First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year.
I am sure 2019 will bring us plenty of new opportunities and challenges to face. Not least, coping with the weather. After such a mild Christmas period I am sure we are due some wintery weather during the next three months.
I am personally looking forward to attending this year’s BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) event in Harrogate (22nd-24th January).
BTME is described as ‘Europe's leading exhibition for turf professionals and buyers’ and a great opportunity to further your education and development through the Continue to Learn programme.
The event will feature over 250 hours of education including the Turf Managers' Conference, over 150 exhibitors showcasing their latest products and innovations as well as superb networking opportunities. Last year's exhibition saw nearly 9,000 turf managers, golf club owners, managers and industry decision-makers pack into the Harrogate Convention Centre.
The exhibition covers everything from artificial grass to course furniture, irrigation to fertilisers - for more on who's at the show check out the Exhibitor List.
I sure we will see some game changers at this year’s show, with many manufacturers now starting to embrace hybrid and battery technologies.
Just before Christmas I had the opportunity to catch up With Austin Jarrett of Allett Mowers at Regal House his new office and factory site.
I was very impressed by the new factory site and it was great to having the chance to see at first hand the investment being made in Allett Mowers. I was particularly impressed by their new battery powered C34 Evolution Electic Professional cylinder mower with interchangeable cartridge and turf maintenance system.
The latest Lithium Ion system battery technology drives the future of mowing systems for sports stadiums, training grounds and prestige lawns. The system has the power to run a series of interchangeable cartridges to scarify, rake, aerate, brush and verti-cut as well as mow with strong striping and an impeccable cut. Quiet operation, no petrol requirement, less than one hour to recharge batteries and much reduced HAV’s (Hand Arm Vibration) add up to a more environmentally sensitive product with no emissions.
These are all benefits which will be particularly recognised in use in enclosed stadiums. The 80V system is powerful enough to deliver the performance required, even for such a large mower, and drive the cartridges for year-round professional multiple task turf maintenance.
The company have a number of these mowers on trial working at various professional stadiums and to date they are proving to be very reliable and efficient and offering added benefits in noise reduction and hand and arm vibration while at the same time retaining the cutting quality of a cylinder bladed mower.
Austin was keen to point out that the drive to change from combustion powered machinery to electric is now very much the mindset of many manufacturers to help reduce carbon emissions and bring to the table much cleaner solutions to our industry.
No doubt we will also see a rise in use of robotic mower technologies and solutions, with more and more professional groundsmen looking at bringing this technology into their work place. However, I personally would not like to see this as an excuse for reducing staff costs but as a means to enable the staff to be more efficient in other aspects of their work load.
These robotic mowers are defiantly getting smarter and more efficient and can offer more mower solutions than ever before.
I am sure it won’t be long before we have robotic aerators, lighting rigs or even sand spreaders coming to the market place in the coming years to aide and help the groundsman and his staff.
This time of the year is also good for getting on with general repairs, alterations and any drainage work. For most golf courses this is a busy period. Clearing ditches and ponds, tree pruning and enhancing the course with new paths and course furniture.
And finally around now is a great time to get your machinery serviced and repaired ready for the new grass cutting season - or if budgets allow, buying some new machinery. We have plenty of choice with many superb professional dealers up and down the country, ready to serve your needs.