Fusion Media's Posts (633)

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An ICL/Syngenta breakfast club meeting for Greenkeepers led Andrew Merry, Course Manager at Preston Golf Club, to change his mind-set when it comes to disease management.

Andrew may well be unique in the fact that not only is he the Course Manager at Preston Golf Club but he is also the General Manager. It all started back in 2006 when he was appointed as the Deputy Course Manager but soon was promoted when the position of course manager became vacant.

He admits that it was somewhat a baptism of fire but twelve years later Andrew has excelled in this dual role, and one look at the stunning course is certainly testament to this.

The superb 18 hole, 6,278 yard, par 71 course dates back to 1892 with the design influenced by such luminaries as James Braid, Harry Varden, Alistair Mackenzie and Sandy Herd. Preston also has a wonderful variety of holes and USGA constructed greens that offer a challenge to players of all abilities.

Andrew has to work hard at keeping the course in a consistently excellent condition and none more so than two years ago when the greens were unfortunately struck with disease. 

“I went on my Christmas break, left on the Thursday and came back on a Monday to find disease on the greens and I was worried I wouldn’t get those back. But since then and since attending the breakfast clubs, my view on course management has changed. The ICL/Syngenta “Turf Science Lite” breakfast club has re-educated me and made me want to start looking at things more preventatively and so far that has worked for the second year running,” he said.

The breakfast clubs were arranged by ICL’s North West Technical Area Sales Manager Phil Collinson, who provided a little more background.

“The idea was to get Greenkeepers together, keep them up to date on legislation, and inform them about products or trial work and to provide a networking opportunity.

“The breakfast club which Andrew first attended was based around various hard-hitting fungicides leaving the market and educating them that successful turf management is going to have to be different in the future. It is not about waiting for disease and hitting it and reducing the damage it is doing – it is about understanding when the site is most at risk from a damaging disease outbreak and preventing that damage from occurring in the first place by being proactive with the management strategy.”

Andrew did exactly that and incorporated an early application of Medallion TL at a rate of 3L/ha prior to his annual renovation work.

“Our annual renovation period starts in the third week of September and so a preventative fungicide a week before is where we start with our preventative management. Following that first application, a preventative fungicide goes down around every four weeks as well as incorporating good cultural methods such as dew removal to lower the risk of an outbreak. It is difficult to get into the mind-set of applying a fungicide when your greens are clean but it is absolutely worth it.”

To compliment Andrew’s preventative strategy and to assist in reducing disease pressure, he also embarked on a full H2Pro TriSmart programme. This unique wetting agent consists of a triple-active formulation which provides great control when it comes to moisture management.

“We apply TriSmart on the greens at 10 L/ha every 4 weeks from April through to September. 2018 was the year to find out which wetting agents really work and I can safely say that TriSmart has excelled.

“Since using the product I haven’t had any compromised greens even during the hottest and driest periods. It also worth bearing in mind that I have an irrigation system which perhaps isn’t the best and the greens dry out very quickly because they are sand based.

“However, I’ve managed my moisture levels incredibly well and TriSmart has done exactly what it says on the tin!”

Andrew claims that the research and trial work conducted by ICL and Syngenta was a big factor in him deciding to use the products. 

“In my opinion ICL has that research and development which is proven and it is something that will always stand up in my opinion. The support I receive from Phil is also invaluable.”

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

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No rain? No problem!

Sherriff Amenity’s Marathon fertilisers help overcome last year’s drought.

With prolonged heat and drought conditions challenging turf managers up and down the country, Tim Attwood, sports field groundsman at Beaudesert Park School in Minchinhampton, Stroud, believes that his use of Sherriff Amenity’s Marathon fertilisers have helped his turf to endure this testing period.

Beaudesert Park stands in beautiful grounds high up in the Cotswolds, commanding magnificent views over the surrounding countryside. Founded in 1908 at Henley in Arden, Warwickshire, the school moved to its present site in 1918 and has become a thriving co-ed day, weekly and flexi boarding school for 450 boys and girls aged 3 – 13.

The school has excellent facilities which includes 15 acres of beautiful playing fields. Football is the main focus at the start of the spring term which is shortly followed by hockey. Rugby is the major sport in the autumn term and as you would expect, cricket is prominent in the summer.

Tim is the man charged with maintaining all of the sports pitches and after working with Sherriff Amenity for 15 years, he believes that his use of Marathon fertilisers is a tried and tested method which guarantees results.

“I’ve used Marathon fertilisers on sites where I have worked before and they have just always worked. They are also semi-organic which ticks a nice big box for me,” he says.

As Tim remarks, the range of Marathon fertilisers feature a patented organic complex base that provides the extended release characteristics needed to give gentle root development without producing excessive top growth. The slow release mechanism avoids soft growth that is more susceptible to disease attack whilst the high potassium content helps to harden turf against fungal pathogens and low temperature stress. The analysis has been further amended with ingredients to supply the correct balance of nutrients required by the turf.

With the analyses of each product in the range being geared to a specific growth stage or season, Tim incorporates three particular Marathon fertilisers into a year round maintenance programme.

Applying the product by using a spreader behind a compact tractor and at rate of 25g/m2, Tim firstly uses the Marathon Sport Spring 16.4.8 typically at the end of March. In the midst of a warm July he will then apply Marathon Sport Summer 10.0.15 followed by the Autumn mixture 7.0.21 in October.

“This programme keeps the pitches ticking over nicely throughout the year,” he says. “It greens up nicely, the sward seems to thicken and it lasts for a good long time. Even throughout this summer, which has been incredibly challenging with the weather, my sports field has maintained its health and colour. From what I’ve seen, there are a lot of sports fields round here which haven’t and I think the Marathon Sport products have gone a long way in achieving that.”

Sherriff Amenity’s extensive range of quality products are also perfectly complimented by the first class customer service provided by the company’s amenity specialists. Renowned for their technical knowledge, which is consistently enriched through industry leading training programmes, Sherriff’s amenity specialists are always on hand to ensure that customers are always getting the best results from their turf. 

“I’ve known David Evans (amenity specialist for Wiltshire and South Wales) for a long time and I know that he would never push any products my way which are not appropriate for what I want to achieve. He genuinely wants the best for my turf and he’s always there for help, recommendations and support. For me, that is a big factor in choosing to work with Sherriff Amenity.”

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

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Producing the top-quality turf needed for high-level sports requires a keen focus on turf maintenance and inputs. All applications of water and nutrients should be optimised to ensure responsible resource-use efficiency. ICL has started an exciting research project exploring the use of wetting agents to further improve water use and to potentially help optimise nutrient use for managed amenity turf.

It is a three-year research project delivered through the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, Lancaster University. The Centre is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund

and is supporting local sports field construction specialists J Mallinson in collaboration with surfactant specialists at ICL.

Dr Andy Owen (ICL International Technical Manager) has been instrumental in planning the project. “I have known the research team here at Lancaster Environment Centre for a

number of years and the chance to collaborate and generate useful research optimising inputs to turf through wetting agent use is invaluable.”

Graduate researcher Vasileios (Billy) Giannakopoulos is working under the supervision of Dr Jaime Puertolas and Professor Ian Dodd. Billy was selected ahead of a number of other applicants to embark on the three-year project and said “I’m delighted to be a part of this project as this kind of research has never been undertaken until now. It is such an interesting and relevant topic, with the potential to make a real difference for turf and crop management.”

The project will be utilising ICL’s H2Pro range of wetting agents which includes TriSmart, AquaSmart and FlowSmart and the research team will be using these products in a series of

experiments, both laboratory, glass house and field-based.

A year has already passed on the three-year project and Dr Puertolas believes that some new ground-breaking information could well be on the horizon.

“Understanding surfactants and what they do is a very interesting subject, we normally modify the soil moisture by how we place the water through irrigation type or the

frequency of the irrigation application but this is another way of manipulating how the water is distributed in the soil.”

“We hope to generate information which could improve irrigation effectiveness and better understand water and nutrient movement through a soil and uptake by a plant.”

“Working with J Mallinson and ICL is a win-win situation because we can deliver research in our line of expertise but also connect with industry practice; that is really important to us because it covers two of our aspirations – to be more environmentally friendly and to continue to innovate.”

Lana Farren, Research Manager for ICL, believes that the research is being carried out at an incredibly appropriate time. “The world is becoming more and more environmentally aware. The reality is that demand for water is increasing with large volumes being used for irrigating crops and amenity turf.

We also lose a lot of applied nutrients through leaching which can be environmentally damaging. If we can improve water and nutrient use efficiency then ultimately, we are becoming more sustainable.”

Prof Dodd commented “Providing sufficient water for crop production is a major challenge in many parts of the world. Even in the UK it can be difficult to assure this, as crop water use peaks in the summer when water availability in the environment can be limited, as we’ve seen this year.

This project is one of a number that have been funded in Lancaster’s Plant & Crop Sciences research group via the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, and it is heartening to see such engagement between academics and industry to develop real-world solutions.”

Andy feels that as a global supplier of turf and agricultural products, ICL has a certain responsibility to conduct such vital research. “ICL will continue to invest in good quality

independent research that helps support our products. We recognise that water and nutrient use efficiency is critical for crop management worldwide, so this research is vitally important.”

“Our wetting agents are used both in sports turf and agriculture and ultimately we want to be able to support the whole range with robust data, so we can market them responsibly.”

For more information about the H2Pro wetting agent range please contact ICL on +44 (0)1473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie. For more information about the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation please visit www.globalecoinnovation.org.

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Now in its 74th year, SALTEX is growing from strength to strength in its NEC home.

In fact, already 70 per cent of the SALTEX 2019 floorplan has been allocated with more than 180 SALTEX 2018 exhibitors returning. Over 40 of these exhibitors have increased the size of their stand and a further influx of debut exhibitors are looking to engage with the show this year.

Campey Turf Care Systems will be building on its success at SALTEX 2018 by upgrading its stand and showcasing an even wider range of turf machinery.

"The SALTEX exhibition has proved it is still popular with the professional groundsperson attracting visitors from both here and abroad. Last year we trialled a smaller stand with an area for seating and refreshments for our visitors. This was very successful, so this year we are taking a larger stand to create an even more welcoming space for our customers while at the same time increasing the number of machines on display," said managing director Richard Campey.

AS Communications, a provider of industry-leading technology to the amenity and agricultural sectors, has enjoyed many successful SALTEX exhibitions over the years and according to marketing manager Holly Jones, now is the time to maximize its show presence. 

“We’ve been exhibiting at SALTEX a number of years now and have always found it to be a good event. SALTEX allows us to meet numerous turf professionals across the grounds industry in a very focused environment. The show is going from strength to strength, something we are aspiring to do too, hence investing in our stand space and design.”

Lister Wilder is a new exhibitor for 2019 and division sales director Phill Hughes revealed that the company will be using its first appearance at the NEC as an opportunity to promote its impressive hire division.

“I’ve been monitoring show attendance and feedback prior to making a commitment. My view of last year was that it felt like there was a level of excitement around the manufacturers. The customers attending appear to be of good quality and in good spirit, something which I believe has been achieved by combining the IOG Awards with the show.

“Over the last few years we have seen a rise in the number of commercial fleet customers looking for both long and short-term hire as an alternative to purchasing assets and we look forward to promoting our commercial hire division to a wider audience in order to increase our current customer base.”

For Arysta LifeScience, a global agricultural company specialising in the marketing and distribution of innovative crop protection and biosolution brands, the opportunity to meet distributors and end users was a major factor in deciding to exhibit at SALTEX for the first time and following the acquisition of Arysta LifeScience by UPL in January, the two companies will become one, with Arysta LifeScience presenting itself as UPL at SALTEX.

Campaigns & communications manager Janine Heath, said: “As we continue to drive into new cropping sectors we thought it would be a good idea to exhibit at SALTEX.

“Although we sell through distributors, we also aim to connect with end users. If we raise the brand awareness amongst them, then it’s more than likely to drive back up the chain.

“We’re always looking to expand our customer base and build business and SALTEX is a great occasion to meet everyone in one place.”

SALTEX 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.

For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com

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The Dennis and SISIS Groundcare Seminar took place at St. Albans School, Woollam Trust Playing Fields on Tuesday 19 February with delegates all claiming it was a huge success.

For a number of years, the Dennis and SISIS pre-season indoor seminars have toured the country and have successfully seen over 1800 ground staff in attendance. As they continue to grow in both size and reputation, the seminars are continually evolving with the people of the industry in mind.

Designed to educate those involved in groundcare on a variety of sports turf topics, this seminar signalled an exciting new chapter in the series and it certainly didn’t disappoint the two hundred and fifty strong audience which consisted of volunteers and professionals representing schools, sports clubs, local authorities and contractors.

The seminar was well supported by the industry and welcomed a number of key sponsors which included Bernhard and Company, Consolidate Turf, CricketWorld.com, Garside Sands, Harrod Sport, Headland Amenity, Limagrain UK, Poweroll, RT Machinery and SIS Pitches.

After an introduction from Dennis and SISIS’ Robert Jack, former Rugby Union star Kyran Bracken, arguably best known for his heroics in England’s victorious 2003 World Cup win, took to the stage to relay some highly interesting and humorous stories about that memorable campaign in Australia.

It was then straight to business with back-to-back presentations from key speakers Rob Kendle (ATB Sports Solutions), Dr. Iain James (TGMS Ltd) and Alex Vickers (IOG consultant).

Rob started proceedings by discussing best practice in renovating and rejuvenating a surface; Iain followed with a plethora of advice on how to get the most out of a sportsground construction project and Alex gave the audience a fantastic insight into drainage on sports pitches.

A complimentary lunch signalled the halfway point and attendees had the opportunity to network with one another and discuss individual projects with event sponsors.

Once refreshed, delegates settled into their seats for an afternoon feast of knowledge served by Chris Wood (ECB pitch consultant) and Keith Kent (RFU head groundsman, Twickenham).

Keith drew on his wealth of experience as a groundsman to explore the transformation of winter sports pitches into cricket outfields and Chris reflected on 50 years in cricket groundsmanship in which he focussed on vital techniques before discussing emerging trends which could become essential in the not too distant future.

The day concluded with a special recognition award by Tim Lamb, former chief executive of the ECB, to Chris Wood for his outstanding contribution to the game of cricket over the past 50 years, which also saw a standing ovation from the crowd.

Commenting on the event, Alison Davenport, general manager of the East London Community Sports Association said:

“We are currently having drainage issues with one of our pitches and fortunately today’s seminar has covered this at length,” she said. “In fact, we are in the process of trying to persuade our council to let us take over a contract for some grounds maintenance work and the knowledge we have gained today will only help our cause because we now feel confident that we can go back to them and showcase that we have the ability to do the work successfully. We have taken something from every element of this seminar and it has been invaluable.”

Nick Lockhart, cricket professional and head of grounds and gardens at Felsted School in Essex, brought two members of staff along with him and believes the Dennis and SISIS seminars are essential for anyone who wants to take their sports surfaces to the next level.

“It has been thoroughly enjoyable, informative and thought provoking. I would go as far as saying that it is a must-attend event for people in this industry. It has been incredibly interesting listening to all of the speakers who have all raised great points that we can take away with us and put into practice. Speakers aside, the networking opportunities are also important because it gives us a chance to speak to other delegates, find out what they might be doing differently to us and hopefully learn from them too.”

Echoing Nick was Andy Mackay, head groundsman at Sussex CCC, who said that the line-up of speakers was just too good to ignore.

“The quality of speakers at this particular event was a huge draw in my decision to come. I’ve been in turf for over 20 years and I still learn something new every single time I listen to Alex Vickers. The general atmosphere of the event was worth coming for and the whole programme was spectacular.”

Keith Kent may well be responsible for one of the most prestigious stadiums in world sport but claims that every day should still be a learning day. 

“I think that as part of everybody’s education every day should be a school day and a seminar such as this, where there are such high-quality speakers, is a vital opportunity to progress. For me, it is all about the education and that is why I’ve brought my staff along. I like them to see what I do because I don’t want to be the boss who just disappears. They have come along, enjoyed the day, picked up new ideas and met lots of people from a range of different sports.”

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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ICL launch two new SierrablenPlus analyses

ICL has announced the launch of two new additions to its leading range of SierrablenPlus fertilizers. The new products – “Renovator” 11-11-5 + 4CaO + 8MgO and “Turf Starter” 5-28-0 + 16MgO both contain Pearl® Technology, which has been proven to greatly enhance root development.

The mini-granular range of SierrablenPlus fertilizers have for many years been a popular choice for those looking to achieve even coverage at low rates for their sports or amenity turf. This is due to the micro-granular formulation containing Poly-S and resin-coated PACE technology with conventional nitrogen sources to provide the best long-term nutrient release patterns.

Depending on the requirement, there are a wide range of solutions in the SierrablenPlus range to supporting healthy turf growth though the season. The latest products to be added to the portfolio, “Renovator” and “Turf Starter”, have been specifically added because of their ability to greatly enhance root development due to the inclusion of Pearl® Technology.

Pearl® Technology blends a unique, recycled, slow-release phosphorus into these 2 new analysesto provide significantly increased rooting and more efficient nutrient use over traditional phosphorus sources.

As with all ICL products, both the “Renovator” and “Turf Starter” have been rigorously tested through independent trials. Data has revealed significantly increased rooting when SierrablenPlus with Pearl® Technology is used  as part of a seedbed preparation and during turf-laying. Furthermore, there was a 2.5 x increase in rooting when compared to another existing high-performing product.

Key features

  • Controlled-release Poly-S nitrogen with 3+ month longevity for strong turf response.
  • Root-activated Pearl® Technology, slow-release phosphorus for increased rooting.
  • Contains Polyhalite with K, CaO and MgO.
  • Includes recycled nutrients N, P and MgO.
  • Earlier harvest time demonstrated when used for turf production.

Both Renovator and Turf Starter are ideal for use in turf production and laying as well as incorporating into the seedbed when renovating stadium pitches, sports fields, tees and fairways.

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

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Heavy usage on the sports pitches at the Trojan Club in Eastleigh, Hampshire, means that head groundsman Dave Edwards needs to ensure the turf stands up to the rigours of winter sports. It is for this reason he chooses Sherriff Amenity’s Marathon Sport extended release fertilisers.

The Trojan Sports Club is a community-based amateur sports club which is run by the members, for the members and is open to all. The club receives no ongoing support from local or national sports authorities, and is totally reliant on member subscriptions, bar takings and fund-raising for its continued survival; and in a true case of Trojan by name, Trojan by nature - survive it certainly does.

Trojan is one of the largest amateur sports clubs in Hampshire and has a long history of playing sport at a high level including rugby, hockey, squash, cricket and football. Tasked with ensuring the quality and safety of the sports pitches is Dave Edwards, who aside from the help of volunteers two days a week, tends to the large site alone.

Dave has been in the turf industry for the entirety of his career and after a nine year spell as a groundsman at AFC Bournemouth, he went onto positions at Iford Golf Club, Christchurch F.C and Meyrick Park Golf Club before accepting the role of head groundsman at Trojan two and a half years ago.

It was in his previous employment that he first became acquainted with Sherriff Amenity’s Marathon Sport extended release fertilisers.

“I had previous experience of using the Marathon range and especially when I was at the football grounds - I didn’t really use anything else. I thought they were good slow release products which lasted an incredibly long time. In my opinion there are a lot of slow release products out there which are hit and miss and it can be a bit of a lottery but I was impressed with the Marathon range. In summer, the pitches used to really kick on when using them for the end of season renovations, so when I started here I thought it made sense to start using them again.”

The Marathon range is characterised by a balance of nutrients, the analyses of each product being geared to a specific growth stage or season. With five existing products in the Marathon Sport range - Autumn, Pre-Seed, Spring, Summer, Lawn Mini Pack– there truly is a solution for every requirement, no matter what the time of year.

Across the four rugby pitches, Dave’s maintenance programme sees him start the season with the Summer mixture 10.0.15, which he applies at 35g/m2 before turning to the Marathon Sport Autumn 7.0.21 to ensure good grass coverage over winter. Just through these two applications, Dave believes that it is all he needs to ensure the turf stays strong and healthy all year round.

“The products are very good in respect of providing the turf with a lovely colour and they are extremely hard wearing - it keeps the grass looking healthy but toughens it up as well which is what we need for the amount of usage. The pitches are used approximately 6-7 days a week through the winter and the slow release gives us great longevity, it doesn’t tail off after a few weeks.

“Overall, I would say that the Marathon Sport fertilisers are great value for money without a shadow of a doubt. The customer service I receive from Sherriff Amenity is also fantastic; I always get products on time and my representative David Evans is full of advice and very supportive.”

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

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Stuart Hogg, Course Manager at The West Lancashire Golf Club, believes that ICL’s H2Pro TriSmart provides him with everything he requires from a wetting agent.

Founded in 1873 and featured in the top 100 golf courses in Great Britain, The West Lancashire Golf Club is one of England’s truest seaside tests. There are few golfers who come away from this revered links course, midway between Liverpool and Formby, in any doubt that every aspect of their game has been suitably examined.

“The West Lancashire Golf Club is an amazing place to work,” said Stuart. “It is steeped in history and very well respected. You don’t appreciate how close the course is to the sea until you come and see it.”

Stuart, who has been in greenkeeping for just over thirty years, has been the Course Manager for four years and has worked exclusively at Links courses throughout his career.

“Does the sea bring challenges? No, because having grown up on Links courses I’m used to it. However, we probably dry out a lot quicker, we get wind burn, we get salt burn and we have to be more mindful of height of cuts.

“Choosing products that can work to fit our circumstances is the key. I’ve had a lot of experience with different products and I believe in finding an optimum product range. For me, that is predominantly ICL.”

The most recent addition to Stuart’s range of ICL products is the H2Pro TriSmart wetting agent, but it was a decision that he did not take lightly.

“I used to use a different wetting agent and there was nothing really wrong with it except I felt it was perhaps just holding a bit of moisture in the top. The decision to change to TriSmart could have come back to bite me but Phil Collinson (ICL’s North West Technical Area Sales Manager) had every confidence in it.”

Containing three water management technologies consisting of surfactant and polymer blends, TriSmart is renowned for providing great water penetration and an even water spread through the rootzone.

Stuart starts the programme at the end of February and applies TriSmart at a rate of 10L/ha every four to five weeks, depending on weather, until the end of July. Last year, he applied TriSmart to all of the greens and surrounds, which equates to an area size of 4 hectares, but due to the successful results the areas for treatment is set to significantly increase.

“With TriSmart I believe I got everything I was looking for in a wetting agent,” said Stuart. “Considering the season we encountered; we had improved rooting and I believe that was due to the fact that TriSmart was pulling the soil moisture down a little bit more. I also didn’t have to hand-water those areas at all which really helped in reducing irrigation and labour.

“This year we will be increasing the applications of TriSmart to use it on the greens, surrounds and now the fairways – which is a big jump for the club considering that we will be going from using it on a unit size of 4 hectares up to 16 hectares. Ultimately the club has backed me and given me the funds to commit to this increase because I have shown them the difference TriSmart can make.”

Stuart also praised the support he receives from ICL.

Over the last couple of years working with Phil and ICL, it has helped make this decision easier. I have every confidence if I ever needed any help or support from ICL as a company, then it would be there which I believe is important.”

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

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As a long-term user of Limagrain grass seed, Adrian Kay, head groundsman at York Racecourse, believes that an improvised MM25 mixture gives him the confidence to keep the course to an exceptionally high standard all year round.

Adrian, the man in charge of keeping York Racecourse ahead of the pack, has been the head groundsman for twelve years. He joined York from Aintree Racecourse in 2006 and two years later was instrumental in a huge £2.6 million track development project.

As part of the project, significant drainage works were carried out in order to remove and keep water at bay from the surface, which is situated on an old river bed and flood plain. Although that project was undertaken over nine years ago, Adrian and his team still continue to focus their attention on maintaining and improving the surface and primary drainage.

It could be argued that Adrian is somewhat of an industry pioneer as he continues to adopt new methods, particularly in his decision to embrace the Koro process in order to strip the top of the surface and remove all vegetation and rootzone – something which is practically unheard of in horse racing turf maintenance. As a result, Adrian admits that whichever grass seed he uses, he must have full confidence that it is going to provide him with exceptional results and guarantee a fast return to usability.

“I’ve been using Limagrain seed for about 16 years now and I’ve got every confidence in the seed. I used MM25 when I was at Aintree and then we played around with the mixture here at York to suit our renovations.

“The mixture we use consists of 50% Tetraploid Perennial Rye, 30% Diploid and 20% Slender Creeping Red Fescue – and it’s treated with HEADSTART® GOLD. It’s a perfect mixture here for what we are trying to achieve and occasionally we use 100% Tetraploid when we are carrying out our renovations.”

With the race season at York finishing in mid-October, Adrian typically uses this period to start his renovations. Although renovating this late in the year can present certain challenges, Adrian believes that his Limagrain mixture ensures a smooth process.

“We normally begin our renovations in October after the race season, which is sometimes not ideal, but we have full confidence in the Limagrain mixture that it will begin to germinate.

“This year renovations were very late with the seed being sown in early November. Unfortunately for us, we then had an extreme winter with Beast from the East followed by a very wet start to the spring.  However, the track couldn’t have looked better with a very good coverage of new grass ready for the first meeting of the on the 16th May - this really is testament to the quality of the seed.”

Racecourses have to withstand a high degree of damage from horses over a whole season which means that selecting the right mixture for renovation and divot repair is vitally important. Adrian’s tailored mixture provides him with a dense hard wearing surface which offers quick germination and provides cushioning in the bottom of the sward. 

Adrian says, the mixture which is treated with HEADSTART® GOLD - Limagrain’s unique seaweed based seed treatment helps to ensure rapid and even germination. This tried and tested grass seed treatment helps the seed get off to the best possible start – something which Adrian has been quick to notice.

“I use Limagrain because of the attributes of germination, establishment and the quality of leaf. If I put the seed down two weeks before we are racing, I absolutely know that in ideal conditions we are going to get the germination and establishment that is required.

“For me, it’s a year round product that I use. We use the same mix for repairs on the track as well which we apply after every race meeting. It really is the full package.”

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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NEW H2Pro SaltSmart launched by ICL

ICL has announced the launch of an exciting new addition to its leading range of H2Pro wetting agents – H2Pro “SaltSmart”.

Utilising advanced polymer and surfactant technology, the H2Pro range of specialist wetting agents have been carefully formulated and tested to help turf managers achieve maximum control of their moisture management.

The existing H2Pro’s DewSmart, TriSmart, FlowSmart and AquaSmart have been designed to achieve specific goals, each with a different blend of surfactants. The four products have been widely commended for offering a number of solutions such as; preventative and curative action against Dry Patch, providing a drier surface in wet conditions and significantly reducing irrigation requirements.

H2Pro SaltSmart is the latest addition to the H2Pro range and is set to provide turf managers with an even wider range of options for their moisture management strategies. A unique blend of penetrant surfactant with Calcium macro-polymer, H2Pro SaltSmart has been designed to move water and exchange cations thus reducing the impact of salt on turf. This specialist product works by allowing water to penetrate and dissolve and flush salts below the rooting level or out into the drainage system.

The build-up of salt levels in rootzones can be problematic in sports turf and H2Pro SaltSmart will be a welcome addition for venues such as links courses which may be situated close to the sea or for those who encounter high evaporation and low rainfall.

The product could also be extremely beneficial for low CEC sand-based rootzones that have limited buffering against salt influx and for turf managers who have poor quality groundwater for irrigation.

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

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Exhibitors praise ‘valuable’ SALTEX

The SALTEX 2018 post-show survey has revealed that an overwhelming amount of exhibitors reported hugely successful business results with many claiming that it was the most valuable event to date.

The 300 SALTEX exhibitors travelled from 18 countries to SALTEX 2018 with the majority being based in the UK. European exhibitors included those from the Netherlands, Finland, Turkey, Sweden, Israel, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy and France. Further afield, exhibitors travelled from North America, Korea, Canada and China to showcase their products and services at SALTEX 2018.

The core area at SALTEX was the machinery, power and hand tools segment with over half (56 per cent) of all exhibitors showcasing equipment in this category. A further 28 per cent specialised in sports surfaces and facilities; 27 per cent represented landscaping products and services; 24 per cent were from the turf, seeds, aggregates and treatments sector; 15 per cent represented arboriculture and horticulture; 13 per cent showcased commercial vehicles; 9 per cent specialised in synthetic surfaces and 7 per cent were manufacturers of play equipment.  

The post show exhibitor survey revealed that more than 82 per cent of these exhibitors feel that exhibiting at SALTEX is integral to their overall business strategy.

“We come to SALTEX because it plays an important part within our marketing platform,” said Roger Moore, Dennis & SISIS sales and marketing manager. “We find the show ideal for the launching of new products and to meet existing as well as new customers. It is a fantastic flag-waving exercise. The 2018 show was incredibly busy, so SALTEX is very important to us.”

Survey results confirmed that every exhibitor was in agreement after an incredible 100 per cent of exhibitors thought that by attending the show they were able to maintain and promote their company profile. Ninety-six per cent said that they generated new leads, 87 per cent used SALTEX as a platform to launch new products and 82 per cent took orders as a direct result of the event.

“It was another successful show for us,” said Karen Proctor, director of global marketing at Ransomes. “It’s always a fantastic opportunity to network, meet current and potential customers, and to showcase our latest machinery to the industry. We had a lot of good leads at the show including many demonstration requests.”

Echoing Karen was Louise Amos, business communications and marketing support manager at Aquatrols, who said: “We had a busy stand and plenty of engagement with groundsmen and women that weren’t previously aware of our products. We felt the audience was right for the direction we’re going in and the general feeling from the team is that it was our most valuable SALTEX yet.”

Further results from the post-show survey revealed that 84 per cent of exhibitors rated the quality of visitors as excellent and it certainly didn’t go un-noticed that visitors from 44 different countries were in attendance.

“SALTEX is a great time of year for visitors and the NEC has great travel links, which is great for overseas visitors,” said Derek Smith amenity sales and marketing manager for Johnsons Sports Seeds: “We’ve had visitors to our stand from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Spain, Denmark and Norway, so we’ve had a very good show and we are really pleased.”

Vince Brauns, European product manager at EGO Europe, believes that SALTEX offers a fantastic platform to showcase EGO products to a dedicated audience.

“We chose to attend SALTEX because we feel that it is a good platform to get close to the dealers and large end users, especially if we are promoting new products. There isn’t another show in the UK which has the same type of audience.

“The show seems to grow year on year - from 9am all the way through until close we were really busy on the stand.”

SALTEX 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31.

For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com

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Dennis & SISIS exhibiting at GIS 2019

Dennis & SISIS will be exhibiting at GIS (Golf Industry Show) 2019 which takes place at San Diego’s Convention Center on February 6-7.

GIS is one of the largest dedicated golf shows in the world and offers everyone involved in the industry an opportunity to network, enhance their education and learn about the latest innovations which could ultimately improve their work.

There will be a formidable line-up of turf maintenance equipment being showcased on the British Manufacturers’ stand (Booth No 1644) and company representatives will be on hand to offer an expert insight into the globally acclaimed turf maintenance machinery.

The new Dennis PRO 34R was the machine that everyone was waiting in anticipation for – and now it is here. Officially launched at the end of 2018, this 34″ (860mm) rotary mower has been designed to help turf managers achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface.

Versatile, precise and comfortable: The Dennis G860 cylinder mower comes with an extensive range of unique features and benefits. With the interchangeable cassette system; the user has the option of fitting 11 quick changeover cassette including de-thatchers, verticutters, brushes, spikers, and slitters as well as 6 or 8 bladed cutting cassettes.

For ultimate aeration look no further than the SISIS Javelin Aer-Aid 1500. This tractor mounted vertical action aerator injects air directly into the root zone speeding up the aeration process, moving air uniformly throughout the root zone for complete aeration and not just where the tines have penetrated the surface. Those operating the Javelin Aer-Aid have the flexibility to alternate tines for other operations such as hollow coring prior to top dressing.

Also featuring on the stand will be a leading range of tractor mounted and pedestrian equipment which have been expertly designed for the removal of thatch.

The SISIS Veemo HD is a tractor-mounted de-thatcher used for removing thatch from large areas of turf, such as golf course fairways. The Veemo’s strong cutting blades are designed for minimum surface disturbance and maximum thatch removal via three floating heads which are independent from the main frame.

For clean, consistent performance with a selection of blades to suit key seasonal tasks, the SISIS Auto Rotorake MK5 works on the successful contra-rotating principle. This self-propelled heavy duty de-thatcher is ideal for removal and control of thatch on fine and other quality turf.

Last but certainly not least, the SISIS Rotorake 600HD and 600HDX will be featured on the stand. Both models are superb thatch removers for regular routine use when used at a shallow setting, but also have the capacity to work deeper where severe thatch problems occur. A range of interchangeable blades are available for year round use. The HD and HDX incorporate the well proven SISIS Rotorake contra-rotation principle, whereby the reel rotates at high speed against the direction of travel. The blades therefore cut upwards continuously throwing the thatch forwards rather than pushing it into the surface. 

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

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Lee Marshallsay, grounds manager at Charterhouse in Surrey, has reported successful results after using a range of MM grass seed from Limagrain UK.

Lee has been grounds manager at the prestigious Charterhouse for the last two and a half years. He oversees a team of fourteen members of staff who meticulously tend to the school’s grounds and sports fields. Currently there are 3 hockey pitches, 12 tennis courts, 18 artificial cricket nets, 7 cricket squares, 15 grass football pitches, 1 rugby pitch, 1 lacrosse pitch AND a 9-hole golf course.

Ever the perfectionist, Lee insists on working only with the best products and equipment which is most suitable for his site. Therefore, when it came to looking for a grass seed for his cricket squares it was not a decision he took lightly.

“Last summer we were looking at re-building our cricket square and it was an opportunity to look at other grasses, other mixtures and what other suppliers had. I was looking around and the MM50 kept coming to mind – a lot of groundsmen seemed to be using it and seemed to be really happy with it. I trialled a number of other mixtures and I have to make a decision on what seed I believe works best on our site. For me that was MM50.”

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. In particular, MM50 is ideal for cricket squares and outfields. 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.

“I’m really happy with MM50,” said Lee. “It provides fast establishment, strong rooting, a strong plant, and the playability is good. We’ve now got rooting down at 4/5 inches which is really promising.

“My main cricket square was renovated back in August and then we went onto use it on our other squares too. Again, the uptake was fantastic. In cricket loam it can be quite difficult to grow grass but MM50 has been great so I’m really pleased I made that decision.”

With prolonged heat and drought conditions challenging turf managers this year, Lee was no exception, and with this is mind he was looking for a seed that could potentially help after a particularly difficult summer. As a result Lee invited Richard Sheppard (Limagrain amenity seed specialist) to the school and together they identified a potential solution.

“This summer, coming away from a really dry spell, Limagrain created two tailor made mixtures for us – one a complete rye mixture and the other a combination of both rye and fescue. This was to be used mainly on our golf fairways and also on some other areas that have less disturbance. It established really well and had great coverage in every area it was used.”

As well as reporting excellent results from the products, Lee was quick to praise the service and the support he receives.

“I can’t fault the service I receive at all. Richard comes in and we have a walk around the site to look at where we have used Limagrain products; we look at what we want to try and achieve and he goes away and thinks about what mixtures could work and improve the site. It’s great support and if I ever have any questions I can always call him.”

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 a key supplier for John Ledwidge

John Ledwidge has praised the consistent support he receives from ICL – particularly during what is an incredibly exciting and somewhat busy period for the Leicester City Football Club Grounds Manager.

John first became familiar with ICL products when he started his groundsmanship journey as a volunteer at Coventry City FC. It was in his next role at Aston Villa FC under the guidance of Jonathan Calderwood that he had more of an active role in applying the products. At the age of 24, he returned to Coventry City as the Head Groundsman of the Ricoh Arena before joining Leicester City four years later.

However, even though ICL may well be a brand that he has relied on at every club he has been at during his career, he is the first to admit that sentiment can afford to play no part in his decision to use the products.

“It all stems back to when I was at Coventry City and I first started seeing the products being used on the pitch. But my association with those products from an early age hasn’t influenced our decision making and it isn’t just because we’re comfortable – it is purely because of the results we get from the products. Ultimately, we want to be the best we can be and ICL products have worked for us and have consistently given us great results. It is that product quality and the support we receive from ICL which makes them a key supplier.”

John adheres to an ICL structured iTurf nutritional programme for both the stadium and the training ground. It is a proven programme which John claims helps deliver not only the nutrition that the plant needs but also offers those aesthetic qualities which is expected of the Premier League as well as the standards that are expected from the players, the staff and the owners (King Power).

Recently, King Power bought the Belgian second-flight football club Oud-Heverlee Leuven (OHL), and they signalled their ambitions by significantly investing in all areas of the club. John was tasked with improving the stadium pitch and the training ground, and was keen to implement his ICL programme which has worked so well at Leicester City.

“The day after the owners purchased the club I was flown over and given four days to put together a strategic plan for the development of the pitches, development of the grounds department and to basically replicate what we do here.

“We now have a full-time team in place that manage the stadium and the training ground and through that we have translated our use of ICL products and the framework that we use here. I like to think we have created a nice structure in a way of working with the products and it’s given us the results that we’ve wanted at this standard for a long time. Using this framework of ICL products, we’ve managed to do that successfully in Belgium and the pitch has gained a lot of credit.

“Based on what I’ve seen travelling round various clubs in Belgium and listening to feedback from the players and coaches I would suggest that football groundsmanship there is nothing like the top end of professionalism that you would expect here in the UK. With that in mind I see this project as an opportunity to try and change the culture over in Belgium. The Belgium FA are saying that what we are doing is incredible and they are looking at it from a whole view across Belgian football. So, we are hoping to not just make strides in the sense of creating great pitches for OHL but we are also trying to spread that a bit further across the country for the benefit of the industry.”

It is safe to say that John is extremely passionate about the industry he works in. From facilitating educational days for school children to working alongside the Young IOG (Institute of Groundsmanship) board of directors in encouraging young people into the industry – John is a proud and pro-active groundsman. He is always looking for that next opportunity to make a difference and very recently he was presented with exactly that. 

Last year, Leicester City Football Club revealed plans for a brand new, state-of-the-art training facility, as part of its long-term commitment to strengthening Leicestershire’s status as a home for the development of world-class sport. Not only will the training complex help to nurture footballing talent but it will also play host to a very unique sports turf academy.

“It’s going to be quite a dynamic site in the sense that it will cater for a lot of different areas of the industry as a whole. The purpose of the sports turf academy was really to capitalise on that amazing venue and hopefully train the next generation of groundsmen. It’s going to be something that has never been done before and the unique part of this academy is that we can give students access to the reality of what they will work on a day to day basis. Whether it’s a one-day course for volunteers or an intensive three year course for someone that wants to go into management – there will be something for everyone and the students can receive a qualification and then move into a work place. There will be a variety of pitches to work on, there will be a golf course for aspiring greenkeepers; there is the option for those interested in horticulture and also for those keen on learning mechanics – which in my opinion there is big shortfall of in the industry.

“Our aim for the sports turf academy is to provide that elite setting for the highest possible standard of training for the industry.

“It is such a huge project and we’ll be looking to engage with our key suppliers, such as ICL, for growth and development, of not only the department and the club but also for the industry as a whole.”

John admits that his key suppliers are integral to the Club’s long-term plans and he believes that loyalty is an essential ingredient in these relationships.

“When times have been tough, ICL has always been there - they haven’t just jumped in when they’ve seen the pound signs, which does unfortunately happen in this industry. To us, that loyalty is incredibly important.

“It’s also the confidence in the back-up and the technical support that you get. Ultimately, we know the products that we like, but for me it’s the advice and education that ICL can offer to my members of staff. We want them to know exactly why they might be using a fertilizer or a bio-stimulant and that’s the good thing about having ICL on-board, because guys like Nick Martin (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager) are always quick to help them understand.

“Every month we have educational seminars where we invite our key suppliers to talk to our members of staff and I sit in there too, because we may have a talk on fertilizer and for me at the top of the tree it doesn’t mean that I know everything and actually sometimes my knowledge will slip because I’m so focused on the strategic plans. I feel that it’s vital that we have that outside knowledge from suppliers and Nick is more knowledgeable than me on the ICL products.

Therefore, it’s important that he can come in and translate that knowledge to them.

“In my opinion, ICL has gone hand in hand with the evolution of the industry. The company is forward thinking; they have looked at developments and identified exactly how they can help us achieve the results that we are all after.”

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

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Dennis & SISIS have announced an exciting new free-to-attend Groundcare Seminar which has been designed with education in mind for those involved in groundcare on a variety of sports turf topics.

The seminar, which will take place at St. Albans School, Woollam Trust Playing Fields on Tuesday 19 February, is expected to attract grounds staff from all over the UK including volunteers and professionals representing schools, sports clubs, local authorities and contractors.

With a variety of high quality speakers and insightful topics, the seminar aims to connect like-minded people where they can learn new skills and techniques as well as offer fantastic networking opportunities.

Registration will start at 9am in which delegates will get the chance to meet their fellow colleagues before Robert Jack from Dennis and SISIS provides an introduction at 9.45am.

The following seminars will then take place:

  • Renovate & Rejuvenate a surface - Rob Kendle (ATB Sports Solutions)
  • Getting the most out of a sportsground construction project - Dr Iain James (TGMS Ltd)
  • Drainage - Managing sports fields - Alex Vickers (IOG Consultant)

A complimentary lunch will signal the halfway point at 12:30pm and attendees will be able to network and meet with event sponsors.

After lunch the following seminars will commence: 

  • Winter sports pitches to cricket outfields - what do we do next? - Keith Kent (RFU Head Groundsman – Twickenham)
  • 50 years in cricket - Looking to the future - Chris Wood (ECB Pitch Advisor)

Following presentations, informal discussions will commence where all delegates will get the opportunity to ask any questions they may have to a host of industry professionals including the seminar’s guest speakers.

To register your interest please contact Roger Moore at Dennis & SISIS on 01332 824777 or email Roger on roger.moore@dennisuk.com.

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

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Invasives Science Live Success

Over 60 contractors and invasive weed eradication specialists recently attended Invasives Science Live – a unique event that showcased the latest research and technological innovations in invasive weed control.

The event, held in Cardiff, was hosted by ICL, Complete Weed Control and Green-tech in association with Advanced Invasives and provided education for delegates to gain a better understanding of chemical performance and various control methods, focussing primarily on Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam.

Complete Weed Control Managing Director Ian Graham introduced the event by offering an insight into the recent trial work with Advanced Invasives – something which the delegates would later explore in more detail at the impressive private trial facility.

Roundup Technical Development Manager Barrie Hunt from Bayer was the first speaker to provide an update on legal and best practice information of glyphosate to help plan ahead of their 2019 weed control programmes.

Next was Dr Dan Jones, Managing Director of Advanced Invasives, to give an insight into their seven year-long field trial on Japanese Knotweed control – the largest in the world. The ai:LAB is the company’s 12 acre field-testing site in South Wales where research has been undertaken into how to best tackle invasive plants in real-world conditions. The research tested 19 methods over 3 years of treatment and sets a new standard for evidence-led research. 

Following Dr Dan Jones was Business Director Dan Clugston to explain the dangers of Japanese Knotweed, how it is best dealt with, and the impact it can have on property.

After lunch, delegates were transported to the nearby trial site where they were separated into three smaller groups in which they visited three specific work stations.

Station One

Beyond Balsam Bashing

Physical and herbicide control of Himalayan Balsam

Iván Martin from Advanced Invasives explained how a number of land managers are reluctant to use herbicides to control this plant, and that 'Balsam Bashing' - physical control, is a popular treatment for many conservationist groups. He went onto reveal research which consisted of benchmarking the four most commonly used balsam treatments in 5×5 m (25 m2) commercial field trial plots.

Of the treatments tested, herbicide spraying was not only fastest but also was the only treatment that does not create plant waste - and Iván claimed it is an advantage that needs to be considered when weighing the environmental benefits of treatment options.

Station Two

Life After Knotweed

Using plant functional traits to enhance recovery of invader-dominated habitats

Sophie Hocking from Swansea University and Complete Weed Control’s Ian Graham were on hand to explain how re-invasion by knotweed and secondary invasion by other plant species can often hinder future development. Sophie and Ian stated the necessity of a shift from a single, target species approach to a whole ecosystem view of recovery. This station highlighted the ongoing research which investigates the role of the functional traits of plants in habitat restoration, and the broader, long-term dynamics of Japanese knotweed invasion in field conditions.

Sophie and Ian concluded by claiming that the work will create a better, more scientifically informed framework for habitat restoration and give a clearer picture of Japanese knotweed dynamics and the habitat legacy effects of invasive species dominance.

Station Three

From Crown to Underground

Bayer Stump Treatment Trial

ICL’s Henry Bechelet and Dr Gareth Bruce from Advanced Invasives firstly discussed how stump treatment can be extremely effective as the distance the herbicide has to travel to reach the underground rhizome — the target of all herbicide treatments — is dramatically shortened.

They went on to reveal research in which three stump treatments were tested against Japanese knotweed, in triplicate 5 x 5 metre (25 m2) plots, with a control plot and also a single out-group comparison to stem injection treatment. All of the stump treatments tested were statistically comparable in effectiveness to stem injection. Results concluded that Ecoplug Max® treatment is by far the safest of the stump treatment application methods.

Commenting at the event, Ian Graham said: “We feel that this is one of the first steps in what will be a very long process in establishing facts relating to invasive weeds and we look forward to inviting guests back to the site and ensuring the work started continues.”

Professor John Moverley OBE, Chairman of the Amenity Forum commented: “Today has been very interesting. The control of Japanese Knotweed is a major issue. It’s been a great opportunity to see first-hand different approaches and some of the complexities that are involved in this level of control.”

Tony Saunders, Area Manager for JSD Rail, said: “I found the day very insightful. It introduced some new ideas that we don’t necessarily come across on the railway as we are not looking at remediating the land; we are looking at removing Japanese Knotweed. There are a number of processes that are being trialled here which added to the knowledge we have learned we are able to take back with us.”

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

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Visitors vote SALTEX 2018 the best yet

The SALTEX 2018 post-show visitor survey has revealed that an overwhelming amount of attendees felt that SALTEX 2018 was the best and most vibrant show to date.

SALTEX at the NEC, Birmingham has again proved to be the annual meeting place for the UK and European groundscare industries. Only at SALTEX does the industry have the opportunity to experience a comprehensive overview of the latest developments and innovations in groundscare and to find out about the capabilities of this sector.

Following two days of networking, education and innovation, the 73rd SALTEX exhibition closed with an independently audited, visitor total of 8,902.

Visitors attended from 44 different countries and according to the findings of this year’s visitor survey, these attendees included grounds personnel, greenkeepers, landscapers and contractors.

The event organisers are very pleased to hear that 90 per cent of visitors, who took part in the survey, were successful in meeting their show objectives and equally as many rated their overall show experience as either very good or excellent and no less than 90 per cent of visitors have already put SALTEX 2019 into their diaries, which takes place at the NEC from 30-31 October.

Survey respondents said that their top priorities for attending were to source new products/services and suppliers (79 per cent) and discover new innovations (77 per cent).

More than 47 per cent used their visit for professional development by attending show features such as the Learning LIVE education programme, Ask the Expert and the Job Clinic.

More than half of the survey respondents held a leading or management position at their respective companies, with 84 per cent either having sole responsibility for purchasing or contributed to the process. In addition, 65 per cent had the ability to sign-off on amounts up to £50,000 and 12 per cent had the ability to sign-off on amounts of more than £500,000.

The survey findings also revealed that SALTEX visitors had very specific interests: almost 80 per cent attended to find out more about machinery, power and hand tools for their daily work and nearly half of the visitors were interested in seed, turf and aggregates. More than 38 per cent of visitors wanted to see exhibitors representing both sport surfaces and facilities and landscaping materials. Other areas of interest included: arboriculture, horticulture and forestry (37 per cent); commercial vehicles, tyres and trailers (33 per cent); synthetic turf (24 per cent) and security, personal protection, health and safety (18 per cent).

Vic Demain, head groundsman at Durham CCC, believes that the show is well attended because it caters for everyone in the industry: “I consider SALTEX to be the best show in the industry and it is ideal for everyone to come to, whether you are a volunteer, a professional or an international groundsman - there is something for everyone,” he said.

For Adam Witchell, head groundsman at Forrest Green Rovers FC, attending SALTEX provides him with a great opportunity to continue his learning. “For me it’s all about education. I love the seminars and here at SALTEX I’m learning lots of things from great people in this industry. It is a fantastic event, there is some absolutely brilliant machinery on display and a good range of exhibitors.”

Alison Saxby, estate team leader at Workington Town Council also thought the opportunity to enhance her knowledge was a top priority for attending SALTEX: “I like the live talks because they keep you abreast of the current regulations and new innovations,” she said.

With the NEC being located in the centre of the UK and boasting fantastic travel links, it is no wonder that 85 per cent rated the accessibility of the venue as excellent. Stuart Kerrison, head groundsman at Essex CCC said: “The NEC is so easy to get to. I attended to look at a couple of new machines because this is where you see all of the latest innovations. Anyone who attends SALTEX gets so much from it - from viewing new products, attending seminars and networking,” he said.

Benjamin Imamovic, assistant groundsman at FK Željezničar Sarajevo, believed that his journey to SALTEX was certainly worthwhile.

“It’s awesome; I came all the way from Bosnia and Herzegovina to see all of the new machines and learn something new and I am amazed.”

SALTEX 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on October 30 and 31. 

For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com

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Glyphosate Roadshow Success

Complete Weed Control’s glyphosate roadshow has been hailed as a huge success after the seminars provided vital guidance on the application of glyphosate to over 150 delegates throughout four UK locations.

Glyphosate is the world's most widely used herbicide and has been proven to be effective in controlling unwanted vegetation in public spaces, gardens and in agriculture. However, over recent years it has been exposed to an abundance of scrutiny and debate which has left more unanswered questions and created further confusion.

In this series of seminars, which took place in York, Bristol, London and Stirling, Complete Weed Control aimed to provide a greater clarity on glyphosate, as managing director Ian Graham explained in his introduction at each venue.

“As an organisation we felt it was time to put together a series of seminars to deal with the issues surrounding glyphosate and its use in the amenity sector. There has been a considerable and sustained volume bad press and a much negativity surrounding this product - so we felt it was essential that we explore the reality and present the data that exists from numerous agencies around the world that have all declared this product to be safe.

“As contractors we are very happy that our using it is entirely appropriate as it delivers a safe, environmentally sound and cost-effective means of dealing with weeds.”

Following Ian’s introduction, Bayer’s Roundup Technical Development Manager Barrie Hunt shared his wealth of knowledge and offered a fantastic insight into the history and development of glyphosate.  Barrie also discussed how and why glyphosate was re-approved for use in the EU back in 2017 and provided best practice information to help delegates plan ahead for their 2019 weed control programmes.

Commenting on his participation in the roadshow, Barrie said: “I got involved because I believe the stewardship of glyphosate and our Roundup brand is incredibly important - it is not something that can be left to chance.

“These seminars have been a great opportunity to engage with so many local authorities and contractors and to present the facts about glyphosate, present the science about glyphosate, and to address everybody’s questions which have ranged from glyphosate safety through to the specifics of controlling Japanese Knotweed.

“Without doubt this amenity usage is the place where pesticides meet the public so we have a responsibility to ensure that they have a good clear stewardship message and that they understand the safety of glyphosate.”

Delegates also got the chance to see a live demonstration of the Weed-IT machine and discovered the environmental and productivity benefits that this unique technology offers the industry. Developed specifically for the control of weeds on public footpaths and similar hard surface areas in urban situations, the WeedIT technology allows for spot treatment, which is a label requirement for glyphosate.

Complete Weed Control’s Technical Director Alan Abel then went on to further discuss spot treatment options and provide greater clarity on glyphosate label legislation.  Alan also talked about the relative costs of alternative treatments such as acid, heat and hand weeding, concluding that the WeedIT machine is both financially and environmentally economical.

To conclude Ian Graham presented information regarding the ongoing Japanese Knotweed trials currently taking place in Cardiff in partnership with Swansea University– which have demonstrated that glyphosate is the product that best controls Japanese Knotweed making it more important still that this valuable active ingredient is not lost through lack of knowledge and understanding.

Each seminar concluded with a Q&A session before lunch, and Ian Graham was pleased to see each event so well attended.

“Over the four venues we have seen in excess of 150 delegates, which we consider to be a success. These delegates are keen to learn the truth about glyphosate – they are the ones dealing with the public and are being asked the difficult questions. They want to make sure they have the answers at their disposal for when they are asked and I think these seminars have provided them with the knowledge they need.

“As an industry, I think it is very important that we collectively put our weight behind supporting glyphosate. It is important to us and it is important to be able to deal with weeds effectively and in an environmentally sound fashion.

“We are looking to reach out and gain more support from other organisations within our industry and hopefully that will continue to have positive results in representing the product.

As a consequence of the shows we are now developing an online product that will be launched in January that will serve as an information resource for clients and the public alike.”

For more information, please contact Complete Weed Control’s national office on 01325 324 277 or visit www.completeweedcontrol.co.uk

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With an incredibly short renovation window to transform his Summer sports pitches into Winter sports pitches, Andy Richards, Grounds Manager at Shrewsbury School, can’t afford to take any risks with the products he uses.

It is for this reason that he relies upon ICL products– all of which he says will guarantee him the results expected at the prestigious school.

2018 marks eight successful years at Shrewsbury School for Andy Richards. His groundsmanship journey all began at Birmingham City Council where he stayed for seven years before moving to King Edwards Grammar School. Three years later Andy accepted the position of Head Groundsman at Birmingham City FC but his passion for a multi-sports environment was always evident. Further spells at British Airways Clubs and Christ College in Brecon reignited his passion before being named as the Grounds Manager at Shrewsbury School.

Now Andy finds himself at arguably one of the most used sports facilities in the UK’s education system. If it was a challenge Andy was looking for, then it is safe to say he has found one.

“I don’t think I’m far off having the most amount of football, cricket and rugby matches in the whole of the UK,” he says. “Last year we played host to just over 1,900 winter sports games - which is a lot especially when you have to cater for that amount in such a short renovation period.”

Last year, Andy’s final cricket game was played on the 6th August, leaving him an incredibly short window to prepare football pitches for the first game which was played on the 7th September. After ‘Koro-ing off’ eight of the pitches Andy had just 28 days to ensure the pitches were playable for the opening fixtures.

“Last year was hard,” he says. “Fortunately, I have 100% confidence in the ICL products I use and even though the weather went against us we still did it.”

After “Koro-ing off” the pitches, Andy applies Qualibra wetting agent at 10 L/ha (half rate) to aid the seeding process. He then top dresses before applying a base feed of SierrablenPlus Renovator 20-20-8 at a rate of 35g/m² in which the micro mini-granules ensure even distribution for young seedlings while its high Phosphate levels encourage strong root growth.

Once the seed has germinated and Andy reaches the second leaf stage, he applies Primo Maxx II at 0.8 L/ha which he tank-mixes with humic and fulvic acids to help with the uptake of iron and to avoid any yellowing of the leaf. Based on his assessment of the plant Andy will, more often than not, go with another granular feed in the form of Greenmaster Pro-Lite NK 12-0-12 at 35 g/m² which gives the turf an added boost complimenting SierrablenPlus which is consistently offering a controlled release of Nitrogen.

Seven to ten days after the first application of Primo Maxx II, he reapplies it at a slightly higher rate of 1 L/ha, before another application of Qualibra at 10 L/ha just to help hold water in the profile.

“These particular products just seem to work for us,” he says. “Take Qualibra for example, it gives us a huge advantage in the seeding process. If you happen to have a hot spell, sometimes you only need as little as three hours of it being too hot and then your seed dies but Qualibra gives you that protection because it is extremely effective in holding moisture in the rootzone.

“The products I use guarantee results at each stage of our renovation programme and that makes this renovation window so much easier. I can’t risk anything not working. I have a tried and tested method with these products now – I have done it for the last five years and it works perfectly.

 “I trust in ICL and in my opinion the products just seem to be getting better and better all of the time. They are creating new technologies which turf and sports pitches need. There are no gimmicks – it is all fact and they have trials and research to prove it.

“I also receive great support from Emma Kilby (ICL Technical Area Sales Manager) who helps me put together the programme.  We speak a lot on the phone and she is always there if I need her. It’s nice to be able to bounce ideas off one another and we are always looking at any improvements we could make.”

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

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PRO Supplier

ICL, who can be found at Stand 426 in the Purple Zone, will be showcasing a range of new products and innovative technologies at BTME 2019.

Visitors to the stand can learn about the new and improved range of ProSelect grass seed mixtures which are ideal for golf courses, sports fields, turf growers and landscape contractors. The updated range contains highly ranked STRI varieties which have been developed through an extensive breeding selection.

Torsion TRT, the unique turf repairing tiller perennial ryegrass or Riptide, the UK’s No.1 ranked creeping bent are just some of the outstanding developments in the portfolio which can be seen at this year’s BTME.

As a leading innovator in the industry, ICL has a vast range of products and solutions trusted by turf managers across the globe. The company continues to invest in new trials and technologies visitors will have the chance to see at first hand the exciting new innovations in liquid and granular nutrition that are being showcased on the stand.

Visitors will also get the opportunity to discover what new qualifying products and rewards will be added to the Turf Rewards loyalty scheme in 2019.

ICL has been a long-term supporter of BIGGA’s Continue to Learn education programme, which runs alongside the exhibition, and ICL will be playing a part in this year’s schedule.

Henry Bechelet, UK & Ireland Technical Sales Manager and Dr Andy Owen, International Technical Manager, will be taking to the stage twice across the week, presenting a ‘Whats in a Soil Analysis on Monday and then on Wednesday they will be delivering a 45 minute seminar that will continue to develop the discussion about the relative merits of granular and liquid applied approaches to turf nutrition.

The ICL barista team will be on hand to provide refreshments on the stand so if you would like to talk about products, projects or turf and landscape management in general then make sure that a visit to Stand 426 is on your agenda.

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

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