Last week, I was invited to attend the ever popular Turf Science Live; a joint sponsored event put together by Everris, Jacobsen and Syngenta. Turf Science Live is a practical hands-on opportunity for practising Groundsmen and Greenkeepers to interact with leading specialists in many aspects of turf management, and find out how the techniques can be used to benefit their turf playing surfaces.
This year's Midlands event was held at De Vere Carden Park in Cheshire, with over 100 attendees representing a variety of sports clubs and organisations.
Simon Elsworth of Syngenta gave a welcoming speech, and talked of the challenges facing turf professionals in the future, in terms of having to manage in a more sustainable way, whilst embracing the ever changing turf management technologies now being developed to help produce better playing surfaces.
The delegates were split into seven groups, with each group spending twenty five minutes at each work station.
Station 1 - Turf Application on Target - Tom Robinson and Rod Burke.
Station 2 - Wetting Agent Technology Unravelled - Dr David Stock and Dr Simon Watson, Syngenta
A presentation on Qualibra, an exciting new development in water conservation and wetting agent technology. With it's dual action, Qualibra quickly moves water away from the surface and retains moisture deeper and more evenly in the root zone.
Station 3 - Where did my Nutrients go? - Stuart Staples and Colman Warde, Everris
Selecting the correct nutritional programme can help create a healthier turf which is more resilient to stress, whilst at the same time saving money and being kinder to the environment. Stuart and Colman gave a practical demonstration of how nutrients become available to the plant under various environmental conditions, and how this information can be used to select the ideal fertiliser for your turf.
Station 4 - Innovation in NPK - Ed Carter, Everris and Neil Rowley, Cleveland Potash
As turf managers come under increasing pressure to produce higher quality surfaces, whilst at the same time reducing costs and environmental impact, this presentation explained some of the processes involved in producing today's most technically advanced turf fertilisers, and how innovation in fertiliser production can bring real benefits to turf managers.
The talk by Neil Rowley from Cleveland Potash was particularly interesting, explaing about the investment and lengths mining companies go to sourcing valuable fertiliser products. I should know, because I was lucky enough to go down the potash mine myself last year. See link Cleveland Potash
Station 5 - True Measure of Reliability - Matt Le Brun, Jacobsen
As turf managers try to meet golfers' ever-increasing demand for smoother, truer putting surfaces, this presentation demonstrated how using latest developments in lightweight rollers can have an immediate impact on putting greens. Using a stimpmetre, the demonstration proved that up to a foot of speed can be achieved after an additional roll with a turf iron.
Station 6 - Clip Rate Masterclass - Antony Alexander, Jacobsen
A consistent playing surface is one of the key factors by which golfers judge the quality of your turf. This presentation highlighted how mower performance can help you achieve the best possible playability, consistency and presentation of golf greens. Antony discussed the relationship between clip rate, height of cut and mower set-up, and how these all work together to influence putting surfaces. Course managers may be surprised at how much influence clip rate has on the finish standard of their golf course. Using the Ransomes Eclispe 322 he was able to demonstrate the difference in clip rate.
Station 7 - Integration in Action - An integrated turf management approach to improve plant health and reduce disease - Simon Barnaby, Consultant
Disease attack has increased significantly in recent years, and anthracnose is one of the most difficult to control. Recent trials have revealed an integrated new approach of fertiliser and fungicide applications, which provide the best solution for maintaining good plant health.
Simon Barnaby explained how the latest fungicides had been designed to improve their effectiveness in terms of their mode of action, droplet size and method of application. He also spoke about the importance of improving the quality of cut of the leaf blade. Research has shown that grass plants are more susceptible to disease attack if using mowers which are not properly adjusted and set.
The day was broken up by an excellent lunch in the club house, allowing many of the delegates to carrying on networking. All in all, it was a very informative day and well presented.
In an Industry such as ours, It always important to keep abreast of the latest developments. We live in an ever changing working environment, especially when the weather dictates what can be achieved in a small window of opportunity. Using the latest technologies and practices are essential aides to managing and producing high level sports turf facilities. Understanding the science is a key component of this work.
Long may these learning days continue. My thanks go to all the organisers, and I look forward to the next series of Science Live .
Everris Limited www.everris.co.uk
Ransomes Jacobsen www.ransomesjacobsen.com
Syngenta Turf and Landscape www.greencast.co.uk