LJN Blog Posts

PRO Supplier

A record-breaking SALTEX 2019

The word on the show floor was that both visitors and exhibitors felt that SALTEX 2019 was the best one yet.

SALTEX (Sports Amenities Landscaping Exhibition) once again proved to be the industry’s showcase event with over 500 brands on display and a record-breaking 9,104 visitors in attendance.

As soon as the doors opened on the first day of the show there was an electric atmosphere with groundscare enthusiasts swarming into the NEC halls eager to see the latest and most technologically-advanced innovations in grounds management.

The record-breaking 9,104 visitors consisted of those working in or involved with groundscare, sports turf, amenities, estates and green-space management. The show not only attracted visitors from the UK but also a high number of overseas visitors due to the venue’s easy access to national and international transport links.

3721957728?profile=RESIZE_710xIn fact, SALTEX 2019 saw visitors attending from 49 overseas markets. Many attendees made the journey to the NEC from Europe, Asia, America and Africa – underlining the fact that SALTEX truly is an international event.

One such international visitor was Ebi Ezekiel Egbe, managing director of Monimichelle Sports Construction, who travelled to SALTEX from Nigeria. Ebi explained why the long journey was worthwhile: “The most important thing for us in Africa is to broaden our knowledge on how to maintain the highest standard of sports pitches and to bring the latest innovations in groundscare to the African market. SALTEX gives us the opportunity to do exactly this. It’s a beautiful show and I’ve had a great time.”

SALTEX is also the perfect platform to inspire the next generation of groundscare practitioners and it was encouraging to see a younger demographic of visitors on the show floor, such as 13-year-old Jack Davies who enjoys gardening and mowing lawns in his spare time and aspires to be a professional landscaper.

“I’ve been wanting to come to SALTEX for the past two or three years and this year I have finally managed to convince my Dad to take me. This is like Christmas for me,” he said.

The SALTEX College Cup competition, sponsored by Toro and Reesink, demonstrated just how well young groundscare students are being academically prepared for careers in the industry. The Myerscough College team saw off competition from four other colleges to win this year’s trophy and can now look forward to a visit to Real Madrid’s Bernabéu Stadium where the winning students will get the opportunity to learn from Paul Burgess, director of grounds and environment for the Spanish footballing giants.

The competition was just a number of show attractions and the new Eco Village indoor demonstration area made a storming debut. In a dedicated area on the show floor the Eco Village featured a programme of daily product demonstrations which featured cutting-edge sustainable technology by Fleet Line Markers, STIHL UK, Overton UK, Avant Tecno, Cub Cadet, Linddana, Husqvarna, Allett Mowers and Sherriff Amenity in front of a large crowd of show attendees.  

The buzz on the show floor was palpable, as recognised by the legendary Keith Kent, former head groundsman at Twickenham Stadium. “The Institute of Groundsmanship has done tremendously well in bringing so many exhibitors and visitors in and it is just a joy to see such a busy show. You cannot walk anywhere without seeing something that catches your attention,” he said.

3721958323?profile=RESIZE_710xIndeed, there was something for everyone on the show floor and this year’s SALTEX Innovation Award certainly caught the eye. From robotics to hybrid mowers, ground printers to state-of-the-art irrigation, grow lights to line trimmers – visitors had the opportunity to see the record-breaking 34 entries on the show floor.

With the entries submitted and rigorously evaluated by an independent panel of judges, it was decided that there were three stand-out innovations – the Forza 360° football goal wheels from Net World Sports, the BU50 grow lighting system from SGL and the INFINICUT® SM34 rotary mower from MTD Specialty Turf Products.

The three finalists were given a final opportunity to impress the judges as they took to the stage and the INFINICUT® SM34 rotary mower was pronounced the overall winner. Second place went to SGL and third place went to Net World Sports.

The INFINICUT® gained rave reviews with the panel of judges claiming that it “has taken the rotary mower into the 21st century,” and that “the revolutionary introduction of a side collector has allowed for rollers, not wheels, thus eliminating wheel marks on the turf.”

An increasing number of manufacturers on the show floor were also showcasing eco-friendly products. As well as those demonstrating in the Eco Village, exhibitors such as Pellenc, John Deere, Ego, Ryetec, Demon International, AMS Robotics, McConnel and Dennis Mowers all used SALTEX to launch new robotic and battery-powered products. 

“These innovations have low vibrations, are environmentally friendly and great for health and safety – all things that help people on the ground like me. It’s great to see so many of these machines in one place,” says John Ryan, founder of the Lawn Care Legends online networking community.

Reflecting this trend, the IOG incorporated dedicated seminars which further explored these topics into the expanded Learning LIVE free-to-attend education programme. Chemical-free sports pitch management, and environmentally-friendly turf maintenance were just some of the 57 free-to-attend CPD accredited seminars.

Many visitors also benefitted from free one-to-one turf management advice in the Ask the Expert feature; received career advice in the Job Clinic and had their soil samples assessed in Pathology and Soil Science LIVE- as well as specific technical advice gained from industry experts on the exhibition floor.

Commenting on the effects of the record-breaking attendance at this year’s show, many exhibitors thought that a large proportion of visitors to their stands were high-quality buyers with serious intent.

“We’ve exhibited at a lot of shows in the past couple of years, but this has been the busiest show that I have ever experienced,” said Jordan Watson, grounds care field support for STIHL UK.

Echoing Jordan’s comments, Les Malin, managing director of Etesia UK, said: “We’ve been a long-term exhibitor at SALTEX for over 20 years and I can honestly say that I cannot remember a show were we had so much activity and people on the stand right to the end of both days.”

According to sales manager, George Potter, debut exhibitor JCB enjoyed a hugely successful first SALTEX experience: “We’ve had lots of people on the stand, a huge number of enquiries and quite a lot of demo requests, which has been great.”

All eyes now turn towards SALTEX 2020 the exhibition’s 75th anniversary and CEO Geoff Webb is already looking forward to the celebratory event.

“SALTEX has moved from a horse racing track in Windsor to the National Exhibition Centre in the middle of the country and the fact that we are now gearing up for our 75th annual show next year is testament to the community of the sports turf industry and how it has grown.”

SALTEX 2020 will take place at the NEC, Birmingham on 4 and 5 November.

For more information please visit www.iogsaltex.com

E-mail me when people leave their comments –


  • PRO

    Good to see the show firmly established again and growing in stature.

This reply was deleted.

You need to be a member of Landscape Juice Network to add comments!

Join Landscape Juice Network

Highlighted blog posts

PRO Supplier

A recent school grounds seminar held at Charterhouse in Surrey has been hailed a huge success by all who attended.

The event attracted over 50 delegates from all levels as several topical issues were explored and discussed. Supported by…

Read more…

Open forum activity

BCH Gardens replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"Good start point.
Did this with a toro recycler earlier this year - mulches, collects and side discharges.  roughly £650 new.  Stripes aren't the best, clogs up a bit in the wet like most, and the height s…"
2 minutes ago
Dan Frazer Gardening replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"That 3000m2 had a fence at one end and behind it was the tip for the grass, so in theory I could just tip every few lines right at the end, but in reality the hydro 80 wasn't up to it and even cutting 1/3 width strips it'd block up halfway along. Ha…"
8 minutes ago
BCH Gardens replied to Christopher Schroeter's discussion Virtual Landline Number
"Used one a few years ago, it was a fairly good service, but I did notice the bills when I got more than a few calls.  They got steep quick. 
This is really business size dependent.  I don't think a landline is expected for solo guys/small business,…"
1 hour ago
BCH Gardens replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
I think there is roughly 40 miles as the crow flies between you and I, so you probably have the exact same weather issues and growth rates I do.   
I have one lawn I cut every 5 days its 2.5 acres and the owner is a little OCD..........it can st…"
1 hour ago
George Marshall replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"Appreciate your insight I think for next year I'm going to push mulching and look to get a machine bout for this purpose but also keep my collection machine so that I can switch between the 2 if needs be. Cheers."
1 hour ago
BCH Gardens replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"Thats not easy and something you have to learn.  Its as much about reading the clients as managing their expectations.  Carefully wording an estimate to guide a client to an optimum solution for you both definately helps.   SOme customers you just n…"
2 hours ago
George Marshall replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"Bch gardens thanks for the input appreciate it you make some great points just on your point regarding advising clients to go for weekly rather than fortnightly cutting for mulching and it being cheaper to them, how do you price for this as it means…"
2 hours ago
Dan Frazer Gardening replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"I second the weather thing - fortnightly grass cuts in all conditions/rain make mulching impossible to use across the board. On domestic lawns, you WILL get grass clippings sticking to kids as they play, which I personally don't want.
Vic mentions g…"
2 hours ago
BCH Gardens replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"Sorry I am late to the party, but want to throw my tuppence worth in.
I am in Scotland and have a climate fairly similar to the OP in Northern Ireland.  
Last year was a nightmare for mulching - we had lots of rain and outrageously high growth.  I b…"
3 hours ago
Adam Patterson replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"We operate in co. Armagh & Antrim mainly.
noni had never worked it out that much, the forward speed on my main mower is about 8.5mph.
i assume the stiga is petrol? Do you have a rough guide on how much petrol you would use per hour roughly?"
5 hours ago
George Marshall replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"Appreciate all the feedback vic on the stiga mowers I reckon my minds pretty much made up so next year will be looking to get a deal done for a stiga 740 bite the bullet and mulch see how it goes. "
5 hours ago
Dylan replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"How do the stigas compare to a kubota or iseki mid deck machine"
5 hours ago
Tim Wallach replied to Harry@VWGS's discussion New Van for garden maintenance.
"Dan, I'm liking the paintwork on the back doors!!"
7 hours ago
Neil Cooper replied to Harry@VWGS's discussion New Van for garden maintenance.
"Yes all the same vans, Toyota ProAce, Peugeot Expert and Citroen Dispatch. They are all made in France in the same factory."
10 hours ago
Ed Fox replied to Christopher Schroeter's discussion Virtual Landline Number
"I run an 0800 number through Tamar. Same setup  as you regrds divert to mobile. I can also divert to landline at the same time so whether in office or out and about the call gets through. Have had it a couple years now and i think its brilliant."
10 hours ago
Vic 575 replied to George Marshall's discussion Advice on mulching mowers
"You have to take into account that the Stiga mulchers are fast, as in top speed. The 740 I have will mow at 10kph. I have no experience of ride on collectors but from what I’ve seen and heard over many years they look to be slower than that.
They al…"
10 hours ago