Superb IOG show last week
by TurfPro Editor, Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR
Laurence Gale MSC, MBPR

SALTEX 2019 was a very eventful two days for me last week, catching up with colleagues, industry professionals and more importantly the manufactures and exhibitors who year on year pay for the privilege to attend this annual event.


Always a busy two days for all who attend and exhibit, the event includes the prestigious annual IOG Industry Grounds Awards - which this year culminated in both Keith Kent, former head groundsman at RFU Twickenham and Chris Wood England and Wales Cricket Board pitch inspector, industry icons both, receiving lifetime achievement awards for their dedicated service to the turf grass industry.


TurfPro owner Duncan Murray-Clarke, editor Laurence Gale, and ex-Twickenham head groundsman Keith Kent


A full list of the winners can be seen at the end of my blog.

As for the show itself, without doubt a busy two days with over 300 exhibitors showing an array of machinery, products and services. There was a busy atmosphere within the halls, with plenty of footfall between the peak hours of 10am -2pm on both days.


Most people I spoke to were happy with the visitor numbers to their stands and spoke of good business being done. Innovation and the ongoing development of both battery and robotic products where definitely on the increase with many companies now embracing these new products.



Dennis Mowers launched a complete new range of battery powered E- Series Mowers that took three years to come to fruition, utilising patented lithium ion phosphate cells that contain no liquids. Providing a 48 volt high energy system they have the ability to be recharged over 2000 times.


The range includes the ES-860, a 34 inch (860mm) battery powered turf maintenance system which builds on the considerable reputation of the Dennis G860 cassette mower. Also on show was the ES-34 dedicated 34inch (860mm) cylinder mower, a ES-36 36 inch (910mm) cylinder mower and finally the ES -34R rotary mower.


No doubt in the coming years we will also see the development and bringing to market of their popular FT range of cassette mowers.



Richard Campey from Campey Turfcare was also pleased with the interest they received in their new Alltrec 4810T Tool Carrier - a versatile and all-electric machine that can operate several different attachments, which can be used to cut grass, control weeds, sweep paths and cut hedges.


There has been considerable interest from a number of local authorities who are now looking to drop the use of diesel or petrol engines in the coming years and are looking at more suitable ways of powering their maintenance fleets.


Whilst walking around the show I manged to meet up with many fellow practitioners and colleagues who always support the show, these included the likes of Ian Smith St Albans School; Vic Domain, Durham CCC; Keith Kent, ex RFU groundsman; Alex Vickers, IOG; Chris Woods, ECB; Andy Wood and staff of Enville GC; Wayne Lumbard, Wolves HG; Ed Mowe, Leicester Tigers HG; and Keith Porter. Leigh Sports Village.



I met up with Wayne Lumbard on the Mark Harrod stand where he explained he had just purchased a set of their revolutionary DEVOSHIFT Multi Directional Portable goal systems. It’s described as a patented 360 ball wheeled goal post system, that takes the hard work out of moving goal posts and reduces the risk of injury and damaged to playing surfaces. A very clever and simple innovation that will no doubt be a popular replacement for many of the existing goal systems currently being sold.


Wayne had been trailing these posts for several months and was extremely pleased with their performance, saying it been one of the best new products he has seen come to market in the last ten years and that it would make their job much easier.


There also seems to be a plethora of robotic mowers coming to market with many manufacturers now selling a range of these autonomous wonders. More and more people are becoming more tolerant and aware of their potential in the workplace.



I was also particularly interested in the new wash down facilities a company called Bio Circle were exhibiting at the show. Bio Circle GT Maxi is a water-based parts washer, using their CB 100 liquid cleaners reducing the need of copious amounts of water to clean machinery parts and machines.



I also took the opportunity to conduct a number of on the hoof interviews with many of our turf industry leading practitioners, movers and shakers, giving me a fascinating response to some of my industry-related questions.


TurfPro at Saltex: TRILO


TurfPro at Saltex 2019: Mark Harrod Ltd


We'll have more videos up to watch of the interviews I conducted at the show over the coming weeks.




The IOG Awards which took place on the evening of the first day of the show, were a sell-out event, hosted by BBC TV presenter Dan Walker.

The awards recognised leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement across every aspect of groundscare – from grassroots pitches to professional stadia.


The prestigious awards ceremony also celebrated the quality standards of groundscare achieved in public and private sports venues, and highlighted the progress of young/student grounds professionals as well as entrants’ environmental considerations.



The winners of the 2019 IOG Industry Awards were:

IOG Toro Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year
Callum Allsop, Leicester City FC


IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Grounds Person of the Year
Nick Pepper, Gloucestershire CCC


IOG Volunteer Sports Grounds Team/Individual of the Year

Andy Cambridge, Foxton FC, Cambridgeshire


IOG National Governing Bodies’ Community Sector Sports Club Grounds Team/Individual of the Year
Harborough Town FC, Leicestershire

The National Governing Bodies of sport (NGBs) award is co-sponsored by the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club), ECB (the England and Wales Cricket Board), The FA (Football Association), the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), the Premier League, the RFL (Rugby Football League), RFU (Rugby Football Union) and Sport England


IOG AMS Robotics Public Sector Sports Grounds Team of the Year

Prestige Grounds Ltd, Wiltshire


IOG Bowling Grounds Team/Individual of the Year
Polly Bowls Club, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire


IOG SCH Supplies Best Managed Artificial Sports Surface of the Year
University of Warwick

IOG Ransomes Environmental/Ecology Project of the Year
City Football Academy, Manchester


IOG Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year
Sussex CCC


IOG CubCadet INFINICUT Professional Tennis Courts Grounds Team of the Year
Devonshire Park, Eastbourne


IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year
Warwick Racecourse

IOG Professional Rugby Football League Grounds Team of the Year
Castleford Tigers RLFC, West Yorkshire


IOG Compo Expert Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team of the Year
Northampton Saints RFC


IOG Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year
(English Leagues 1 & 2, National League, National League North/South, Scottish Championship & Leagues 1 & 2, Ireland & Wales Professional Leagues)

Swindon Town FC


IOG SGL Professional Football Grounds Team or the Year (Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League)
Tottenham Hotspur FC

IOG Redexim Charterhouse/Kubota University/College Grounds Team of the Year
Nottingham University


IOG Growth Products Independent School Grounds Team of the Year
Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh


IOG SISGrass International Award
Dean Gilasbey, ProPitch

IOG Ransomes/DLF Johnsons Alex R Millar Groundsperson Awardchosen from the outstanding winner across all award categories
Danny Negus, Devonshire Park, Eastbourne


IOG GrassMaster Solutions Outstanding Achievement Awards
Keith Kent, former head groundsman at RFU Twickenham and Chris Wood England and Wales Cricket Board pitch inspector.



Commenting, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, said, “We’ve enjoyed a glorious year of professional sport, especially a summer of outstanding cricket, and this has highlighted the crucial role played by high-class playing surfaces - and, therefore, also our superb groundscare skills.


“Our awards, however, also acknowledge the unstinting work of the army of volunteers who maintain grassroots pitches up and down the country, often on very limited budgets, to enable players of all abilities and ages to enjoy sport on well-prepared pitches.


“Yet again we have seen how fantastic our profession is, and I applaud everyone and thank them for their efforts in creating playing surfaces that are the envy of the world.”

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