See the light at BTME with Syngenta

Mark Sandersonin General Interest

Syngenta will be giving turf managers the chance to win a professional PAR light meter every day at BTME 2019 - to scientifically measure useable light reaching their surfaces, and to manage turf more effectively.

To enter, turf managers simply need to register on the Syngenta stand - Purple Hall, 428 - pick up a Ryder brochure and follow @syngentaturfuk on Twitter to find out the lucky winner on each day of the event.

Furthermore, all turf managers can now benefit from a new GreenCast weather service showing forecast light intensity levels for the coming five days, displayed as light intensity in µmol per m² per second, for their specific site.

Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby, advocated that understanding the levels of light are hitting the surface, where and when during the day, is extremely important in making decisions to make light work more efficiently using Ryder applications.

"Only a relatively small spectrum of sunlight can be physiologically absorbed and utilised by turf plants - the PAR light," he pointed out. "Light waves at either end of the spectrum can be potentially damaging to plant tissue.

"Furthermore, the amount of PAR light reaching open turf surfaces can be far in excess of the plants' ability to photosynthesise and turn it into energy," he advised.

"This over saturation of light can induce stress within the plant, particularly when it occurs in combination with other stress factors, such as moisture, nutrient deficiency or temperature extremes, for example."

Glenn warned that the short leaves of tight mown turf surfaces offer limited buffer for stress effects and makes plants more susceptible to other issues, including Anthracnose outbreaks that have been increasingly prevalent in recent seasons.

"Managing light levels impacting on plants is now recognised as a crucial part of an Integrated Turf Management programme," he advocated. "Ryder turf pigment has shown to enhance the naturalistic green colour of turf surfaces throughout the season, and also offers the chance to manage and mitigate against harmful levels of light affecting plants."

The sun radiates a broad spectrum of light, typically measured from 300-1100 nanometers (nm). But it is only the Photosynthetically Active Radiation - from 400 to 700 nm - that is of real benefit for plants, according to Glenn.

"Now we can start measuring the amount of PAR light getting to the plant we can begin to gauge what's happening in the plant and monitor it's impact, The light intensity measured by the Field Scout shows how intense the PAR light can be.

"Turf plants' ability to photosynthesise plateaus at around 400 µmol per m² per second; but light levels during the summer in the UK can easily hit 2000 µmol per m² per second. Once you begin to understand good levels of light and excessive light, you will begin to understand and adjust your maintenance programs to cope with this little understood stress," he advised.

To help turf managers get a more accurate picture of light levels on their turf, Syngenta will be giving away a Field Scout Quantum Meter, worth over £200, on each day of the BTME event, organised by BIGGA and held in Harrogate from 22 - 24 January 2019.

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