Premier League football club Wolverhampton Wanderers has put specialist grass seed breeder Barenbrug's upcoming sports mixtures through their paces in an intense wear trial conducted on the West Midland club's training grids.
As a long-standing Barenbrug customer, the club's head groundsman, Wayne Lumbard,
already relies on products such as perennial ryegrass blend BAR 7 - a football favourite - for his stadium and training pitches, plus has successfully used rapid turf repair mixture BAR 50 SOS on his training pitches to achieve fast coverage in the cooler months.
But Wayne is also a firm believer in the importance of putting new and innovative products to the test, and so was more than willing to help Barenbrug trial a number of new sports mixtures being developed as part of the company's breeding programme.
"We like to trial lots of different things here at Wolves," he explains, "from grass seed to chemicals and fertiliser. I'm all for trialling anything and everything as I'm intrigued by new technology and think it's important to see how good these things are for myself."
Seven Barenbrug mixtures were sown within a 10sq m grid inside the club's rehab area, which totals 40sq m. This relatively small area is reserved for training players recovering from injury and is hence subject to concentrated wear similar to that around goal areas. First sown in May 2009, the aim of the trial is to see how these upcoming mixtures would withstand such intense wear - in particular, smooth-stalked meadowgrass mixtures, which aren't normally used in sports applications.
As Barenbrug area manager Matthew Williams reveals: "This ongoing trial is vital in helping us assess the importance of mixture synergy in wear tolerance and recovery, both during and after wear. The mixtures sown range from 100 percent perennial ryegrass to new faster-establishing smooth-stalked meadowgrass blends for faster recovery during intense wear sessions. Smooth-stalked meadowgrass isn't really used on sports surfaces, so we wanted to see if it would stay in the ground and how it would perform."
One year into the trial, Matthew says that the results are encouraging. "The smooth-stalked meadowgrass mixtures established just as quickly and strongly as the perennial ryegrass mixtures, which is unusual, plus the meadowgrass has coped very well with the intense wear. You'd normally expect the perennial ryegrass to outperform these mixtures, so the results so far are very positive."
Wayne is equally enthused by the trial results. "After the severe winter we lost some cover to the snow and frost, with the coaches then using just the healthier areas for rehab so they really were subject to a great deal of concentrated wear. But the Barenbrug grid recovered really well and the trial as a whole turned out very well."
In fact, Wayne is so impressed with the results that he's recently embarked on a new BAR GT Sport trial. Sown earlier this summer around the training pitch peripheries, the trial area will be regularly treated with weedkiller to assess BAR GT Sport's performance in Wolves' climactic conditions before Wayne hopes to sow this revolutionary glyphosate tolerant mixture on the pitch itself in order to beat Poa annua ingression for good.
For further details of Barenbrug's sports mixtures call 01359 272000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, visit www.barenbrug.co.uk.