Collaboration between Harper Adams University and Maxwell Amenity.

John Handleyin Technical

The amenity market is increasingly facing legislative challenges to historical turf management practices leaving end users seeking reputable and tested solutions.

Maxwell Amenity are delighted to announce a collaboration with Harper Adams University to provide independent understanding and set new standards in objectivity and excellence.

Harper Adams University has a proud tradition of education since 1901 and research trials were in operation by 1912. They have continued to grow and develop as a leading institute in Britain specialising in agriculture. Modern farming practices have become increasingly technical and Harper Adams University has consistently taken a lead in developing courses and projects to meet the demands that the 21st Century places upon contemporary agricultural systems.

The Crop and Environment Research Centre (CERC) is a self-sufficient, independent trials company at the very heart of the trial work undertaken at Harper Adams University. The research centre provides the facilities and expertise that fuels the research carried out by academic staff in the crop and environment disciplines. Research carried out by staff includes:

  • Crop protection (including forecasting, diagnostics, biocontrol, novel forms of control and the implications for food and environmental safety)
  • Sustainable production of food and non-food crops
  • Efficient use of water by plants
  • The impact of production systems on biodiversity

Maxwell Amenity is a Shropshire based fast-growing, dynamic company, with major brands within sports turf, amenity horticulture and landscaping industries. It has grown considerably from its origins in 1988 to become the largest independent company operating within this sector. Since its inception, Maxwell Amenity has been supplying products and services to the amenity sector, both as a distributor and manufacturer. Since 2005, it has been publishing the most respected industry magazine, the Pitchcare Magazine, instigating and documenting change that has been significant and rapid. Maxwell Amenity currently employs over eighty staff.

Technology and scientific understanding are principles that are being utilised to meet the unprecedented challenges facing the amenity sector and Maxwell Amenity have recognised the need to take a lead, particularly during demanding times. A wave of product withdrawals and amendments, impacting herbicide, fungicide and insecticide control options, has reduced the variety of tools that have ordinarily been used to manage sports surfaces to a professional standard.

Maxwell Amenity recognise that these changes will require more research and greater customer knowledge. As more products have become unavailable, alternative products have been finding their way into the amenity marketplace, some making bold claims with little evidence. Maxwell Amenity recognises the need to cultivate customer confidence in the products they develop and, therefore, it was keen to develop a partnership with Harper Adams University and CERC.

Working closely with Principal Lecturer Dr John Reade and Trials Manager Dr Grace Milburn, Maxwell Amenity Senior Technical Manager James Grundy and Technical Manager John Handley were keen to stress the rigour and independence that Harper Adams University were able to provide, something that both Technical Managers felt would be of significant benefit to the amenity sector.

John Handley commented; "Many customers are quite sceptical of the existing relationships that are prevalent within this sector and we were acutely aware that we wanted to demonstrate the hard work that goes into deciding what products we want to develop, the ethical considerations that provides us with the confidence to know that these products will be available for a long time as well as clearly demonstrating that they are effective."

"Some of the technologies we're developing haven't been used in the sports turf sector, so it's incumbent on us, as a manufacturer, to prove that these tools work. We're delighted to be working with Harper Adams University to set standards that demonstrate the integrity and excellence for which Maxwell Amenity is increasingly renowned".