Problem highlighted by national newspaper
by TurfPro Editor, Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR
Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR

Having spent much of my working life managing parks, I personally find the current situation regarding our public green spaces very disturbing.


A recent national newspaper story has reported that “thousands of parks are falling into disrepair or being sold off by cash strapped councils as they become 'no go' zones plagued by drug users and anti social behaviour.”

The report in the Mail On Sunday said children’s play areas are being closed, grass is being left to overgrow, and flowerbeds are being removed at hundreds of sites across the country. Other parks are becoming ‘no-go zones’ plagued by drug users and anti-social behaviour as staff are withdrawn.

In the worst cases, councils are flogging chunks of parkland to housing developers to raise money – despite huge protests and while wasting millions on vanity projects elsewhere.

Their investigation found that almost one in three councils had sold off green space in the past 12 months - and one in five planned to sell off land within the next three years.

Read the rest of the article here 

Critics say the crisis poses the biggest threat to Britain’s parks since they were founded in the Victorian era to promote health and wellbeing.

  • One in three parks no longer has any staff on site, fuelling fears of a rise in crime;
  • Three-quarters of councils say they have cut back on park maintenance;
  • 214 play areas across England have been shut since 2014, with 234 more planned;
  • Park funding has been slashed by at least £15 million in the past two years, with some councils cutting budgets by as much as £750,000;
  • 95 per cent of councils expect to make further cuts to parks in the next five years.

Having spent much of my working life managing parks, I personally find it very disturbing that it has come to this. We have so much evidence available, on the value and role parks and open spaces play in improving people’s health and wellbeing. It was this reason why the Victorians introduced them in the first place during the mid-19th century.
These cut backs have been going on for far too long - it was one of the reasons I left my role as parks officer back in 2003. That’s when it really began. Since then we have seen a constant reduction in parks funding.

However, I fully understand many of the issues councils are facing in the light of the government’s tight rein on councils budgets and notably understanding the frustrations of many practicing parks mangers who for many years have been forced to reduce service delivery in their parks and amenity open spaces.

However, to combat these cut backs, councils are now seeking new ways of working and obtaining funding from other sources. Without doubt the National Lottery and Heritage Funding Schemes have helped enormously in recent years, with millions of pounds filtering down to councils who have been savvy enough to understand and learn quickly how to make the most of these funding opportunities.


Another way of saving money and working effectively is by working with new partners who are willing to take on the maintenance and management of some of the land assets. For example, in recent years we have seen local councils pass on this responsibility of these to town and parrish councils and local sports clubs.

However, this can only be achieved, after investing in a detailed survey and consultation with many organisations, sports clubs and evaluating current working practises and costing of any proposed schemes.

This usually is achieved by the process of the council formulating and producing a ‘parks strategy’ to evaluate the way ahead. These strategies are usually set between 5-10 years depending on the size and scale of the park. For many councils these strategies have worked. However, there are many councils who have chosen a different route by reducing cuts further thus leaving the park devoid of any effective maintenance - which in turn as made them vulnerable by reducing parks services to the bone and worse still selling off these wonderful assets to the highest bidder!


For many years local authorities have relied on developers Section 106 monies to help fund parks projects. Generally, this sees a builder pay a proportion of the value of the building plot back to the council. I am not a great fan of this system, mainly due the fact that in my opinion the developer gets away with paying as little as possible, with too many rules working in the favour of the developer.

The net result sees the council receiving a pittance of a payment against the real value of the land assets being developed. We must somehow make a stand against these derisory offers and a get a better deal for local authorities.

Another problem has been the fact that we have for many years not had a strong voice or body to represent us and convince the government to find appropriate funding to ease the plight of parks.

This has been the consequence of being a fragmented industry, with many organisations looking after their own interests and not often coming together to forge a real voice for our industry. However, there seems to a light at the end of the tunnel with the recent forming of a new Parks Action Group in 2017.

The Parks Action Group comprises of experts from organisations across the sector, including Groundwork, to help England’s public parks and green spaces meet the needs of communities now and in the future. They will be working closely to deliver an ambitious response to the select committee inquiry into the sustainability of parks and green spaces.


Having read a recent article published by Rishi Sunak a Conservative MP for Richmond (Yorks) and minister for local government, parks and green spaces it seems we may finally be seeing some progress in the support for parks. In his article he states some interesting facts to support parks.

Parks are huge assets to our towns and cities. They play a valuable role in our communities,” writes Rishi Sunak. “Visits to city parks and green spaces in England rose by 25% between 2010 and 2016.

Our wealth of parks and green spaces are huge assets to our towns and cities. They are at the heart of our communities and provide precious spaces for all of us to enjoy and are particularly important in urban areas where many residents don’t have gardens of their own.

“Parks also help to bring communities together, as I see for myself regularly at our local Parkrun in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. This fantastic weekly event is staffed by an army of local volunteers, and many of my constituents of all ages and abilities get involved.

“With new research from Natural England showing that visits to city parks and green spaces in England rose by 25% between 2010 and 2016, it is no surprise how much we all value them, and this government is committed to doing all we can to protect and improve them.

“Our Green Flag Award scheme, for example, led by Keep Britain Tidy, has done great work in championing our parks and green spaces, and the hardworking people behind them. The awards are valuable because they reward local authorities and communities for their dedication, set standards for park managers across the country, and give locals and visitors alike an easy way to find quality spaces to enjoy.

“Over 1,500 parks were recognised last year and are now proudly flying the flag. They include Pannett Park in Whitby, moments from my constituency, which has also recently benefited from a £1.4m restoration through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“There are huge health benefits to parks and green spaces, too. Earlier this year, we set out our 25-year environment plan, including looking at long-term approaches to our precious spaces and the impact on health. We know that spending time in our natural environment boosts strength and wellbeing by reducing stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression. This is why we continue to champion them.

“I am extremely impressed by the fantastic work going on across the country. We must continue to work together with parks communities, authorities and academics to explore new approaches that will help us to appreciate the real benefits they bring to our lives”.

As a Green Flag judge myself I see plenty of evidence of the good work being done by a number of local authorities who are trying to buck the trend and made good use of the resources they have available. Also APSE (Association of Parks Service Excellence) has also been instrumental in supporting local authorities on relevant training needs and for many years being championing parks and open spaces.


And finally, I am worried by the demise of the park manager - especially the ones who had worked their way up the ranks, having plenty of hands-on experiences. In recent years many of the parks departments have been amalgamated into larger service departments, such as road and highway agencies, often seeing managers with no horticulture experiences taking on the management of parks. Over time this has led to the parks department losing its voice and being dumbed down yet again with further reductions in service.

There is no doubt managing parks and open spaces comes at a cost. I personally think government should recognise the value of these parks and set aside appropriate funding for ongoing maintenance of these assets. It may mean that we all have to pay more taxes - which I personally do not see a problem with if it safeguards the future of our parks and open spaces.

Let us hope that these new initiatives will change the fortune of our parks and open spaces in the coming years. I personally will also be looking forward to seeing what effects this new Parks Action Group will have, persuading the government to begin investing in these valuable national assets.

With over 27,000 parks it is going to be vast challenge to get the government to force local authorities and town councils to set aside relevant budgets for their upkeep.

As registration opens

BIGGA say event has expanded by 25% and will feature a host of new conferences, forums, exhibition platforms and more opportunities than ever to network.


During BTME 2018 last January, the event hosts, BIGGA (British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association), promised that the annual exhibition would be drastically transformed for 2019. 


And with registration for the event now open, the Association has revealed that the event has expanded by 25% and that it will feature a host of new conferences, forums, exhibition platforms and more opportunities than ever to network and gain knowledge and experience.



Utilising a new hall layout at the Harrogate Convention Centre, BTME will feature 4,800sqm of exhibition space and feature Golf Course Construction Live!, a golf simulator competition, a new product and innovation area and a TED Talk-style theatre, where short presentations will be delivered by some of the leading names in the industry.


As always, Continue to Learn will kick off the week, with the education programme evolving to better suit the needs of BIGGA members. Taking place from Sunday 20 to Wednesday 23 January, the association’s Learning & Development team has put together its largest-ever package of education with more than 250 hours of education.


There will be a Deputies’ Conference, a Links Forum, an Ecology and the Environment Forum and a panel discussion looking at The R&A’s Golf Course 2030 plan.


Other workshops will discuss Gadgets & Gizmos, The Disturbance Theory: 10 years on, Work-Related Stress, while regular favourites such as the Turf Managers’ Conference and the Young Greenkeepers’ Conference will also return.


Last year, 50% of Continue to Learn workshops and seminars sold out within five weeks of registration opening, so BIGGA members have been encouraged to get their places booked soon to avoid missing out.


BTME 2019 itself begins on Tuesday 22 January with the Welcome Celebration taking place on the opening evening. Housed in a new location in the HCC’s main auditorium, television presenter Naga Munchetty will once again host the event, which will see a number of BIGGA members recognised for their achievements throughout the year, including the announcement of the winners of the annual BIGGA Awards, revamped to coincide with the new, expanded BTME offering.


Throughout the show itself, which runs from Tuesday until Thursday 22 January, there has been an increased offering for members, including more social space for networking and a larger BIGGA stand featuring a Wellness Area where skin cancer screening, hearing screening and mental health advice will all take place.


Also on the stand will be a Membership Benefits advisory service, where experts will provide information for members regarding legal advice, HR, health & safety, volunteering and member opportunities.


BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said, “The expansion of BTME arose due to the exhibition’s incredible popularity among our exhibitors, of which in 2018 there were more than 140 and we’re due to expand on that number this year. In providing more space, we were presented with an incredible opportunity to create a greatly improved visitor experience, further enhancing BTME’s position as the premier turf management exhibition in Europe.


“We anticipate BTME 2019 being our most popular event ever. By registering early for BTME, you can ensure you skip to the front of the line and increase your BTME experience to the limit, ensuring you won’t miss a single part of what promises to be a historic event for the greenkeeping industry.”


Click here to register now for BTME 2019.


You can also download a copy of the Continue to Learn at BTME 2019 brochure here.

Approved as the External Quality Assurance Provider
The IOG has been approved as the External Quality Assurance Provider for the Apprenticeship Standards for a Sports Turf Operative by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA).

Within this role the IOG will help to ensure the new higher quality apprenticeship standards are maintained across the entire industry.


The IOG has been approved as the External Quality Assurance Provider for the Apprenticeship Standards for a Sports Turf Operative by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA).



Within this role, the IOG will help to ensure the new higher quality apprenticeship standards, which have been successfully initiated by government and lead by employers, are maintained across the entire industry.


According to IOG learning programme architect, Chris Gray, who has been instrumental in gaining this approval, the IOG will be monitoring the validity, reliability, comparability and independence of the assessors and assessments.


“We will be gathering feedback from apprentices and employers on the standard and assessments, as well as their experience of the training provision,” says Chris. “Our findings will be reported to the IfA to ensure these high-quality standards are not just maintained, but to ensure that continual improvements are identified and actioned.


"We thoroughly welcome the raising of standards and look forward to working with the IfA in making this approach a sustainable success.”

First major Middle East venture
(Front left to right) Education City Golf Club General Manager Michael Braidwood, Golf Course Superintendent Darren Smith, Business Development Manager Leen Al Ghaly of John Deere dealer Progressive, Deputy Golf Course Superintendent Andrew Ikstrums and Education City’s Director of Golf Rhys Beecher, with members of the 45-strong maintenance team and part of the new John Deere machinery fleet.

A major investment in John Deere golf course maintenance equipment has been made by the brand new Education City Golf Club in Doha, Qatar, which is due to open at the end of October 2018.


A major investment in John Deere golf course maintenance equipment has been made by the brand new Education City Golf Club in Doha, Qatar, which is due to open at the end of October 2018.


The machinery will be used on three courses, with a total of 33 holes spread across 120ha.


Education City Golf Club say they are a landmark project for Qatar and the world of golf, offering as they describe it, a "revolutionary and holistic approach to growing the game of golf".


(Front left to right) Education City Golf Club General Manager Michael Braidwood, Golf Course Superintendent Darren Smith, Business Development Manager Leen Al Ghaly of John Deere dealer Progressive, Deputy Golf Course Superintendent Andrew Ikstrums and Education City’s Director of Golf Rhys Beecher, with members of the 45-strong maintenance team and part of the new John Deere machinery fleet


The facility features three golf courses including an 18-hole championship course, a floodlit 6-hole championship course and a floodlit 9-hole par 3 course, all designed by Jose Maria Olazabal. It also comprises a range of short game formats, a state-of-the-art learning and practice facility housed in the Centre of Excellence and a TrackMan driving range.


Uniquely the 6-hole championship course has seven tee options per hole for quick and multi-generational golf, as part of the club’s role in supporting the game’s development and encouraging its growth in the region. The golf courses are serviced by a clubhouse and academy building.. Surrounding the clubhouse are large gardens where a number of lawn sports will also be available, including footgolf, frisbee golf and croquet.


The facility will be maintained by Golf Course Superintendent Darren Smith and Deputy Superintendent Andrew Ikstrums. An initial fleet of 93 John Deere machines including tractors, greens, fairway & rough mowers and Gator utility vehicles has been delivered by Qatar dealer Progressive, along with other ancillary equipment including sprayers, top dressers and aerators. The choice of John Deere as preferred supplier to Education City Golf Club was made on Darren Smith’s recommendation, following an intensive examination of the equipment’s technical and environmental features.


In line with the club’s sustainability vision, John Deere was chosen due to the hybrid electric technology used on over 90 per cent of the mowing fleet. These mowers feature E-Cut Quick Adjust (QA) cutting units driven by electric reel motors that support energy efficiency, reduced fuel consumption and lower sound levels. In addition, 102 potential hydraulic leak points are removed from the equation due to the use of electric drives in the reel circuits. Precision and quality were also key considerations in the decision making process, as Education City aims to present a premium experience to its members and guests.


Seif Al Ghaly, Managing Director of Progressive, John Deere’s official supplier in Qatar, said: “As the exclusive dealer for John Deere agriculture & turf equipment in the region, Progressive Trading is proud and honoured to supply Education City Golf Club for the first time with our largest ever fleet of golf and utility equipment, to cater for the maintenance of this prestigious project.


“We are committed to providing first class products and service from our well trained and dedicated team of employees, with the full support, back-up and experience of the international John Deere business.”


Education City Golf Club’s General Manager Michael Braidwood added: “Our core product is the golf course and therefore it must be presented in immaculate condition. The equipment has been carefully selected to ensure an excellent guest and member experience. John Deere products are aligned to our vision in sustainability and to supporting our environmental initiatives in reducing fuel and waste. Furthermore, John Deere invests worldwide in education and training, which is another of our core values, and we look forward to a successful long-term partnership with the company.”

From Toro in Spellbrook
A Toro SGR-13 Stump Grinder has been stolen from the company

Toro has discovered that a SGR-13 Stump Grinder, model 22619, was stolen from its premises in Spellbrook between the night of Tuesday 2nd and morning of Wednesday 3rd October.


Toro has discovered that a SGR-13 Stump Grinder, model 22619, was stolen from its premises in Spellbrook between the night of Tuesday 2nd and morning of Wednesday 3rd October.


SGR-13 Stump Grinder


The machine, with serial number 401385037, was reported stolen to the police on Wednesday morning.


The Toro Company is urging anyone who might know anything in relation to the theft or the whereabouts of the machine to contact them at the following email address sales@hayter.co.uk

Common sense and the right products applied
Ian Whitehead, head greenkeeper at Lees Hall Golf Club

Ian Whitehead knew he could a make a difference to the badly-presented, badly-playing course that was effectively “playing second fiddle to the club’s social/bar facilities”.


Ian Whitehead knew that simply by applying common sense greenkeeping practices - coupled with the right amenity products - he would be able to make a difference when he joined 18-hole Lees Hall Golf Club in 2016.


The badly-presented, badly-playing course was effectively “playing second fiddle to the club’s social/bar facilities” and members were drifting away.

Today, part-way through what Ian reckons could be a ten-year programme of improvements to the course, there is a massive turnaround with ‘lost’ members returning and new ones joining - to the extent that over 100 new members have signed up during the past year.


L-R: Lees Hall Golf Club’s resident professional Andy Rossington and Ian Whitehead, head greenkeeper

With more than 30 years’ experience of greenkeeping in the Sheffield area, starting on a YTS course at Hallamshire GC, then at Stocksbridge GC before moving to Hillsborough GC as head greenkeeper aged 24 - plus having Levels 2 and 3 accreditations in greenkeeping and Level 3 in management - 48-year-old Ian joined the Sheffield-based club “when the greens chairman wanted someone to help out the greens staff”.

Ian picks up the story: “I immediately saw that with a bit of TLC the course (tees, greens and fairways) could be turned around. So, within a few weeks, I had borrowed the appropriate machinery and I set about double cutting and getting some stripes in. I also instigated a regime of regular scarification and aeration (we’re on clay), and applied fertilsers and topdressing - a normal regime!

“In fact, we’ve applied a lot of topdressing - 80 tonnes last year and more than 100 tonnes this year - and we now also regularly Shockwave and slit the fairways.

“The first thing I did was to double-cut the 1st and 17th tees down to 10 mm - the tees that are in view when you arrive at the course. First impressions count!”

Andy Rossington, the club’s resident professional, and the greens committee could immediately see that what Ian was doing was working and they were very supportive by for example, investing in a number of new machines “that have made a big difference, including new mowers for the tees, greens and semi-rough areas”.

As a result, Ian was appointed head greenkeeper four months later, in November 2016. “That gave me a full winter to get everything organised and ‘tidied up’ ready for the new season. We’re now in the second season and we’re getting there!”

Support was not only forthcoming from the greens committee and Andy. Over a number of years Ian has worked with Rigby Taylor’s Technical Representative Mike Brear, who had put together programmes of treatments to benefit the courses Ian had worked on.

“To an extent, I simply followed that programme here,” says Ian. “But these were old push-up greens and I didn’t want to ‘open them up’ too soon and too quickly, so I took a measured approach during the first season, waiting until the course looked a bit ‘tired’. Also, being north facing, this parkland course battles all the elements and in the spring suffers relatively slow growth rates."


Now, Ian applies his full Rigby Taylor programme, and he particularly highlights the Breaker Biolinks wetting agent which is applied six times a year as an indispensable product for Dry Patch prevention and root generation.

With an annual overseed of Rigby Taylor’s R105 Browntop bent blend, the current programme includes regular (twice a year, in April and September) use of Microlite micro-granular fertiliser, plus Microflow controlled-release liquid fertiliser in May, June and July, along with applications of Magnet Rapide liquid iron and Magnet Dynamic (turf colour enhancers, twice and once, respectively), Maintain NT plant growth regulator for dense swarf and improved root mass (seven times a year), K-Form potassium supplement (five times) and the Spike ‘tournament preparation’ mixture of potassium and silica (twice).

“These products have never let me down in the past,” adds Ian, “and I see no reason why they will now.”

He concludes: “There’s still a lot to do, especially with thatch levels on the greens and approaches, as well as work to the bunkers and the drainage, plus to the trees that shade many of the greens and tees. I think the approaches alone will take three to four years to get them where I want them. But I’m already seeing massive improvements in the fairways (through slitting).

“My goal is to make this the leading golf club in Sheffield, and with the backing of the committee and the members plus the continued technical support from Rigby Taylor, there is no reason why this can’t be the case.”

To Reesink and Toro
The new Reelmaster 3575-D and irrigation in action in front of the Manor House at Ham Manor Golf Club.

Five-year machinery lease deal and new irrigation system for club.


Ham Manor Golf Club has committed to a five-year exclusivity agreement with Reesink  Turfcare and Toro.


Paul Brown, who has been course manager at the West Sussex club for two years, says it was the right time to commit. “You place a lot of trust in your package partner and ask a lot from them so it’s important to feel comfortable they can deliver. I’ve previously used Toro equipment and I had no doubt that Toro would deliver for us here at Ham Manor, but the primary drivers behind this decision were the trust and confidence we have in Reesink’s area retail sales manager Jon Cole and Toro’s unequivocal reliability.


“You put your reputation on the line when you embark on this sort of package deal. It’s a massive financial commitment over a long period of time, and you’ve got to be sure you’re not going to be let down. I hadn’t felt the time was right to make that sort of commitment, until now.”


The new Reelmaster 3575-D and irrigation in action in front of the Manor House at Ham Manor Golf Club


In the order are a Reelmaster 3575-D, TriFlex 3400, two Workman MDX-D and one Workman HDX utility vehicles, the Multi Pro Workman sprayer and ProPass 200 topdresser. These machines add to the Reelmaster 3100-D and two Groundmaster 360 Quad Steers acquired over the last 18 months.


Positioned where it is nestled between the coast and the South Downs, Ham Manor is a parkland course a mile away from the sea, which Paul says: “has its own microclimate. Out of ten we’re an 11 when it comes to how much grass growth there is here. We could easily cut the fairways five days a week and still have work to do!”


Add to that the general trend of wetter winter months and it’s clear to see why Paul has opted for the combination of Toro’s Reelmaster 3575-D and TriFlex 3400: “We can struggle to get equipment on the course, but the RM3575-D is light with a larger footprint, and its three-wheel design and turf-friendly tyres mean we can rely on it to not damage the ground. Both machines make light work of the amount of grass.


“When I started here there was a ‘mix and match’ range of kit, and this batch of machines are like-for-like replacements of those while we begin the process of investing in one manufacturer for the majority of our equipment. When our existing lease arrangements have run their course, the intention is to renew the entire fleet in one package. I feel this is the most cost-effective way to bring reliable machinery management to the club.”


Complementing the machinery lease deal, Ham Manor has completed phase one of its irrigation installation. This is a three-phase process to renew the entire system. Back to back Toro Infinity sprinklers have already been installed on the club’s new academy area and brand new 18th hole and up next is a Toro Lynx central control system and then Infinity sprinklers, back-to-back on the greens, tees, aprons and partial fairways of the 18-hole course.


Paul says: “Replacing our irrigation system is the biggest single investment the club will make in the next 30-40 years. Due diligence was essential in the evaluation process and we were thorough in our research. We viewed all the major brands and even travelled overseas visiting factories to see how sprinklers are made, but when it came down to it, Toro had everything we needed, including first class support from Reesink’s Rob Jackson which of course, is an essential component of the whole process.”


It’s common sense that when making an irrigation decision to consider sustainability too. With that in mind a new irrigation lake has been built and a borehole installed and Paul is actively investigating running grey (roof) water into the lake to further enhance the club’s ability to be less dependent on a mains water supply. 

Over 40 turf professionals attend
Trencher demo

Dealers Russell Group held a dedicated Ventrac demo recently which attracted in excess of 40 visitors from local landscape contractors, golf courses and a national hire company.


Russell Group recently held a Groundcare Demo Day at Stocksbridge Golf Club in Sheffield.


Organised by Glen Sawyer, Russell’s equipment sales manager based at their Rotherham depot, the dedicated Ventrac Demo Day attracted in excess of 40 visitors from local landscape contractors, golf courses and a national hire company.


Trencher demo


Five Ventrac 4500 compact tractors with a total of 13 different attachments were assembled at four stations. Visitors rotated between each station and were able to see each implement demonstrated and, in some cases, ride and drive the machines.


Implements and attachments demonstrated included four different mowing decks, two blowers, trencher, edger, Aera-vator, Power Broom, Power Rake and stump grinder. Also on demonstration and makings its UK debut was the new Boom Mower, to be officially launched at SALTEX at the end of October.


Commenting after the event Glen Sawyer said, “This was an excellent day and it certainly surpassed our expectations, It was a great effort from my team, the guys from Price Turfcare and the staff at Stocksbridge. Head greenkeeper Jamie Hobson was most accommodating allowing us to dig trenches, clear bracken and reshape the edges of his fairways and the guys driving the machines did a great job. Anyone who has visited Stocksbridge knows that it has some very steep slopes and the demo team certainly put the equipment through its paces.


Rupert Price, Managing Director of Ventrac’s UK importer Price Turfcare added, “I’ve been in this business for over 20 years and this was the most successful demo day I have ever attended. I am extremely grateful to Glen and his team; these events take a lot of time and effort to organise - it was a great day.”

Developed in partnership with dealer network
Can-Am Outlander

The Can-Am Conquest Tour is returning this autumn bringing their vehicles to farmers and agricultural workers at new auction marts and sales across the country.


The Can-Am Conquest Tour is returning this autumn bringing the Can-Am All Terrain (ATV) and Side by Side Vehicles (SSV) to farmers and agricultural workers at new auction marts and sales across the country.


The tour started on Thursday last week (4th October) in Cirencester and is running through to the end of November, building on the success of the first incarnation, which took place in May and June.



Can-Am Conquest Tour II is part of BRP's UK-wide brand awareness programme designed and developed in partnership with its dealership network. It will be visiting 11 livestock sales and auction marts in eight weeks, including Penrith, Exeter, Ayr, Sedgemoor, Rugby and Cirencester.


At each site, the local Can-Am dealer in conjunction with the BRP team, will showcase the benefits the Can-Am Outlander 450 and 570, and Can-Am Traxter models from the 2019 Can-Am off-road range, can deliver to end users - with the opportunity to book a free demo back at their farms and estates.


The road show will arrive onsite with a branded truck transporting a selection of Can-Am ATVs and SSVs, with supporting promotional merchandise and offers from the NFU, NFU Scotland and BASC.


Anita Gobbo, BRP regional commercial manager UK, Italy and Spain, said, “Following the huge success of the inaugural Can-Am Conquest Tour earlier in the year, our second phase will once again bring the ‘dealership' experience directly to customers at their place of work. It’s an opportunity to engage with end users to understand their needs and requirements and to demonstrate Can-Am’s ability to offer them suitable rugged vehicles that not only meet but also surpass their expectations.


"Our event is designed to create impact outside the normal show season from which we can secure the visibility of our products and raise the profile of our dealers, who are able to meet with end users they may not previously have had access to.”

Amazing success rates!
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Sponsored Product Announcements
Snapshot of some of the exciting entries
Entries have been confirmed for the SALTEX 2018 Innovation Award.

After making its successful debut last year, the SALTEX Innovation Award is back for 2018 and visitors will get the chance to see every entry at the show.


SALTEX plays host to the most technologically advanced-equipment showcase in grounds management. After making its successful debut last year, the SALTEX Innovation Award is back for 2018 and visitors will get the chance to see every entry at the show.


Here is a snapshot of some of the exciting entries:

Sherriff Amenity – PrecisionPro; a dedicated spots turf app designed to help users measure, calibrate and apply granular products.

Lantra - Integrated Weed Management is the latest training course added to Lantra’s Pest & Weed Management suite of training and qualifications.

Trimax Mowing Systems - the Snake S2; a rotary, roller mower designed for sports turf and golf courses.

Trimax Mowing Systems - the QuikLIFT; a new feature for the PegasusS4 which allows all three decks to be lifted with the blades still engaged.

Trimax Mowing Systems - the LocTEK; a patent pending stubless roller bearing system for increased retention, bearing life and replacement ease.

PSD Groundscare - ELIET Turfaway 600; with a 60 cm-wide cutter the Turfaway 600 has been designed for major lawn renovation that requires complete reconstruction.

PSD Groundscare – TS Industrie GS/Puma Tracked Remote Controlled Shredder is a remote controlled tracked green waste shredder.

Net World Sports - FORZA Alu110 Football Goals; are available in eight sizes and can be purchased as both freestanding and socketed.

Reesink Turfcare - Toro Outcross 9060; a super-duty utility vehicle, designed specifically to simplify the groundsman’s day-to-day turf maintenance jobs.

Reesink Turfcare - Toro Groundsmaster 1200; a robust pull-behind rotary mower for sports and groundscare turf maintenance applications.

T H White Machinery Imports - Spider X Line; a new remote-controlled slope mower which can climb slopes of up to 40 degrees independently.

T H White Machinery Imports - Ferris 400S; a zero-turn mower with a 48 inch cutting width developed for light commercial or large domestic mowing customers.

Allett Mowers - c34 Evolution; a new electric, large area, walk-behind cylinder mower with inter-changeable cartridges.

McConnel – ROBOCUT; an all-terrain remote-control work platform that boosts safety, productivity and efficiency.

Bulldog Tools - Mini Shovels; two brand new shovels (a square mouth version and a round mouth version) that are lightweight and very easy to carry in any transport.

Helping Hand Environmental - Street Boss; a multi-functional sustainable litter collection system which allows the operative to undertake a range of cleansing tasks.

Briggs & Stratton UK - Vanguard 200 engine; a commercial grade air-cooled petrol engine designed from the ground up which delivers significant performance enhancements.

Evopos – Evopos; a modern dealer management system providing stock control, EPOS, workshop, whole goods control, accounts, CRM, Ebay, Web and e-commerce modules.

Etesia UK - Pellenc ULiB 1200 battery; lightweight and offers increased autonomy of up to 20% – up to five hours of work with the most energy-consuming Pellenc tools in the range.

Hayter/Toro - ProStripe 560; a professional walk-behind rear-roller rotary mower, designed primarily for sports playing surfaces, to cut and collect grass, or to remove debris and divots.

EGO - POWERLOAD™ Line Trimmer; a new line trimmer with a fully automatic line re-loading system.

Block Blitz - Paving Sand; to keep paving joints clean and deter weeds and moss.

Block Blitz - Big Blitz; a jumbo dust pan and brush which is oversized, light-weight and super strong.

Block Blitz - Block Blitz Shield; new paving treatment which protects new and recently laid paved surfaces.

A panel of expert judges will select the winning product and the winners will be announced on the first day of SALTEX at a ceremony to be held on the show floor in the all new Innovation Hub.

SALTEX 2018 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

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Garden trader
Garden Trader
Q&A with BASIS ceo, Stephen Jacobs
by TurfPro Editor, Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR
Stephen Jacob

Editor Laurence Gale meets BASIS chief executive officer, Stephen Jacobs, to catch up with what they have been doing to celebrate their 40th year and what new qualifications are on offer.


BASIS Training and Certification has been an industry standard for 40 years. In that time, the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection IPM became a statutory requirement for sellers, suppliers and advisers and has been retained in the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012.

I myself qualified back in 1997 and I’m currently able to advise on the use of pesticide protective products as a member of the BASIS Register (AR/E/ 0445/A). I also hold relevant PA1 PA6 application certificates.

I personally believe anybody working in our industry should obtain the relevant qualifications to have a better understanding of the use of plant protection products. BASIS Registration have without doubt over the years provided a comprehensive education programme to ensure practitioners are adequately qualified to do their jobs.

A recent trip to BASIS HQ in Ashbourne enabled me to catch up with their chief executive officer, Stephen Jacobs, to catch up with what they have been doing to celebrate their 40th year and what new qualifications are on offer.


Stephen Jacob

What does BASIS stand for?
BASIS is an independent education, training and auditing charity operating in the agriculture, horticulture, amenity and pest control industries. It currently has over 11,000 members who work and require relevant qualifications to undertake their roles and responsibilities.

How long has BASIS been in existence and where are they based?
This is our fortieth year, having been established in 1978. We are based in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, but have a national reach with training providers across the United Kingdom.
What services do they offer the amenity and agriculture industry?

BASIS is an independent standards setting and auditing organisation for the pesticide, fertiliser and allied industries. We are a registered charity (No. 1077006) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England (No. 1365343)

BASIS also aims to help individuals and companies meet legal, regulatory and best practice standards by offering a range of services including:

  • Education and Training from new entrant level to advisers involved in the sale and supply of pesticides and fertiliser
  • Professional Development via the BASIS Amenity Training Register
  • Pesticide Store Audits
  • Amenity Assured and Lawn Assured auditing

What is your role at BASIS and how long have you been associated with the company?
My association with BASIS goes back to 1998 when I was working in a seed production management role for a multinational (Monsanto) and as part of my professional development I became BASIS and FACTS qualified.

Following a career in seed production and farm business consultancy I joined BASIS in 2011 as their business development manager and subsequently became CEO in 2015. As CEO my role is very much one of leadership that also entails being ultimately responsible for all day-to-day management decisions and for implementing the organisation’s long and short term plans. I also communicate on behalf of the organisation with employees, government authorities, other stakeholders and the public.

BASIS runs ten distinct schemes, and each includes a variety of resources and opportunities in a range of sectors. Tell me about those.
Your readers can find out all about the schemes on our website. BASIS courses are accredited through Harper Adams University and build towards the BASIS Diploma in Agronomy and ultimately the Harper Adams University Graduate Diploma in Agronomy with Environmental Management at Honours degree level. This is quite an achievement for many agronomists and represents a lifetime academic achievement.

Successful candidates can graduate at a Harper Adams University Graduation Ceremony. Almost 250 agronomists have achieved the BASIS Diploma and are eligible to go on to gain the Harper Adams University Graduate Diploma if they take a further Advanced Module / Certificate.

We continue to offer a variety of certificates of competence and short courses across the UK through our national network of BASIS Approved Trainers. New courses in crop protection and environmental management are being developed constantly in line with industry innovation to enable a wider range of skills and agronomic expertise to be recognised.

Many of the schemes are centered around the safe use of pesticides do you see this as an important role for BASIS?
Promoting and encouraging the safe and sustainable use of pesticides through training and professional development is an important role for BASIS and at all times we advocate the use of pesticides within an integrated programme. Pesticides are used in IPM programs when no effective alternatives are available - or alternatives are not sufficient to keep pest, weed or disease populations from reaching damaging levels. The emphasis is to maximise the benefits and advantages that pesticides offer while minimising any potential risks.


Sprayer training

What new schemes are you running?
Our digital transformation project is all absorbing at the moment as we look at ways to improve administrative efficiency and customer benefits and services. Additionally, the formation of a new membership committee with representation from all the sectors that we support is an exciting and rewarding new initiative. This will involve setting up a new committee of 11 people from all aspects of our industry, advisors, store keepers, managers, educationists, etc to meet and feedback relevant information regarding needs and expectations of the industry. This then will allow us to redefine our training programmes and qualifications to meet our industry needs.

I believe it is the 40th Year of BASIS - do you have any plans to celebrate this ?
We are taking the opportunity for a little reflection, but in the main we are focusing on what we wish to achieve in the coming years. We will also be appointing a new chief operating officer to oversee and manage the schemes, which will in turn free me up to allow me to develop and seek new business opportunities and liaise with our partners.
Where do you see BASIS in the coming years?

Continuing to play a pivotal role in supporting the amenity (sports turf) sector by offering a range of certificates suitable for the professional development of greenkeepers and groundsmen.

We are excited about our new conservation management qualifications we are launching. Working closely with the STRI we have a great potential to help many golf courses realise their true potential to develop and conserve their wildlife and flora habitats on their courses. This programme can be also run out to universities, schools and colleges.
We always aim to keep up with industry demands, and this means regularly creating, updating and launching new training courses. So as soil quality and biodiversity management become an increasingly essential aspect of farming, we’ll be launching two new courses to help equip candidates with the skills and knowledge they need to help enhance farm sustainability.

In early 2019 BASIS is set to launch two brand new qualifications that will arm candidates with the knowledge and skills to help manage soils for enhanced quality, biodiversity and long-term sustainability. A Foundation in Soils qualification will enable farmers and advisers to understand the relationship between physical structure, and the biological or chemical processes, that contribute to the quality of a soil.

The second qualification Quality of Soils will build on the success of existing BASIS modules, and acts as a step-up from the Foundation in Soils, giving further insight into improving the resilience of farming and amenity management systems through increased understanding of the soil ‘ecosystems’.

What challenges do you see our industry facing in the coming years?
Without doubt, the need to be more proactive and educated in the use of Pesticide Protective Products.

We also need to attract new blood into our industry and more importantly ensure they are appropriately qualified and trained to meet industry standards and able to do their jobs efficiently without risk to others.

We also need to embrace and utilise new technologies where appropriate and insure we continue to work collectively to meet government legislation on the use of pesticides.