IOG Saltex Review
Groundsman of the Year Presentation
In our Day 2 summary we reported on the speech by guest speaker, Keith Kent, who is renowned for fighting the groundsman's corner even if it means rattling a few cages. Keith spoke about the problems faced by groundsmen and the damage that can be caused by a throw away remark by an "expert" on the TV or radio. In front of the Football Association representatives he asked why referees do not see goalkeepers illegally marking pitches.
He also appealed for people in the industry to work together and not bicker amongst themselves. Keith made particular reference to Pitchcare, in a positive light, but also expressed some reservations on the Message Board and the way "faceless critics can slag off other groundsmen". He accepts that criticism is inevitable ("There is not a groundsman in the world that has not made a mistake. He has not been born yet.") but only if it is given in an honest open manner, with people able to answer back to someone with a name. He asked why should anyone go on the site and write an article on perhaps a mistake or why and how the decision to make that mistake came about, helping every one of us from making the self same mistake, and then be held up for ridicule?
All relevant and to the point comments, which is what we have come to expect from Keith. You cannot say that his heart is not in the right place, he loves his profession and is quite prepared to stand up and be counted. We need more like him.
Some of the more interesting new products on show were:-
Autoguide - Autoroller Junior - a 24 inch diameter, 36 inch wide roller.
Dennis - Simplex G610 - cylinder mower and new handlebar configuration.
Fleet Linemarkers - Beamrider - the world's first accurate laser guided line marker.
Hunter Grinders - Series 5 - precision grinding equipment.
Lindum Turf - Rhizamous Tall Fescue - accredited grower of Barenbrug's new cultivar.
LLoyds of Letchworth - Advanced Operator Presence Control - a touch sensitive grip on the handles of their Paladin mowers.
Pinnacle Power - Eliet Mega Prof - chipper/shredder.
Sherriff Amenity - Lunar and Go Green - a fungicide and a slow release iron with potassium.
SISIS -Auto rotorake Mk 5 - heavy duty powered scarifier and de-thatcher.
Terrain Aeration - Airforce Scamper - their smallest, lightest decompaction machine for use on golf and bowls greens.
Turfmech Machinery - Bigmow robotic mower and Bigmow robotic ball collector.
The Sport and Play Contractors Association
Of particular note to the sports turf industry was the fact that SAPCA have set up a Natural Sports Division. SAPCA has over 200 members and has primarily been regulating the synthetic construction side of the Industry. At SALTEX there was the welcoming news that a new natural sports division has been created.
Jeff Perris, Head of Advisory Services, STRI said that this is a significant and momentous step forward. The hope is that the new division will be able to raise standards of workmanship, sustainable accountability and provide a standard code of practice for all natural sports surface contractors.
SAPCA will continue to promote high standards, regulate the new and existing divisions and develop further training and education.
Probably the hottest Saltex on record with glorious weather on all 3 days. The ice cream sellers and the bars must have done a roaring trade!
Attendance figures on days 1 and 2 were reported to be over the 11,000 (on par with previous years). The final day, Thursday, is normally the quietest day of the show and this year wasn't helped by a clash with the start of the final Ashes Test. There was however a steady stream of visitors initially.
We have all heard the questions raised about the future of Trade shows - the costs, the frequency and the relevance of the exhibits. As far as Saltex is concerned the plus points include the ability to stage in situ demonstrations, a definite advantage for many machine manufacturers, and a broad range of products, from mowers to aluminium boats. On the negative side, there is a lot of ground to be covered to get information and to compare similar products and the use of an outdoor arena for presentations didn't work too well - there were too many surrounding activities and noise.
There is no doubt that Saltex will continue in its present form, the contract for the organisation of the show has been let for some years in advance, and it will have its regular followers. As much as anything it does serve as an annual meeting venue for many people.
But, even that, for some, proved to be too much!!