The key to working smarter
by TurfPro Editor, Steve Gibbs
Steve Gibbs
Keeping up to date with technological developments is not simply interesting for turf professionals, it's an obligation.

The turf professional industry is constantly innovating - coming up with new solutions to aid the professional in their business of providing attractive, practical and safe environments for sport and leisure activities.


A trip to the upcoming SALTEX exhibition will clearly illustrate this. There will be new products and services across the show floor, all vying for your attention - and of course your wallets!


But to keep up to date with technological developments is not simply interesting, it's an obligation. To be aware of what innovations are out there and to assess whether they are suitable for your working scenario, should be matter of fact for those in charge of maintaining grassed surfaces.


There was a report on the BBC last week about the MCC doing exactly this for example. Plans are apparently afoot to curb delays caused by rain, via the use of a giant mesh tent.


The report says an American company has approached the MCC and the ECB with the idea. The transparent mesh could be held up by wires attached to floodlights and a hot-air balloon in the centre.


Testing is said to be at a very early stage and the technology is believed to be at least two years away from becoming a reality, with issues such as safety in high winds and water run-off to be considered.


"There are an enormous number of technical challenges and issues, but that's not to say we shouldn't look at it seriously," new MCC chief executive Guy Lavender told BBC Sport.


"It's certainly not something that's going to be viable initially but I think we have a role here at MCC to investigate and look at new technologies.


"It's signalling our intent to think about new innovations and new technologies that can keep the game being played."


Seeing what's practical and possible was very much the theme of a conference I attended in Edinburgh last week. Manufacturer Husqvarna ran their 3rd Silent City event at the city's Botanical Gardens, where they presented their initial findings from running a pilot scheme which placed their robotic mowers into public spaces around the Scottish capital.


Both the manufacturer and the city council had been very pleased with how the trials had played out. Interestingly what both talked about extensively was the concept not of working harder, but of working smarter.


Clearly one of the first reactions a turf professional is likely to have when hearing of robots maintaining the grass will be, 'is my job safe?'. However, one of the key findings which this trial revealed though, was that council staff recognised that the use of the new technology freed up their time to concentrate on other tasks which needed to be performed.


The technology is there as an additional tool in their arsenal - not simply to replace them.


Opportunities afforded by visits to shows like SALTEX should be enthusiastically grasped to take advantage of being able consider what new developments are available to you. Not with the thought that they may one day replace you, but appreciating how they can facilitate your smarter working.

Inadequate monitoring could be jeopardising health suggests author
Artificial turf
A new study by a Professor at Stirling University calls for proper cumulative health impact assessments to be carried out.

A study looking at artificial turf, made from recycled crumb rubber, suggests that inadequate monitoring could be jeopardising the health of sportspeople, children and those who work with the material.

The Chemical Watch website reports that the study - Artificial turf: Contested terrains for precautionary public health with particular reference to Europe? - calls for proper cumulative health impact assessments to be carried out.

Report author, Stirling University's Professor Andrew Watterson, writes that health concerns surround potential exposure and uptake of chemicals within pitch and base materials.

Research has looked at potential risks to users from substances, such as metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), including benzo (a) (e) pyrenes and phthalates, Professor Watterson writes. Some are carcinogens and others may be endocrine disruptors and have developmental reproductive effects, he adds.

But only one widely quoted biomonitoring study has been done, and no rigorous cancer epidemiological studies exist, he says.

Professor Watterson asks for improved information for users, as well as extensive health monitoring and surveillance by the local authorities and Health and Safety Executive (HSE), while data gaps exist.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands and Echa are considering a draft restriction proposal of the content of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in articles, which could be expanded to recycled rubber crumb. The current applicable limit value is not thought protective enough.

The study is published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

At Amenity Forum Conference this week
Monsanto's ProVantage
Monsanto’s Technical Development Manager Barrie Hunt will speak on the subject of ‘Glyphosate, past, present and future’ on Thursday.

At the Amenity Forum Conference which is being held this Thursday, October 12th, at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton on Trent, Monsanto’s Technical Development Manager Barrie Hunt will speak on the subject of ‘Glyphosate, past, present and future’.

Monsanto's ProVantage

“Glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides are among the most thoroughly tested and evaluated pesticide products in the world. Their 40-year history of safe use is supported by one of the most extensive worldwide human health, crop residue and environmental databases ever compiled on any pesticide,” says Mr Hunt. “I will look at the history of the product, the contribution it makes to amenity management today and outline its development and where we are heading with the re-registration process.”

Following an 18-month extension of the current licence for Glyphosate in July 2016, the active ingredient comes back under the spotlight this autumn as manufacturers seek re-approval.

In March 2017 a report by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) found that glyphosate should not be classified as carcinogenic, thus supporting the 2015 conclusions of the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA). Following an in depth review of new and existing data, ECHA’s classification remained unchanged from its previous assessment several years ago.

The European Commission has submitted a Draft Review Report and Regulation for approval on which the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed, (SCoPAFF) will vote before the end of December.

Certain conditions were placed on the use of glyphosate ahead of the 2016 extension of approval, including prohibiting co-formulation with POE-tallowamine, (also referred to as POE-t or ETA), and a requirement to keep pesticide use as low as reasonably practical in specified areas are retained in the new regulation.

Mr Hunt comments: “At Monsanto we continue to work closely with amenity professionals such as members of the Amenity Forum to encourage best practice which includes techniques to carefully target glyphosate use to where it is most effective and appropriate.

“I look forward to the Amenity Forum conference as an opportunity to meet with contractors and operators who are at the top of their profession and with their help, ensure that we can keep this important active ingredient available for use in the future.”

Hybrid system
The Madejski Stadium
Reading FC have become the first UK sports club with a dual-use pitch to install the SISGrass hybrid system.

Reading FC have become the first UK sports club with a dual-use pitch to install the SISGrass hybrid system - to help the club’s turf endure almost 250 hours’ playing time.

Global pitch specialists SIS Pitches introduced their hybrid turf technology at the Madejski Stadium this summer as part of a full reconstruction of a pitch that staged over 55 matches last season.

The Madejski Stadium

With the Berkshire venue hosting all home first-team fixtures played by Reading and London Irish, the Aviva Premiership Rugby side that have been ground-share tenants for over 16 years, plus a selection of the Royals’ Under-23s and Under-18s games, the playing surface gets a severe workout.

So much so there were times last season that Adam Grantham, Reading’s Grounds Manager for 13 years, and his hard-working staff had to prepare for four matches in as many days.

With such little time to recover from wear and tear, the quality of the playing surface inevitably suffered.

To manage such high usage, the Sky Bet Championship club opted for SISGrass, a reinforced natural turf system featuring patented fibre injection technology.

Reading have the added bonus of having SISGrass Universal at their disposal. The compact machine, combining speed, mobility and laser precision, specialises in repairing high-use areas such as touchlines, goalmouths and penalty spots.

Main contractor MJ Abbott Ltd were central to the six-week pitch reconstruction project at the ‘Mad Stad’, while Premier Pitches completed the turf finishing process.

Adam said: “The pitch was last reconstructed to this extent way back in 2007 and it reached the end of its shelf life last season, becoming ineffective in areas.

“Balancing all the football and rugby commitments on an ageing pitch was extremely tough at times and there was some criticism over the winter period, so it was good to start afresh in the summer.

“We completely reconstructed the pitch, taking the old hybrid system out and starting from the bottom up, reshaping all the sub-base levels, reinstalling the drainage, the undersoil heating and adding a new irrigation system.

“We have been really pleased with both the high quality of SIS Pitches’ service and the pitch they have installed. With the increased durability of SISGrass, we’re extremely hopeful the end result is a much stronger and healthier pitch all year round that suits our manager Jaap Stam’s style of play."

Notts Sports organised events
Fast Track Funding seminars
A series of seminars will highlight a funding scheme which enables the installation of new community sports facilities – in the face of continuing economic challenges.

A series of seminars will highlight a funding scheme which enables the installation of state-of-the-art community sports facilities – in the face of continuing economic challenges and government cutbacks.

Fast Track Funding - an initiative from synthetic surfacing supplier Notts Sport - has funded 25 new sports facilities worth in excess of £9 million over the past five years. The company describe the scheme as "the only non-traditional funding route for artificial turf facilities – such as 3G football and rugby, or multi-use hockey pitches – proven to be compliant with Education Funding Agency requirements and local authority or academy auditors."

Notts Sports say the scheme is a suitable solution for schools and local authorities, providing synthetic turf sports pitches, with little or no upfront capital contribution required.

According to the company that is because most sports facilities are able to generate significant revenue through community use, and this income can be used to pay for a considerable proportion, if not all, of the cost of projects delivered under the unique scheme.

To showcase this initiative, Notts Sport is hosting free Fast Track Funding seminars at venues across England, Scotland and Wales throughout November.

These Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events will give attendees the opportunity to find out how the scheme could benefit them and learn about the experiences of customers who have already had facilities completed thanks to Fast Track Funding.

With Fast Track Funding, Notts Sport say they work closely with the individual customer to design a bespoke sports facility that’s specific to their vision and strategy.

Instead of the customer spending months or years applying for grants and waiting for funding, Notts Sport will provide a flexible funding solution with repayments spread over an agreed period to suit specific budgets. So depending on the customer's requirements, Notts Sport and its specialist funding partners, Unilink Finance Ltd, could provide full funding for the facility up front or supply part of the cost to top up existing funds or budgets.

Fast Track Funding Seminars are being held in the following locations:

  • Exeter: 31st October, Sandy Park Conference Centre, 8am-10am
  • Southampton 1st November, Holiday Inn Southampton Eastleigh, 8am-10am
  • Washington: 2nd November, Holiday Inn Washington, 8am-10am
  • Warrington: 7th November, Holiday Inn Warrington 8am-10am
  • Sheffield: 8th November, Holiday Inn Sheffield/Rotherham, 8am-10am
  • Gloucester: 9th November, Holiday Inn Gloucester South, 8am-10am
  • Brighton: 14th November, AMEX Stadium, 8am-10am
  • Kent: 15th November, Holiday Inn Maidstone, 8am-10am
  • Ipswich: 16th November, Holiday Inn Ipswich, 8am-10am
  • Birmingham: 21st November, Holiday Inn Birmingham, 8am-10am
  • Glasgow: 22nd November, House For An Art Lover, 8am-10am
  • Edinburgh: 23rd November, Holiday Inn Edinburgh, 8am-10am
  • London: 28th November, RICS Parliament Square, 2pm-4pm
  • Maidenhead: 29th November, Holiday Inn Maidenhead, 8am-10am
  • Cardiff: 30th November, Holiday Inn Cardiff M4 J32, 8am-10am

Those attending a seminar will also have a chance to win 20 tickets to the Hockey League Finals Weekend 2018.

To book a place click here.

By Chris Lamb of Trump International Golf Scotland
BIGGA National winner Chris Lamb of Trump International Golf Scotland
St Alban’s sunshine smiled upon the 30th anniversary celebrations of the BIGGA National Championship as Chris Lamb claimed victory at Verulam Golf Club.

St Alban’s sunshine smiled upon the 30th anniversary celebrations of the BIGGA National Championship sponsored by Charterhouse and Kubota as Chris Lamb claimed victory at Verulam Golf Club.

BIGGA National winner Chris Lamb of Trump International Golf Scotland

Thirty years after BIGGA hosted its first national championship for greenkeepers, the association returned to Verulam, made famous as the ‘Home of the Ryder Cup’ due to Samuel Ryder, who was a member at the club when he came up with the concept of the trans-Atlantic competition.

Overnight leader Chris, of Trump International Golf Scotland, shot a 4-under par total across the 36-hole competition to claim the BIGGA Challenge Trophy.

The +4 handicapper’s round included seven birdies and with four holes to play he sat one shot behind runner-up Tom Workman, of Minchinhamption.

In a duel reminiscent of Jordan Spieth versus Matt Kuchar at The Open, the two started the day tied for first place and swapped the lead throughout the round in a tightly-contested duel. However, two birdies in the final three holes propelled Chris to victory. The 23-year-old said: “It was probably one of the best duels I have been involved with. The fact that we both played pretty good helped.

“When I went one behind I said to myself ‘Come on, let’s do this’ and I was lucky enough to be able to pull it back.

“Going into the tournament I never thought I would win, and it was only once we hit our tee shots on the 18th and he went into a bunker that I realised that a par would probably be enough to see me over the line.

“It’s very special to have won the event, especially on its 30th anniversary, and I’m looking forward to defending my title next year.”

BIGGA Chief Executive Jim Croxton thanked the team at Verulam for inviting the association back to the venue, and for being excellent hosts.

He said: “Having played a few holes with Chris Carpenter MG, the course manager, I can confirm that he provided his fellow BIGGA members with a tough test of their golfing ability. The course is in spectacular condition and I can’t think of a better setting for the 30th anniversary of our national tournament. I would like to thank Chris and his team for their efforts and for allowing BIGGA to write our own chapter in the history of this prestigious venue.

The BIGGA National Championship 2018 will be held at Gullane Golf Club, East Lothian on 8-9 October 2017.

On new ATVs and UTVs
Polaris is offering interest-free finance
Polaris is offering interest-free finance on new Sportsman ATVs, Ranger 4×4 Utility Vehicles, RZRs and Scramblers (excluding Youth) in the UK.

Polaris is offering interest-free finance on new Sportsman ATVs, Ranger 4×4 Utility Vehicles, RZRs and Scramblers (excluding Youth) in the UK.

The 0% finance scheme, in conjunction with Rural Finance, is available over two years with 2 + 22 monthly payments up to a maximum of 80% of the Recommended Retail Price from October 1st 2017 through to 31st December 2017.

The finance offer can also include up to £1,000.00 (excluding VAT) on genuine Polaris accessories.

Members of the NFU, NFU Scotland and Ulster Farmers Union will additionally benefit from the current 5% discount on selected new Polaris ATVs and utility vehicles.

The availability of the 0% finance through Rural Finance is subject to status; the offers and warranty are subject to terms and conditions. Available in the UK, excluding the Republic of Ireland. Offers end on 31st December 2017.

Including pumps and generators
Honda WB20 water pump
Products can be purchased online, via a telesales team or through a local representative for next day delivery.

Spaldings has added Honda Industrial pumps and generators to its product range having been appointed as a Honda Industrial dealer with national reach.

Honda WB20 water pump

Spaldings will display selected products from the range upon its return to the Saltex exhibition next month.

As with other products handled by Spaldings, Honda petrol engine powered pumps and generators can be purchased online, via a telesales team or through a local representative for next day delivery from the £11 million-worth of stock held at the company’s warehouse in Lincoln.

“We have 60 years’ experience of efficiently picking, packing and dispatching, so we’re well practiced at it,” says Stephen Constable, commercial director. “But in addition to the convenience of ordering online, buyers can consult our nationwide team of 50 agricultural and 14 groundscare representatives for advice, and for expert hand-over of equipment and fault-finding if needed.”

Steve Jeffcock of Honda Industrial said, “One thing that attracted us to Spaldings is their pro-active approach, which gets the sales team on to farms, local authorities and others to make them aware of the products available, They also have a good after-sales reputation and it’s very positive that they’re willing to service or repair products, regardless of whether they’ve supplied them.”

Topdresser from Charterhouse Turf Machinery
Royal Cinque Ports
Course Manager James Bledge says machine has freed up staff to be put to use elsewhere on the course.

In March this year the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club in Kent took delivery of a Rink DS3800 bulk topdresser from Charterhouse Turf Machinery.

The club has been the host of many high-profile events since its formation in 1892. This year is no exception with Course Manager James Bledge and his team hosting the largest amateur foursomes tournament, the Halford Hewitt, in April and then in July the Final Qualifying event for The Open.

“Though a team of 9 sounds like quite a big team, the golfers expectations are really high so with our maintenance regime, time is of the essence. When it comes to topdressing we have a small topdresser which we use on the greens but this involved two guys filling it by hand - a hugely tiring task. If we wanted to do all the greens and approaches, that’s 33 tonnes of sand shovelled by hand!”

One of James’ closest friends, Lee Strutt at the Royal Automobile Club, purchased a Rink DS3800 last year and organised with Charterhouse to transport it to Royal Cinque Ports for James to demo. “I’d commented on it when I’d visited the RAC and having it to try just confirmed that it was exactly what we needed. With this we can fill our smaller unit and topdress all the greens in under 4 hours, getting out and round without being caught by play. I worked out how this equated to time and labour savings and that really sealed the deal.”

The Rink DS3800 is the largest model in the Rink range offering a spreading width of up to 15m, spreading thickness of up to 15mm and a hopper capacity of 3.8m3. It’s also available with an optional cross conveyor which James uses to feed the smaller topdresser and also for work on the course’s bunkers.

“The Rink has also freed up my guys who I can now put to other uses elsewhere," said James.

Amazing success rates!
Advertise your jobs on TurfPro Weekly Briefing
Advertise your recruitment needs on TurfPro Weekly Briefing and reach our targeted audience of recipients every week.

Contact Susan Pallett for details.

Call 01491 837117

Or download Media Pack

Sponsored Product Announcements
Visitor registration now open
The countdown to Europe’s largest annual turf management event has officially begun, marked by the opening of online visitor registration.

The countdown to Europe’s largest annual turf management event has officially begun, marked by the opening of online visitor registration.

SALTEX 2017 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 1-2 November, and has already attracted over 250 exhibitors - a number that’s set to grow further in the weeks leading up to the event. Confirmed to return are a number of leading brand names spanning the whole turf management industry including manufacturers and suppliers of world-class products and services for the maintenance of pitches, grounds, landscaping, parks and estates.

SALTEX will also once again boast unique show features such as:

  • Learning LIVE - an all-encompassing free-to-attend education programme offering grounds and open space practitioners across all disciplines, volunteer as well as professional, the chance to increase their CPD points.
  • Outdoor demonstrations - providing an opportunity to see a number of products in action directly outside the SALTEX halls 6, 7 and 8.
  • The SALTEX College Cup - a national student-led sports-turf challenge sponsored by Ransomes.
  • Pathology & Soil Science LIVE - allowing visitors to look in detail at the symptoms of some common turfgrass fungal disease problems.
  • The Young Groundsmen’s Conference, sponsored by Rigby Taylor and Top Green - an ideal opportunity for young people looking to advance their career in the groundscare industry
  • Ask the Expert – free pitchcare advice from the IOG’s team of regional pitch advisors based on the IOG Hub
  • The IOG Industry Awards - the UK’s biggest celebration in groundsmanship held on the evening of the first day (1 November) at the National Motorcycle Museum.
  • NEW for 2017! The Job Clinic – the chance to receive one-to-one advice from industry expert Frank Newberry on how to progress your career, write a compelling CV and perform well in an interview situation.

Located in the centre of the UK, whether you are travelling from overseas or within the UK, the NEC is incredibly easy to get to by car, rail or air.

SALTEX 2017 is free to attend. To register your attendance and beat the queues visit www.iogsaltex.com

Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook - www.facebook.com/IOGSALTEX

Side Advert Image

Garden trader
Garden Trader