Fusion Media's Posts (590)

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Brian Scott, Course Manager at the Rosemount course at Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland, believes that the success of his greens is largely thanks to a tank-mix combination of ICL’s Vitalnova Stressbuster and Syngenta’s Primo Maxx II growth regulator.

The Rosemount Course, venue of Greg Normans first European tour victory was designed by James Braid with influences from Dr. Alistair McKenzie - the renowned architect of the Augusta National course. It has played host to a number of prestigious professional and amateur tournaments and provides a challenging test for golfers of all abilities.

This heathland course is set through mature pines, silver birch and heather and has many admirers across the world. One of Rosemount’s greatest attributes is its immaculate greens which are frequently praised by members and guests alike.

For the past three years Brian has been applying a tank-mixture consisting of Vitalnova Stressbuster and Primo Maxx to the greens – which was a combination recommended to him by Jamie Lees, ICL’s Technical Area Sales Manager in Scotland.

“A few years ago; we were looking for something we could use consistently instead of mixing four or five products. Jamie suggested the combination of Stressbuster and Primo Maxx and in the first year we had such good results it made sense to continue with it.

Brian applies a mixture of both Vitalnova Stressbuster and Primo Maxx II at half rate (0.2 L/ha Primo Maxx II & 20 L/ha Stressbuster) every two weeks from May through to September and believes the two products perfectly complement one another. While Primo Maxx II helps keep excessive growth at bay, Vitalnova Stressbuster pre-conditions turf against stress and helps generate a quick recovery. Featuring iron which provides an instant colour, Vitalnova Stressbuster also contains a unique combination of macro and micro nutrients, wetting agents, biostimulants and amino acids which help to fight off unwanted stress as well as stimulating the good bacteria in the soil.

With a hectic maintenance schedule and the un-predictable Scottish weather, Brian believes that flexibility is key to keeping the greens in impeccable condition throughout the year.

“I particularly like how you can be so flexible with this tank-mixture. Depending on how your growth is, we might up the Primo application, add an extra bit of nitrogen or if it is dry then we might add more wetting agent.

“Since we have been using this formula we haven’t suffered with any disease or loss of colour – in fact after applying it we see colour up in just a couple of days. We wanted longevity and it provides us with exactly that.”

Please contact ICL on +44 (0)1473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie

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Visitors to the Sherriff Amenity stand (E060) at SALTEX 2018 will get the chance to find out how they could significantly improve their turf through a range of unique products and some new dedicated apps.

Sherriff Amenity, the UK’s leading turf and amenity suppliers, have announced the launch of two new apps, which are set to increase efficiency and improve operations for sports turf managers.

PrecisionPro is a dedicated app for sports turf to measure any area, guide you in calibrating your spreader for any granular product and also help you apply fertilisers as accurate as ever. The slogan for the app is Measure. Calibrate. Apply – and in just three simple steps accuracy and precision is guaranteed.

The misjudgement of green size often results in over application or under application of fertilisers and both will have a negative effect on performance, disease and budget.

PrecisionPro allows turf managers to have an accurate measured area by simply opening the app and walking the perimeter of the green. Calibrating spreaders has always been a difficult task but with the Calibrate feature in the PrecisionPro app, users are guided through each step of the process. Furthermore, its advanced GPS functionality informs you when to start and stop the calibration process.

Accurate application is taken to the next level and no more guesswork is required. The app features a function to ensure that every operator walks at the same speed – if someone is walking too fast or too slow then they are alerted by colour coded screens. As well as calculating your g/m2 and your walking speed, the Apply feature ultimately ensures that you are applying the correct amount of product to your turf.

Also being showcased on the stand is Sherriff Amenity’s all new ParryMeter football app – which is the world's first dedicated measurement device to accurately measure the ball roll performance of football pitches using a real football. The ParryMeter football app records thousands of measurements per run ensuring absolute accuracy of readings. Additional data can also be entered into the app and all measurements are saved and easily shared however the user wishes to.

Sherriff Amenity will be joined on the stand by Carbon Gold – the world's leading biochar company. Sherriff Amenity are the exclusive UK distributors of Carbon Gold’s Enriched Biochar Turf Improver and visitors will be able to discover more about Biochar, which is a highly porous, high carbon form of charcoal used to improve soil nutrition, growing conditions and turf health. It is made from untreated waste woody biomass that has been charred at a low temperature with a restricted supply of oxygen, a process called pyrolysis.

Carbon Gold’s Turf Improver enriches biochar with optimum levels of beneficial fungi, bacteria and trace minerals for optimum soil and sward health. Where prevention rather than cure is key, adding enriched biochar to soil provides the foundation on which to build resilient, attractive, playable turf, as recent sports turf trials have shown.

One lucky visitor to the stand will also walk away with a free Accupro spreader as well as a Lenova tablet, which comes pre-loaded with the PrecisonPro app.

For further information, please contact Sherriff Amenity on 01638 721 888 or visit www.sherriffamenity.com

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Market leading MM seed on display at SALTEX

Limagrain UK, one of the world’s largest seed companies will be showcasing its impressive range of grass seed mixtures, including the market leading MM60 and MM50 on their stand (G041) at SALTEX 2018.

MM is one of the most respected brands in the UK sportsturf and amenity industries and is relied upon at top sports grounds throughout the UK and beyond. With a proven track record of producing the best possible swards, the MM range of grass seed offers an unrivalled performance and appearance.

MM60 is a 100% Ryegrass formula and the UK’s leading winter sports renovation mixture which is perfect for divot repair. It is also well-known for its extremely fast germination and its high wear tolerance. It produces fantastic aesthetic qualities and its high disease resistance provides ultimate protection.

MM50 is ideal for cricket squares, tennis courts, tees, fairways, outfields and even golf greens. This hard-wearing mix has rapid germination, very fine leaved appearance, high shoot density and is tolerant to very close mowing, along with high disease resistance. All these attributes together produce a fantastic sward that has great colour all year round.

For new pitch constructions, football and rugby groundsmen may well be interested in MM25. This ryegrass and fescue mixture will establish quickly giving a dense, hard wearing sward that has strong root growth in the early stages of sward development. The mix contains high quality cultivars that perform in a wide range of situations.

For winter overseeding, many groundsmen choose to repair their pitches with Limagrain’s MM75R mixture which improves sward composition and aids recovery from disease scarring. MM75R enables groundsman to stay one step ahead as it helps winter germination speed and provides early spring growth

All mixtures in the MM range, are treated with Limagrain’s HEADSTART® GOLD – a revolutionary grass seed treatment that ensures rapid, even germination.

Research and development play a key factor in Limagrain’s success and the company’s extremely high standards for their products are achieved through rigorous testing procedures in their own licensed seed testing facility. In addition, all varieties used in the MM range have been thoroughly tested at the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), so you can be sure they will meet your requirements for play, appearance and maintenance.

If you are seeking advice for your natural turf projects – no matter how big or small, then pay a visit to stand number G041 and speak to one of the Limagrain amenity specialists.

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/mm

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ICL at SALTEX 2018

Leading the way in offering the very best in product innovation, visitors to the ICL stand (K030) at SALTEX 2018 will get the chance to discover a wide range of solutions. At this year’s show, there will be a particular focus on Ecoplug Max, a patented product for tree stump control, which will no doubt draw the attention of attendees.

Ecoplug Max is a patented tree stump control application method which delivers glyphosate directly into the tree stump, killing its root system and preventing re-growth. Each plug contains 300mg of granular glyphosate which are simply placed into holes drilled into the stump using the Ecoplug drill bit. The plugs are then hammered in forcing out the sides of the plug, releasing the glyphosate into the phloem.

Ecoplug Max supports requirements of the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD) to minimise use of pesticides. With the glyphosate encapsulated inside the unit, it never gets in direct contact with anything else but the plant, minimizing the risk of the operator coming into contact with chemical or chemical spillage. It also eliminates the risk of damage to surrounding trees and vegetation. Quite simply, it stays where it belongs – inside the plant.

Visitors to the stand will also benefit from learning more about the popular Turf Rewards programme which offers all ICL customers the chance to earn points from purchases and convert them into a range of valuable agronomic or educational items. The programme is perfect for golf, sports and amenity turf managers with an extensive range of items on offer such as workplace tools, clothing and work wear, and educational vouchers. Not only does it benefit the turf manager but it is of advantage to the team, the turf, and the organisation they work for by maximising budgets with every purchase.

As well as showcasing their ever-evolving product ranges, the ICL technical team will be on hand at SALTEX to talk all things turf and landscape. The stand will also feature a coffee barista, so whether you are seeking advice on combating diseases, generally looking to improve your turf or landscape areas or have any other questions about your maintenance programmes then ensure that a visit to stand K030 is on your agenda.

Please contact ICL on +44 (0)1473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie

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ICL appoint Andrew Pledger

ICL Turf & Landscape are pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Pledger as their new Technical Area Sales Manager covering the South East of England including Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Kent and East London.

Andrew has worked in the industry for many years and brings with him a wealth of experience.

A previous Toro Student Greenkeeper of the year in 2002, Andrew studied at the University of Massachusetts before embarking on a number of greenkeeping roles which included the positon of Deputy Course Manager at The Wildernesse Club and the Deputy Superintendent at The Hertfordshire. He then spent six years as Head Greenkeeper at Frinton Golf Club before moving to Chelmsford Golf Club as Course Manager – a position he held for seven years.

In addition to his Golf Course Manager roles, Andrew has also enjoyed many years of being a volunteer groundsman at West Ham Utd FC.

A well-known and respected member of the industry, Andrews knowledge and experience will serve him well and provide ICL customers and distributors with the very best in terms of advice and support. Andrew starts his new role with ICL on 8th October.

For more information please contact ICL on +44 (0)1473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk.

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Christian Brain, head of grounds at Cheltenham College, believes that Limagrain UK’s range of MM grass seed mixtures have helped him to maintain the high standard of pitches expected by the prestigious school.

Located in the heart of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham College is a leading independent boarding school which dates back to 1841. Well known for its classical, military and sporting traditions, Cheltenham has approximately 700 pupils between the ages of 13 and 18 with many of whom go onto world-class universities such as Cambridge and Oxford. The College also features a prep school with pupils aged between 3 and 18.

Christian is the man responsible for maintaining the grounds at both the main site and the prep school, and was initially drawn into the world of groundsmanship through his involvement with club cricket. He went on to work in a number of deputy roles in public schools before getting his opportunity at Cheltenham College.

Christian now oversees a team of four and ensures that the sports and surrounding grounds are at a consistent quality all year round.

“As you would expect, we have cricket in the summer term and then we change into rugby which lasts pretty much up until Christmas,” he says. “After Christmas, it is mainly football and rugby sevens until Easter with hockey which is played on our artificial surfaces.”

Christian relies on both Limagrain’s MM50 and MM60 grass seed mixtures which he uses on the winter pitches, outfields and cricket squares.

“We overseed our winter pitches with MM60 and this is done twice a year,” he says. “Once in August so we are ready for rugby and then we apply again in the spring. We overseed with MM60 after we’ve scarified the smaller cricket squares during the renovation period – purely because it is a stronger mix and can withstand winter sport.”

As Christian says, Limagrain’s MM60 grass seed is renowned for performing incredibly well on winter pitches and produces an excellent playing surface. It is a 100% Ryegrass formula which is perfect for renovation and divot repair, has a high disease resistance, fantastic aesthetic qualities and offers extremely fast germination. MM50, is arguably a more popular choice for cricket groundsmen. This superior mix contains the perennial ryegrass cultivars, Venice, Alison and Malibu, which are renowned for providing a great sward. It features excellent shoot density along with tolerance to close mowing making it particularly suitable for cricket squares.

“I’ve been using MM mixtures throughout most of my groundsmanship career and I don’t have any reason at all to change. Both MM50 and MM60 are very strong mixtures, we’ve never had any problems with them, the recovery is very good and they withstand a lot of wear.”

Both MM50 and MM60 are boosted by the inclusion of Headstart GOLD®. Developed using the latest scientific findings and field experience, Headstart GOLD® is a natural revolutionary grass seed treatment that ensures rapid germination and is perfect for enhancing performance on grass seed coatings for sports fields, golf courses, lawns and amenity turf.

“The seed is always quick to establish – it is strong and has good rooting. They are just great products which perform well and provide great colour all year round. The mixtures are always available and are easy to get hold of which is another benefit.

“I also have a good relationship with Matt Gresty who is always on the other end of the phone if I need him. He is also quick to offer technical advice as and when it’s required.”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/mm

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Merchant Taylors’ has recently purchased a range of SISIS equipment to help maintain the top class cricket facilities on offer at the prestigious school in Middlesex.

Academic prowess aside, at Merchant Taylors’ School there is a huge emphasis on sport and the success of its sporting teams is testament to this. Cricket at Merchant Taylors’ is exceptionally strong and just last year the school won the national under 17’s cricket competition - which was an outstanding achievement for a day school.

To date there are currently 17 competitive teams throughout the school who enjoy playing the game across 12 grass cricket squares, indoor and outdoor (all weather) nets, grass nets, and 3 bowling machines. Such is the quality of the cricket facilities that Middlesex County Cricket Club train regularly at the school and use it as a pre-season training camp. The Australian cricket team also trained at the school in preparation for their Ashes tours of 2013 and 2015.

“I think the work we do with Middlesex County Cricket Club, and the teams we have hosted, only benefits the school because of our need to be at the top of our game,” says grounds manager Richard Ayling. “If you are going to host these kind of top sportsmen you have to be in a position to provide the very best surfaces for them. They wouldn’t come here unless they were right and that is, I believe, a reflection on the work carried out by my team.”

Richard and his team of ten have exceptionally high standards and never rest on their laurels despite a hectic work schedule.

“I like to think that all of our sports surfaces are good but we are always striving for that bit more,” he says. “I have a great deputy in Scott Patterson who was the former head groundsman at the Oval and he has really pushed the cricket on.

“The twelve squares are used every Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and we are actually one of the few schools that has started playing cricket throughout September whereas most schools would be moving to just rugby and football.”

As a result, Richard invested in a range of heavy duty SISIS scarifiers – two self-propelled Auto Rotorake MK.5’s and a tractor mounted Rotorake TM1000.

The SISIS Rotorake TM1000 is a tractor mounted heavy duty scarifier and linear aerator and is un-rivalled when it comes to removing and controlling thatch. It includes a collector box and floating unit to follow ground contours and its contra-rotating reel throws debris forward ensuring a clean, consistent groove resulting in an excellent finish when the time comes to scarify. With interchangeable blades and a quick, simple depth setting without tools, Richard has been quick to notice the benefits.

“The TM1000 is predominantly our main cricket scarifier and the ability to change blades is very convenient. With all of the cricket squares and grass nets there is a lot of scarifying to do and the TM1000 serves us incredibly well. It sits nicely behind our tractor, is a solid piece of machinery, collects well and does exactly what it says it will.”

Over recent years Richard has been a big fan of the Auto Rotorake MK.5 and the two new machines were brought in as direct replacements for two older machines. It is perfectly suited to a range of applications from sports field maintenance to synthetic turf maintenance, lawns and amenities. Its contra-rotating reel has specially designed tipped blades for clean, consistent cut and maximum thatch removal. Furthermore the Auto Rotorake MK.5 features a selection of seven different interchangeable reels which enables the machine to carry out a variety of maintenance tasks.

“The Auto Rotorake MK.5 is the perfect sized machine for us and we predominantly use it for cricket pitch preparation and also on the smaller school lawns for scarifying.

“We use the Brush Reel, Scarifying Reel, Verti-Cutter Reel and we like the Spring Tine Reel. We use this reel, not for scarifying, but more for standing up the grasses. It’s great for thinning the grass out, gently cleaning the surface and for a general tidy up on the wickets.”

“The staff use the Auto Rotorake MK.5’s a lot and I have the confidence to let them have their own say on preparations. Therefore, everyone has their own little quirks on how they like to do things and the Auto Rotorake MK.5 gives them the versatility to do so.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit www.sisis.com

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Ian Smith, turf consultant for St Albans School, Woollam Trust Playing Fields, has reported excellent results from using the combination of a Dennis G860 cassette system and a Dennis Razor fine turf mower on the cricket pitches.

The Woollham Trust Playing Fields are the largest development of their kind ever undertaken in a single phase in Europe. The school’s outstanding facilities include a huge pavilion, 22 winter pitches for rugby and football, an all-weather hockey pitch and 8 cricket squares. Not only is the magnificent 73 acre site shared with the Old Albanians Club but it is also the training base for Saracens Rugby Club.

“Standards are exceptionally high here at the school and we take our pitch preparations incredibly seriously,” said Ian. “You can imagine the situation if someone like Owen Farrell (England and Saracens rugby union player) was to turn an ankle on an uneven pitch. Of course it is great to have fabulous presentation but player safety is paramount here.”

The school boasts its own exceptional sporting teams and the cricket department, headed by former Essex CCC cricketer Mark Ilot, has always carried an excellent reputation, which is undoubtedly enhanced by the quality of the pitches.

In preparing the cricket pitches, Ian first of all uses the Dennis G860 which is the ideal machine for someone looking to complete a number of tasks with just one power unit. Featuring an interchangeable cassette system, users have the option of fitting different types of cassettes including scarifiers, verticutters, brushes, spikers, and slitters.

“The reason we purchased the G860 was because of its versatility and the fact that you can have all of the different cassettes for different maintenance needs,” said Ian. “We can use it for cutting the squares, cutting the outfields, but then we can also use it to scarify. For pre-season we have a cassette which has 1mm scarifying blades so we will use that at the start of the season to thin the square a little bit. We’ve also got the new spring tine rake cassette which we also use for cricket pitch preparation.

“As the pitches are drying out we use the brush cassette to flick out a lot of the older dead grass, and generally to clean them up and make the grass stand up for when it is time to cut with the Razor.”

Superbly balanced and ideal for cricket pitches and other fine turf surfaces, the Razor features a 560mm (22in), 11 blade cutting cylinder for a perfect finish. An ultra-short wheelbase ensures easy manoeuvrability and excellent performance, even on undulating surfaces. The Dennis Razor encompasses the simple ‘no tools required’ click height adjusters for quick and easy operation, a feature which Ian is particularly fond of.

“The Razor is great because we are starting on turf that has been cut down to 12mm by the G860. With the click system of the Razor, it is very simple to change the height. Instead of having to go out with two separate mowers set at two different heights, like we were previously doing, you just use the one mower.

“In a matter of seconds we can go down from 12mm to 10mm and then you give it a couple of clicks and then you are down to 8mm and then a couple more clicks and you are down to 6mm, it’s as easy as that. No tools are required and any of the staff can use it without any problems whatsoever.

“The cutting cylinders on both mowers are as good, if not better, than anything I have used before.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

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ICL takes Downfield GC to next level

John Watson, Course Manager at Downfield Golf Club in Dundee, has been using ICL products for the entirety of his 20 year greenkeeping career and has recently singled out H2Pro TriSmart and Greenmaster Pro-Lite Invigorator for particular praise.

This beautiful parkland course was once described by Paul Lawrie (1999 Open Champion) as 'one of the finest inland courses in Britain' and has played host to many prestigious events over the years. In 2016, Downfield was chosen as a qualifying course for the Senior Open which was played at Carnoustie. In the past, it has seen the Scottish PGA Open, the SPGA Masters, Scottish Amateur Championship 2014 and the UK Girls Home Internationals all take place. It was also the venue for the 1999 and 2007 Open Qualifying stage.

John has been in the industry ever since leaving school and after landing the Course Manager position at Downfield he revealed that he was keen to further improve the course.  

“I’ve been a greenkeeper for 20 years and have used ICL products throughout my career. All three of my main areas (greens, tees and fairways) are covered by ICL products.”

John firstly focussed on his greens and has noticed a significant improvement since applying H2Pro TriSmart wetting agent.

“My greens have always performed well but I am of the mind-set that there is always room for improvement. I started using TriSmart and it has worked really well for us. The greens are not drying out as quickly as they used to and even the greens that are prone to drying out because of nearby tree roots are retaining moisture better.

“We go with our first application in April and continue to apply it on a monthly basis until September at 10L/ha. We try to get it on early because the greens tend to dry out in April when the spring winds start coming in.”

For his tees and aprons, John has reported fantastic results from using Greenmaster Pro-Lite Invigorator 4-0-8+2MgO+4fe. Over recent years, Greenmaster Pro-Lite Invigorator has gained a reputation as an outstanding micro-granular fertilizer for high quality, fine turf nutrition and just last year ICL launched  Greenmaster Pro-Lite Invigorator Plus 4-0-14+2MgO+8Fe. This new formulation features a higher iron and potassium content than the original Invigorator.

“We used the original Invigorator last year at the start of April after aeration work and we saw a very good recovery, good colour and it lasted for over six weeks which I was extremely happy with.

“This year, we had a prolonged spell of rain through the winter, so I decided to go with an application of Invigorator Plus as it has a higher iron content and because we had a bit of moss on the tees. In the past I haven’t used granular feeds on my tees but the more experience that I have gained, the more I have learnt about the course and what it needs.

“With the added iron content, we saw a good bit of colour within a couple of days and then we saw the growth within a week or so. I actually decided to apply it to the greens as well.”

The new Invigorator Plus contains the mineral polyhalite, which has been found to bring enhanced turf colour and quality responses. It is a complex crystal product discovered at a depth of 1300 metres below the earth's surface under the North Sea and is mined at ICL's own mine in Cleveland – a site which John has been fortunate enough to visit.

“I went down the mine recently and it is great to be in a position where I have seen how it goes from a raw product through to a final product suitable for an end user. I’ve also been over to the laboratory in Holland and after seeing both of these I would say that it gives you confidence in just how good the ICL products are. You see first-hand exactly what goes into a producing a bag of fertilizer for example. The research and science behind this process really is quite remarkable.”

Please contact ICL on +44 (0)1473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

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SALTEX event organisers have revealed exciting details about this year’s all-encompassing education programme – Learning LIVE. The CPD-accredited seminars are free to attend and registration is now open for all sessions that are due to take place in four purpose-built seminar theatres on the SALTEX show floor in Halls 6, 7 and 8 at The NEC, Birmingham on 31 October – 01 November.

Last year’s Learning LIVE programme was the biggest one yet and featured more than 100 industry experts who took to the stage to address a variety of topical issues and highlight best practice case studies within the turf care industry – and feedback gathered from seminar delegates has helped organisers to create an even better line up of speakers and learning opportunities to suit the needs of all SALTEX visitors at this year’s event.

Day one will feature an interesting panel debate featuring Professor Colin Fleming (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute), Neil Stubley (AELTC), Tony Bell (Middlesbrough FC) and Andy Gray (Southampton FC), who will discuss a chemical-free alternative to clean up your soil. Adam Witchell (Forest Green Rovers FC) and Roy Rigby (Manchester City FC) will be among those highlighting emerging trends in groundsmanship and a panel of professional groundsmen including Anthony Facey (Colchester Utd FC), Dave Mitchell (Carlisle Utd FC) and Stuart Vause (Castleford Tigers) will be discussing groundsmanship on a budget and sharing valuable money-saving tips.

Elsewhere on day one HR consultant Frank Newberry and Scott Tingley (Watford FC) will be on hand to provide career development tips and reveal how to secure the top jobs, while delegates will get the chance to ask questions to a panel of pest and disease experts in a session run by the Amenity Forum. There will also be plenty of technical advice on offer within Dr Ruth Mann’s (STRI) presentation on how technological advances are helping to improve turf grass quality on playing surfaces.

On day two, Phil Garrod (Advance Grass Solutions) will be sharing new ideas that have had successful outcomes in preparing pristine turf for multi sports on a single site and Ted Mitchell and Corin Palmer from the RFU will explain how the RFU and Premiership Rugby are raising the standards of groundsmanship. Andy McKay (Sussex CCC), Gary Barwell (Warwickshire CCC) and Chris Wood (ECB) will also explain how to prepare a cricket wicket to world-class standards.

In addition, phosphite for cool-season turf grass management; sports pitch renovations; the benefits of topdressing and education in the sports turf industry will be addressed by expert speakers including Andy Spetch (British Sugar Topsoil) and Dr Stewart Brown (University Centre Myerscough). 

This is just a snapshot of sessions available at this year’s show. Go to www.iogsaltex.com to check out the full programme, register your visit to SALTEX and book into your preferred sessions to avoid the queues.

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Allan Tait, Course Manager at Sweetwoods Park Golf Club in Cowden, Kent, has reported excellent results from using two tank mixes containing a range of Sherriff Amenity products.

Situated on the borders of Kent and Sussex in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Sweetwoods Park boasts a fantastic golf experience through its par 72, 18-hole golf course.

Widely praised by its 450 members, the Championship course is kept in impeccable condition from season to season thanks to Allan Tait and his greenkeeping team.

Allan, who has been the Course Manager at Sweetwoods Park for just over 4 years, predominantly uses Sherriff Amenity products on key areas of the golf course and has singled out two tank mixes for particular praise.

“The majority of products I use on my greens, fairways, tees and approaches are all from Sherriff Amenity and I’ve always had consistently good results. I'm a fan of foliar feeding as I feel I have more control over growth and more flexibility with regards to tank-mixing,” said Allan.

Therefore, on his fairways, tees and approaches he relies on a liquid tank mixture which consists of Evolution Xtra 46.0.0 Soluble, Ferromel 20 - a water soluble formulation of iron sulphate hepta-hydrate and Primo Maxx II growth regulator.

“I use this mix for recovery in spring; Evolution Xtra encourages steady growth, whilst Ferromel 20 provides colour and discourages moss. The Evolution Xtra provides rapid greening, while the iron in the Ferromel 20 discourages the moss and the Primo Maxx II keeps control of the growth.

“For fairways I normally budget for two applications per year of this mix and that is more than enough because it has great longevity. It is nice and controlled and you don’t get a flush from it. I also like how soluble the product is. With some solubles you really have to grind them down but with the Evolution Xtra 46.0.0 Soluble, you simply run a hose over it and it disperses perfectly into the tank. I never get any blockages either. For me, it’s been a game changer.”

Allan admits that he prefers the preventative route, but most recently, following a prolonged dry spell, he turned to a tank-mix containing Aqua-Zorb 45 wetting agent, Rootmass Plus soil and plant conditioner and Amino Turf – a bio-stimulant.

“I’ve experimented with wetting agents before but for the past couple of years I’ve not really touched them – I’ve mainly used penetrants. However, after the recent weather conditions the greens were beginning to show signs of heat stress, drought stress and disease. I had watered them quite heavily and it was clear that it wasn’t enough or that it wasn’t getting into the right places so I decided to look at Aqua-Zorb 45 as a solution. I had heard of numerous golf clubs reporting great results from it so thought I would give it a go. With the seaweeds and amino acids in the mixture, which have been proven to reduce the stress and lessen the chance of getting disease, it seemed like a perfect tank-mix.

“We applied it down and the next day, literally within 24 hours, the greens had a completely different look to them – they were so much healthier. I will continue to apply that mixture every four to five weeks right through until the end of the season. It has made a huge difference to the greens and it means that I could sleep easy at night!”

Ever the perfectionist, Allan is always looking at ways in which he can take the course to another level and he believes that the technical support he receives from Amenity Specialist Joseph Dormer is another benefit in his decision to work with Sherriff Amenity.

“I like to think I’m quite technically minded and I like to know every product inside out – Joseph is exactly the same and we are quite often having discussions about the technical aspects of greenkeeping. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off one another.”

For further information, please contact Sherriff Amenity on 01638 721 888 or visit www.sherriffamenity.com

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Sherriff Amenity has announced the launch of E2 Pro Elicitor - a new unique soluble plant biostimulant which contains Harpin aβ.

E2 Pro from Sherriff Amenity is a brand of turf care products which is viewed as being synonymous with quality, and the ever-expanding portfolio features a range of both high performing water soluble and liquid fertilisers. There are currently five different analyses within the water soluble range and eight in the liquid portfolio, ensuring that there is a solution to suit a wide range of nutrient requirements throughout the year.

Elicitor is the latest product to be welcomed to the E2 Pro family and by all accounts it appears that turf managers will be more than pleased with addition.

This unique soluble biostimulant contains an elicitor that stimulates gene expression in plants, delivering improved abiotic stress tolerance and better plant growth. Elicitors are known to activate a variety of biosynthetic pathways within the plant and the inclusion of Harpin aβ can significantly enhance results. Rigorous trial work has concluded that Harpin aβ specifically stimulates plant growth (above and below ground), nutrient absorption and tolerance to abiotic stress, including drought, temperature stress and pesticide detoxification. Further benefits include increased photosynthesis and enhanced root development.

Harpins are acidic, heat-stable, glycine-rich proteins produced by Gram-negative bacteria, which trigger defence responses in diverse plant species. When applied as a foliar spray, the Harpin proteins bind to plant receptors, initiating jasmonic acid and ethylene dependent signalling pathways; known as a Hypersensitive Response (HR). Harpins induce the expression of genes involved in cell wall development, cellular communication, and signalling and defence responses.

Harpin aβ proteins can be applied as either a seed treatment, or as a foliar spray. When used as a foliar spray, application every 3-4 weeks during growth is recommended. As Harpin aβ activates genes within the plant, there is no requirement for full coverage at the time of application. Once the genes are activated, the plant response is initiated within 24 hours.

For further information, please contact Sherriff Amenity on 01638 721 888 or visit www.sherriffamenity.com

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Over 130 cricket groundsmen made their way to Cheltenham College for the second ever Dennis and SISIS’ Cricket Pitch Renovation Day, which featured a mix of thought provoking indoor presentations and outdoor practical demonstrations.

The event, which was supported by Boughton Loam, CricketWorld.com, Stuart Canvas, Limagrain UK, Lister Wilder, Poweroll and Headland Amenity began with an introduction from Robert Jack (Dennis and SISIS) and Eric Woodmason from Gloucestershire Cricket Board who gave a fascinating insight into his role as clubs and programmes officer for the north of the county.

Alex Vickers, turf consultant, was first up to discuss Principles of decision making for autumn renovations & profile reading, which no doubt would have left the assembled groundsmen with plenty of food for thought. Alex proceeded to offer some great renovation tips which was supported by visual slides and in particular he urged all attendees to plan ahead and avoid guess work. He advocates that gathering evidence prior to forming renovation decisions was key and advised groundsmen to understand the importance of what is happening beneath the square rather than focussing just on the top.

As a leading contractor, Keith Exton of Perfect Pitches UK, was perfectly placed to deliver his seminar entitled End of season renovations – a contractor’s overview. Keith was keen to emphasise just how integral timing is to cricket pitch preparation and warned the audience not to overlook the significance of measuring moisture content.

Both Keith and Alex went on further to discuss various renovation techniques such as aeration, top-dressing, seeding and applying loam, and both were also unanimous in the importance of taking core soil samples.

After his seminar, Alex was pleased to welcome a number of questions from delegates and also revealed why events such as these are integral to raising the standards of cricket groundsmanship.

“I think the reason people should come along to these events is two-fold. First of all, you are never too old and never too experienced to learn something new; there are always new techniques to discover. That could be through the practical demonstrations, through the talks or even by chatting to your fellow groundsmen because you find that you really do learn from one another. An event like this is a fantastic way to develop those networks and get to know other people who are having the same issues as you.

“It also helps keep people up to date. I know some groundsmen who have been doing the same things for 30 years with the same bit of kit but the industry has moved on and there are easier and better ways of doing things. Events like today can help you understand that actually there are better ways to achieve the good results.”

Following the presentations, it was the perfect opportunity to introduce delegates to the Soil Core Clinic. In this innovative feature Keith was joined by Ian Smith (St Albans School Turf Consultant) as they proceeded to examine a number of soil profiles which were brought to the event by delegates. The samples were projected onto the big screen and Keith and Ian discussed how each could potentially be improved.

Over recent years, Ian has been a prominent figure at the Dennis and SISIS cricket groundsmen seminars, and he was delighted to see yet another great turn-out. “Today we’ve had a real mixture of cricket groundsmen – 130 from the likes of part-time clubs, schools and county clubs. In my opinion, there are not many of these events going on in the industry so I think they are extremely valuable,” he said.

A complimentary lunch signalled the halfway point before delegates made their way outside into the glorious sunshine. Cheltenham College offered picturesque views and a wonderful backdrop as the outdoor practical demonstrations took place on two squares and the cricket outfield.

The three workshops focused on a variety of techniques that would be beneficial for cricket groundsmen and saw an impressive fleet of machinery carrying out tasks such as aeration, seeding, brushing, top dressing and scarifying.

Christian Brain, head of grounds at Cheltenham College and host for the day, was extremely generous in letting the demonstrations take place on his county standard squares and felt that the day was a huge success for all involved. “It’s been fantastic to see so many passionate groundsmen here mixing with one another and sharing ideas. We’ve had some great feedback from the delegates and overall it’s been a hugely successful day,” he said.

Adam King, head of grounds at Radley College, brought other members of staff along with him and found the day extremely worthwhile.

“I’ve brought along five lads with me today and we’ve been treated to some great indoor talks and outdoor demonstrations. Generally, I find these days useful in respect of networking but it’s also a nice release for my members of staff who have been incredibly busy for the last six months on the cricket squares. It has given them the day off; they have been able to watch the machines in action, learn something new and they will absolutely take something away.”

Echoing Adam’s thoughts was Gordon Gill, contractor and head groundsman at Bath Cricket Club, who felt it was refreshing for his members of staff to gain a greater insight into the industry.

“I’ve come along to introduce my two staff members to the networking that goes on, plus they can see the machinery first hand, they can speak to other people in the trade first hand, and suddenly they find they are not alone anymore. It’s been a great exercise for them.”

Eric Woodmason rounded off the day by suggesting that events like these are not just beneficial to the groundsmen but also claimed that they have a positive impact on the sport of cricket. “My main desire out of this is that club groundsmen gain experience and knowledge of what they need to do on their grounds and hopefully that their grounds will improve as a result. This in turn, will get more people wanting to play cricket because if there is a good ground to play on, cricket becomes even more enjoyable.”

A video of the event can be found by visiting https://youtu.be/3pxT4yyQmU8

Further information about the range of cricket maintenance products available can be found by visiting www.dennisuk.com / www.sisis.com.

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The Lansdowne course at Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland has seen huge benefits since using a range of ICL’s H2Pro moisture management products – according to Course Manager Craig Stewart.

Craig Stewart is the man responsible for maintaining the magnificent championship course and has six full-time staff with two seasonal workers alongside him. As a long-term user of ICL products, Craig first started applying the H2Pro range of products five years ago after a successful trial.

“Essentially, our aim was to keep the surface and the profile dry on the greens and approaches throughout winter. We tried a few products and then Jamie Lees (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager, Scotland) suggested trialling H2Pro TriSmart. We trialled it for two months in the middle of that summer, saw great results and we just carried on from there. I like the fact that you can go from TriSmart to FlowSmart carrying on the moisture management programme all through the year.”

Craig first applies H2ProTriSmart in April at a rate of 10L/ha. He continues with monthly applications before switching to H2Pro FlowSmart in September or October depending on the weather conditions.

“As soon as the weather begins to change and it turns a bit cooler then we know that it is time to switch to FlowSmart. We then use that for as long as it’s needed just to pull the moisture through the surface and the profile to dry the greens out.

“It is such a flexible programme and you can tailor it to your everyday conditions rather than having a fixed plan. If we get a wet spring or summer then we use FlowSmart until it starts to dry up a bit and then we switch back over to TriSmart, but it can work both ways.

“We’ve also noticed a big reduction in irrigation and hand watering. Since using H2Pro TriSmart we very seldom use another wetting agent because quite simply we have no need. It is labour saving because we no longer have guys out with hoses looking for dry patches on the greens and of course we are saving money on water usage too.”

The H2Pro range of products are not the only ICL products that Craig uses and he gave his reasons as to why the company plays such big role in his maintenance procedures.

“The majority of the products we use at Lansdowne are from ICL. Jamie helps me put a programme together every year and if we ever have any problems then he is always around for support. From a technical point of view, I just cannot fault the advice I get.

“We know the amount of money and research that goes into their products and I think that gives you confidence. Every product is consistently good. For example, when we get a bag of fertilizer from ICL we know exactly what we are getting - it is always consistent.”

Please contact ICL on +44 (0)1473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie

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Lawrence Ryan, course manager at Overstone Park Resort, believes that the SISIS tractor mounted Flexibrush delivers fantastic results on the picturesque fairways at the Northampton based golf course. 

Set in 193 acres of Victorian countryside, Overstone Park Resort boasts a wide array of incredible facilities including a 31 room hotel, 115 Scandinavian style lodges, a state-of-the-art gym, tennis courts, a bowling green; and arguably the jewel in the crown – a stunning 18 hole parkland golf course.

Lawrence, who has been a greenkeeper since leaving school, has held the position of course manager for the past two years and by all accounts it appears to be an exciting time for all involved at the resort - new owners have signalled their ambitions by heavily investing in Overstone and the membership, which currently sits at around 600, and continues to grow significantly on a yearly basis.

The course is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the premier golfing venues in Northamptonshire, which is testament to the work of Lawrence and his five members of staff who ensure that the course is kept at a consistent quality all year-round.

With a vast selection of turf care equipment in his armoury, Lawrence is particularly impressed with his SISIS Flexibrush – a tractor mounted brush which is ideal for both synthetic and natural turf surfaces. In Lawrence’s case, he has reported great results from using it for a number of tasks on his fairways. Featuring a 5.35 metre working width, its brush sections ‘float’ to follow ground contours providing maximum efficiency on large areas.

“It’s a great piece of kit which is extremely versatile,” he said. “Primarily we use it prior to cutting which ensures a quality cut every time. In the mornings, we will go out with the Flexibrush to remove the dew from the fairways. Also, because we block cut them, we will use it to stand the grasses up before cutting. We simply run the brush in an opposite direction to the way we block cut which results in a nice and even cut.

“Presentation wise, the Flexibrush provides us with fantastic striping which the members really like and appreciate. We can follow up with it behind the fairway mower, enhancing the presentation. This summer, due to the dry weather we’ve experienced, we’ve reduced the amount of cutting and used the Flexibrush for striping instead. It means we can skip cuts which saves a significant amount of time for the team as it’s quicker than mowing and gives us the presentation that is expected by the members.”

The SISIS Flexibrush, which is also commonly used for effectively dispersing top dressings, has hydraulically folding outer sections for storage and movement between areas and Lawrence claims that this feature provides him with even more versatility.

“You’ve got the hydraulic arms on it as well which means you don’t have to have all three of them down at the same time. Therefore, if you want to work on smaller areas with it then you can. It’s very versatile, offers extremely low maintenance and it fits onto our tractor incredibly well. The Flexibrush is also a time saver when you need a quick turnaround. You can whizz round the fairways with it within a couple of hours, whereas you could spend all day cutting and striping them beforehand.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit www.sisis.com

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Rob Bradshaw, head groundsman at Peterborough United FC’s Mick George Training Academy, has praised both the product and the service he receives from Limagrain UK.

Rob has admitted that he is currently ‘living the dream’. As a lifelong Peterborough United fan, not only is he working for the club that he loves but he is also doing a job that he loves. After starting his career working for Huntingdon District Council he accepted the head groundsman position at One Leisure sports centre in St Ives and during his time here he picked up two Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) national awards.

In between his current full-time role at the Mick George Training Academy, Rob is a pitch advisor for the Huntingdonshire FA and also runs a Sport England funded grounds association in the areas of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. So passionate about providing the best surfaces he can, he even admits to sleeping in his car after tending to the pitches through the night.

“Yes, I’ve had nights out in the car park but you have to do it sometimes,” he said. “I take pride in my work and I want what is best - for the players and for the club.”

Rob has been at Peterborough United FC for two years now and after a season of settling in he soon decided it was time to make his mark.

“It got to February time when I really wanted to start planning, make some improvements and finalise where we were going to go with our end of season renovations. Firstly, I needed to choose a good grass seed because I only want to use the best products here. I did my homework on various products and gave a number of companies the opportunity to come in.

“The Limagrain MM60 seed seemed to be the number one choice in my opinion. I know that a lot of other professional clubs use it and I have used various Limagrain products in the past – it has always been a proven package.”

Limagrain’s MM60 grass seed is renowned for producing an excellent playing surface on a number of winter sports pitches. It is a 100% Ryegrass formula which is perfect for renovation and divot repair, has a high disease resistance, fantastic aesthetic qualities and offers extremely fast germination – which is boosted by the inclusion of Headstart GOLD®.

Developed using the latest scientific findings and field experience, Headstart GOLD® is a natural revolutionary grass seed treatment that ensures rapid germination and is perfect for enhancing performance on grass seed coatings for sports fields, golf courses, lawns and amenity turf.

“We had good germination within 10-12 days and we had excellent coverage,” said Rob. “It’s important that I have a seed like MM60 which recovers quickly from damage and wear because of the amount of usage we have here. Last year, as well as training, we had 260 games on the two pitches so to have that dense, hard wearing sward which the MM60 provides is ideal.

“I’d also like to add that, aside from the success of the products, I have been really impressed by the service, the back-up and the advice I receive from Limagrain UK. When I was deciding on what seed to use Richard Sheppard (amenity seed specialist for Limagrain UK) came in and was very helpful. In my experience you don’t always get that level of professional back-up and I just can’t fault the company in any kind of way.”

For further information, please contact Limagrain UK on 01472 371471 or visit the company’s website www.lgseeds.co.uk/mm

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After a complete fleet renewal at Merchant Taylors’ School, grounds manager Richard Ayling has continued to put his trust in Dennis by purchasing a G860 and a G30D cylinder mower to add to the two G860’s and Razor mowers the school already had.   

Merchant Taylors', one of the 'Great Nine' schools of England, has provided an outstanding education to boys since 1561. As well as boasting exceptional academic results year on year, sport is central to life at Merchant Taylors’.

There are over 80 acres of magnificent playing fields with an additional 200 acres of estates providing outstanding opportunities for a wide range of sports including rugby, football, hockey and cricket. The school is a regional centre for England hockey and also hosts a number of elite sporting teams such as Middlesex County Cricket Club, Saracens and Wasps rugby academies and has previously catered for the Australian and South African national cricket teams.

The presence of such sporting teams surely is testament to the quality of pitches produced and maintained by Richard and his team of ten. With exceptionally high standards to adhere to and a multitude of sports surfaces to maintain, it is vital that the team has the most reliable and best performing grounds maintenance equipment in their armoury.

Therefore, as a long term user of Dennis equipment, Richard was delighted when he had the opportunity to bring in a range of brand new Dennis machines as part of a complete fleet renewal.

The new Dennis G860 cylinder mower is lightweight at just 166kg; easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to operate. The handlebar console houses the controls for - throttle, parking brake, roller drive and cutting cylinder drive. The mower also 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 which gives Richard the ability to use the G860 across more than one sports pitch.

“We use the G860’s across all of our winter pitches and they also do our squares in the summer. With cricket squares you need to get across them fairly quickly and these mowers allow us to do just that. As one person cuts the square another person follows behind with the Sorrel Roller and opens the top up slightly to allow a little bit of air movement. It works really well. It has cut our algae and other bits on the surface down and allows a bit more drainage through the surface.

“The option of having all of the different cassettes is great. We use the Verti-Cutter, the Brush, the 8-Bladed Cylinder and the Sorrel Roller – so we are building an armoury of attachments too.”

With over 30 acres of lawns and other grass areas to maintain, Richard completed his Dennis line-up with the purchase of a Dennis G30D cylinder mower. Designed and built following the same concept as the Dennis G860, the G30D incorporates a large-diameter eight bladed cutting cylinder to cater for a wide range of uses to leave a precise cut.

“At the moment we have two big lawns at the school and another large grass area. We use the G30D for this work but it is also a good back-up mower for the sports pitches.

“Previously we were using a 26” mower for the lawns and it had a fairly small grass box so we were forever emptying it. Since changing to the G30D we are saving a significant amount of time and we are getting an incredible finish and presentation – something that is extremely important here at the school.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact Dennis 01332 824 777 or visit www.dennisuk.com

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Pitchworks continues to grow with new appointment. Pitchworks, market specialists in supplying superior ground equipment and products to the sports industry, has announced the appointment of Lee Williams as its new Area Manager covering North Wales, Shropshire, Merseyside, Cheshire and surrounding areas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ICL marks its sixth Independent Schools Seminar in style

ICL recently held the sixth successive annual Independent Schools Seminar. The event, held at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham brought together turf professionals and provided an opportunity to network and enhance education and understanding on a variety of different turf management topics.

Following an introduction from event organiser Emma Kilby, ICL Area Sales Manager for the Midlands and West, Gary Barwell, Head Groundsman at Edgbaston Stadium, kick-started proceedings by offering an insight into pitch preparations at the stadium as well as disclosing some of his team’s techniques.

In the midst of a particularly difficult summer, delegates welcomed the opening presentation by Dr Andy Owen, ICL International Technical Manager. Entitled ‘Growing resilient turf’, Andy focused on growing deeper rooted plants, which explored a number of strategies that groundsmen can apply in order to encourage rooting; explaining the importance of an integrated approach and that nothing should be undertaken in isolation. Furthermore, Andy went on to provide a plethora of hints and tips from research trials which included advice on best practice in utilizing nutrition, dealing with parasitic nematodes and ideal water management to get the best out of the grass plant.

Grass seed is an important aspect of ICL's product portfolio and an essential part of the company's integrated turf management solutions, and the next presentation ‘Seed for all Seasons’, provided delegates with a fascinating insight into this aspect of the business.

Simon Taylor, ICL Product & Business Development Manager, has more than 20 years' experience in the grass seed sector and he revealed the opportunities for potential genetic improvements in finding new traits in varieties that could benefit the turf manager. He explained the motives behind looking at the best of what US and European breeding programmes offer and how the finest of those characteristics can be applied into various new blends.

A complimentary lunch signalled the halfway point before Alex Vickers, Turf Consultant, spoke in detail about his experience of helping to build a cricket pitch in Rwanda. In this humorous and thought-provoking presentation entitled ‘Making the most of what you have got – a lesson from Rwanda’, Alex explained how the team achieved fantastic results when faced with a near-on impossible task.

The presentation seemed to strike a chord with the delegates. “I really enjoyed Alex’s presentation and I think there is a great lesson to be learnt,” said Tom Brotherhood, First Team Cricket Groundsman at Loughborough Grammar School. “Just seeing how they managed to achieve what they did in Rwanda with basically half of the equipment compared to what we have was amazing. We are always wanting more of the best equipment and perhaps we take what we already have for granted. I think it showed how to think outside of the box when you find yourself in a difficult situation.”

Andy Richards, Grounds Manager at Shrewsbury School, was the next speaker to take to the stage. In this insightful presentation Andy revealed how he uses data recorded from his weather station and moisture metres to speak to the school’s sports department bursar about playing conditions and to identify what equipment he needs in order to continue to make improvements. Andy encouraged the delegates to follow suit claiming that just that little extra bit of information can be used to their advantage.

It was the third ICL Independent School Seminar Andy has attended and he believes that events such as these are integral to raising the standards of groundsmanship.

“Independent schools groundsmanship is a completely different form of groundsmanship to say football, cricket or other sports grounds, because your usage is incredibly high over such a condensed period of time. This is the only event of its kind designed to specifically help independent school groundsmen and it’s great to meet like-minded people where we can bounce ideas off one another. It’s the only way we can continue to improve.”

Attendees then received a glimpse into Syngenta’s new turf pigment technology when Glenn Kirby, Syngenta’s Technical Manager for UK Turf & Landscape, provided an overview on the new product - Ryder. This unique turf colourant delivers a consistent, natural green colour and gives turf managers an opportunity to colour up turf to their liking. Glenn explained Ryder’s strong longevity qualities and how the technology protects turf from harmful UV rays and excessive light.

Former English first-class cricketer, Ashley Giles MBE, is arguably best known for his heroics in England’s victorious 2005 Ashes series and he concluded the day’s presentations by explaining his current role as Director of Cricket at Edgbaston as well as relaying some very interesting and humorous stories about how the successful Ashes team celebrated their monumental victory over Australia.

After dinner the day was rounded off in style as all attendees stayed behind to watch the T20 game between Birmingham Bears and Leicestershire Foxes.

Reflecting on the event, Lee Marshallsay, Grounds Manager at Charterhouse School, said: “I’ve been coming to these events almost every year and they just keep getting better. There are plenty of speakers to learn from and there is a lot that us groundsmen can take back. I particularly like the networking side of it because you can find out that you’re not the only one who may have had a hard season. It’s also a good chance to bring other members of staff along because it means that some of the younger guys can learn things from other people rather than just listen to me all the time!”

That was certainly the case for Aaron Skyrme, Assistant Groundsman at King Henry VIII School in Coventry: “Today has been really beneficial,” he said. “I’m currently studying an NVQ Level 2 in Sports Turf Management and learning about the different technologies in seeds and various grasses today has really helped me. There are also so many aspects that I will take away with me and put into my practical work at the school.”

Please contact ICL on +44 (0)1473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie.

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New Innovation Hub at SALTEX

New for 2018, SALTEX visitors can expect to see and experience the very latest groundscare ingenuity in a new area on the show floor which is purely dedicated to innovation and new concepts in grounds management.

SALTEX plays host to the most technologically-advanced equipment showcase with hundreds of exhibitors pushing the boundaries with new products and services. Within this fast-paced and evolving industry, manufacturers are more forward-thinking than ever before to ensure their products match their client’s needs and with over 8,000 SALTEX visitors, these new technologies are certainly under the spotlight.

According to the SALTEX 2017 visitor survey, an incredible 97 per cent claimed that their main reason for attending the exhibition was to see the latest innovations. Taking this feedback on-board, SALTEX event organisers have decided to host, for the very first time, a dedicated Innovation Hub.

Visitors can expect to watch interviews with industry experts and those at the forefront of new groundscare innovations and listen to research and trial work findings. Furthermore, a number of key speakers will take to the stage to discuss and explore current groundscare trends such as cordless/environmentally friendly equipment, robotics, GPS control machinery, pesticide alternatives, pitch lighting (including watering systems and oxygen) and pitch monitoring systems.

In this exciting new feature, delegates will be able to engage in conversation regarding key topics or seek advice while using the opportunity to network with the industry’s most innovative business leaders and exporters – making the Innovation Hub a must visit area for all attendees.

The Innovation Hub will also play host to the SALTEX 2018 Innovation Award ceremony. Entries to the second ever SALTEX Innovation Award are now open and visitors can again expect to see the latest and very best in new grounds care technology.

Making its debut at last year’s show, the Innovation Award attracted a number of high-quality entries from across the globe spanning a wide variety of products, services and equipment.

The independent panel of judges, who based their decisions on a number of factors including what the entry offers the industry and how it makes life easier for the person using it, were unanimous in selecting four stand-out entries – and by all accounts 2017 was the year for new line marking technologies.

The standard was incredibly high resulting in a tie for first place. Rigby Taylor’s Intelligent One autonomous robotic line marker and Fleet Line Markers’ MAQA line marking machine were announced as joint winners of the first ever SALTEX Innovation Award.

Second place went to Oregon’s Gator Speedload, which judges said was a quick and simple device which negated the need to dismantle the head each time to re-load/wrap new strimmer cord. Third place went to the Etesia Hydro 80 MKHP4 E-Connect, due to its ability to set up multiple users and record data – allowing organisations or clubs to monitor the amount of use and user’s ability.

Due to the popularity of last year’s Innovation Award, SALTEX 2018 is expected to attract even more entries and all will be revealed in the lead-up to the show. Additionally, by referring to the show guide, SALTEX visitors will be able to follow an Innovation Trail enabling them to see every single entry on the show floor.

SALTEX takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 31 and November 1.

Visitors can register to attend SALTEX for FREE via the website – www.iogsaltex.com

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