare plants for stressful periods.

“Whilst turf plants can produce their own amino acids during good growing conditions, where they need to adapt to stressful periods it can lead to an imbalance in the availability of the necessary amino acids.

“Hicure can provide a readily accessible source of the important amino acids to give greater tolerance to stress and see turf through,” he added.

Furthermore, Glenn pointed out that the repurposing of amino acids within the plant during stress periods requires large amounts of energy – which can be particularly challenging where turf is under stress and with reduced photosynthetic capability. “Hicure has been formulated with an instantly available energy source, in the form of specific amiono acids. Supplementing energy enables the plant to make better use of resources for faster recovery.

“Together, Hicure is a perfect balance of amino acids and energy to help plants strengthen cell walls and protect against stress.”

Trials results in the UK and across Europe have shown improved tolerance to a wide range of stresses. Under summer heat conditions, for example, fortnightly applications of Hicure had halved the incidence of leaf damage, compared to untreated.

Improvements in turf quality, coverage and consistency had also been seen in Hicure trials against a wider range of stresses and even herbicide treatments.

“With the incidence of environmental stresses becoming more frequent and more severe in nature with climate change the role of Hicure is expected to become even greater in future turf management programmes,” Glenn advised.

Optimum results have been seen with fortnightly applications of Hicure at a rate of 10 l/ha, or monthly 20l/ha during spring and summer periods. That can typically be incorporated into foliar nutrition and Primo Maxx PGR timings for ease of application, he advocated.

In late summer and autumn rates can be reduced to 5l/ha every two weeks or 10l/ha per month.  This helps deliver stronger and stress free turf going into the winter period.  Stronger more healthy turf is better able to tolerant disease attack and also recovers more quickly.

Daniel Lightfoot, Syngenta Turf Business Manager, emphasised that R&D had clearly shown that not all biostimulants work as effectively as others, or offer the significant benefits that could be achieved. “We continue to exhaustively test a large number of biostimulant products, and have only selected a small number that have shown the potential to offer effective results.

“Understanding the science of how the product works is essential to advise where it can fit into an agronomic programme,” he advocated. “Turf managers can be confident that any biostimulant from Syngenta has been thoroughly researched and will deliver the benefits they are looking for.”

The focus of Syngenta research is increasingly on enhancing overall plant health, together with the integration of agronomic practices and digital support tools, alongside the intervention of plant protection products where required.

The company’s recent acquisition of Valagro, one of the world’s leading biostimulant and biopesticide businesses, signals a commitment to creating a whole programme approach to plant health.

“As we develop and bring to market innovative fungicides over the coming years, we have the research to understand and recommend how they can be best used in conjunction with Hicure and other inputs to get the best results.”

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New Turf Rewards for 2021

New Turf Rewards for 2021: ICL and Syngenta have expanded the Turf Rewards family to bring you even more budget and time saving rewards for 2021.

Turf Rewards provides the opportunity for customers to earn points from purchases that can then be exchanged against a fantastic selection of agronomic or turf related items and learning opportunities. Over recent years greenkeepers and turf managers have praised the scheme for providing them with an opportunity to improve turf management and business performance – at no added cost.

New Turf Rewards for 2021

New Turf Rewards for 2021

One of the main benefits of the scheme is that it allows users to claim tools and equipment that may be difficult to stretch to when working to a tight budget. Turf Rewards makes these items accessible and affordable.

With an extensive range of items already on offer, a raft of new rewards for 2021 have recently been confirmed. These include:

  • A range of wildflower mixes suitable for links, parkland and heathland areas.
  • Stihl Dynamic Bluetooth ear defenders.
  • Accupro 1000 and Accupro 2000 spreaders.
  • A waste collection and recycling service from Chemastic.
  • TDR150 and TDR350 moisture meters.
  • iMac 21.5-inch desktop computer.
  • SGL BU10 grow light.
  • Plus, much more.

New qualifying products for 2021 include the Gronamic range of organo-mineral fertilizers, the recently launched fungicide Ascernity, Hicure, a new biostimulant from Syngena and FR321 – the new one-box solution for autumn turf disease control.

There are now even further ways to boost your points balance with double points promotions on many commonly used products such as Sierrablen, SierrablenPlus, Vitalnova and Qualibra. The qualifying quantity threshold for Sierrablen and Vitalnova has also been reduced.

Users of the scheme will be pleased to hear that the popular fungicide promotion has also returned – but this time with an even better offering. Simply purchase four fungicide applications in 2021 and earn an additional 10 bonus points.

Give your turf and your pockets a helping hand with Turf Rewards in 2021.

To find out more and to register visit www.turfrewards.com

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

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Consolidate Turf Appoint Anthony Asquith

Consolidate Turf Appoint Anthony Asquith: Consolidate Turf (Growing Solutions Ltd) are pleased to announce Anthony Asquith’s appointment as Technical Manager with immediate effect.

Anthony was educated at Askham Bryan College and has been in the turf industry for over 20 years with experience in multiple sports in both a practical and advisory capacity. For the last 12 years, Anthony has worked as an Independent Turf Agronomist advising golf courses, sports grounds, schools and other sports turf facilities.

Consolidate Turf Appoint Anthony Asquith

Consolidate Turf Appoint Anthony Asquith

Speaking on the appointment, Paul Benson, Managing Director of Growing Solutions Ltd, said: “Anthony joins Consolidate Turf as a well connected and respected individual with a good history and a vast technical knowledge. His mantra of an all-round holistic approach to turf management fits well with our company ethos and principles, and we look forward to him applying this with our customers.”

Anthony joins current Technical Sales Manager Rob Welford in covering the UK and Ireland providing advice to all turf facilities on their range of products as well as good agronomic practice to aid them in achieving better quality surfaces.

For more information on the Consolidate Turf range, visit www.consolidateturf.com  

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Countrywide Grounds use Turf Tank Base Station

Countrywide Grounds use Turf Tank Base Station: Countrywide Grounds, Shropshire, has been using the Turf Tank robotic line marker with GPS base station to achieve unrivalled accuracy wherever it is needed.

The Turf Tank is the only GPS line marker available that uses a base station. It provides an accuracy of +/- 1cm over 100m and ensures that the robot will overmark lines with supreme precision and mark out new pitches with ease. The base station allows the machine to be operated without cellular or real-time kinematic (RTK) connectivity and coverage. Using the closed system means the marker can be used anywhere with unprecedented reliability while matching the marking speed of every robotic line marker on the market.

Countrywide Grounds use Turf Tank Base Station

Countrywide Grounds use Turf Tank Base Station

Having this technology was a crucial factor for Countrywide Grounds director, Wayne Middleton, who has used GPS steered tractors during his work in agriculture.

Wayne explains: “We have come from an agricultural background where we used GPS probably for the last 12 to 14 years on our tractors. So, we set out to look for a GPS line marker because we knew what the technology was all about.

“We went to Saltex last November and looked at line markers and came across the Turf Tank. And after chatting to them and looking at the other options this was the one that grabbed us, purely because it is a base station based GPS rather than a sim card. Some of the places we go you can’t even get a mobile phone signal, and wanting a base station comes from out agricultural background because with the systems we use the base station is the way forward.

“The Turf Tank stands up very well to the agricultural technology we have used. I’ve been very pleased with how accurate it’s been. I mark eight football pitches for a league, and they get marked every week, and I’ve gone back in and overmarked them, and it hasn’t missed a beat. Each pitch takes 20 minutes, and the accuracy is always spot on.

“I can go and mow a football pitch and then set that off to start marking while I cut another pitch which makes great use of the time. And as a contractor, time is something you always need more of. We can also mark at night, which is a big plus for us going into winter because it means we can beat the weather and still provide a good service.”

As well as football pitches, Wayne has been able to use the robot to mark out year group areas for schools including numbers, and he has also completed 100m and 200m running tracks with various other sports in the pipeline.

While using the GPS technology is nothing new to Wayne, line marking and the Turf Tank are, making the assistance and back-up service from Turf Tank’s southern UK rep, Alex Robinson, vital.

“What I like about Alex is he has been very patient with us,” Wayne explains. “We first met him at Saltex and then had a demo of the robot in January 2020 on a very wet field. We were over the moon with how it performed, and since buying it in August, he’s always been at the other end of the phone.

“When it arrived, he was straight out and showed us how to use it, and if we need little pointers or a quick talk through something, he’s always happy to help.”

For more information on the Turf Tank One or to have a demonstration contact alex@turftank.co.uk (southern UK) or matt@turftank.co.uk (northern UK).

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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.

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