This year's BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) promises to be a bumper event. For starters, it is taking up an extra hall - there will be five halls of exhibitors displaying everything needed for turf maintenance. Whether you are looking for new machinery, want to find out about the latest grass seed varieties, discover solutions to pest and disease problems or would like to see how technology can help you in your work, it is all under one roof in Harrogate.
British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) business development manager Jill Rodham says: "This year there will be five halls, showcasing all manner of new products, innovations and more, and we're very confident it will be a hugely successful show with plenty of business done during the week."
The exhibition throws open its doors on Tuesday 19 January, but workshops and seminars start on Sunday 17 January, with a packed Continue to Learn programme providing in excess of 240 hours of education and training. Much of the programme requires pre-booking, but more than 40 hours of seminars are free to attend. Having travelled from the USA, headline speaker Elizabeth Guertal, turf grass professional at Auburn University, is attending the Turf Managers Conference in Harrogate's historic Royal Hall on Monday 18 January. BIGGA head of member development Sami Strutt confirms: "We are again aiming to put on first-class education for more than 3,000 delegates at the Continue to Learn programme. Early figures show we are more than 50 per cent up on booking from this time last year."
As well as accommodating exhibitors, the additional Hall Q is expected to house the two-day UK Golf Business & Industry Convention (GolfBIC), presented by the Golf Course Owners Association and the Organisation of Golf & Range Operators on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 January.
"The excitement is now palpable as BTME 2016 approaches and the continued evolution of the show is evident as we prepare to welcome not only thousands of delegates and exhibitors but also GolfBIC for the first time," says BIGGA chief executive officer Jim Croxton. "This will attract even more key figures and decision-makers from golf clubs. The stage is set for a memorable week at our flagship event."
Wednesday evening is also the date for the announcement of finalists in the Sports Turf Research Institute's 2016 Golf Environment Awards. But what if golf is not your scene? Well, this year there are also educational sessions on cricket and rugby, plus a debate on natural versus synthetic turf, with the inaugural Groundsman Conference, hosted in association with the Institute of Groundsmanship on Tuesday 19 January.
In the exhibition halls
You can expect big names and newcomers to this year's BTME. In the machinery department, Campey Turf Care is showcasing equipment for renovating and maintaining natural turf sports pitches, including the renowned Koro by Imants Field TopMaker (FTM) with Universe and Terraplane Rotors and a new range of blades called Universe Finesse, which are said to take fraise mowing to a new level.
"We have developed a new blade that will essentially let you 'Universe Finesse mow' as part of your regular maintenance programme for turf health and hygiene," explains director Richard Campey. "The blades can be fitted to the Universe Rotor in a variety of configurations to allow the groundsman or greenkeeper to use the Koro FTM for different working practices from surface verti-cutting to deep linear aeration/scarification down to 25mm deep, while maintaining single-pass surface hygiene."
The Universe Rotor was recently granted British patents for its actions. Also on the Campey stand is a new top dresser. The Dakota 310 is a compact and manoeuvrable dual spinner pedestrian top dresser that can spread up to 6m wide, with infinitely variable adjustments via the handlebar-mounted controls.
Combining higher-capacity mowing with premium cut quality and after-cut appearance, John Deere's new 9009A TerrainCut rough mower makes its UK debut at BTME. Five independent 27in (686mm) rotary mower decks give this unit an overall cutting width of 9ft (2.7m). Power is supplied by a 55hp, direct injection, four-cylinder diesel engine, which uses integrated cooled exhaust gas recirculation and automatic particulate filtration to ensure that emissions meet Stage IIIb regulations.
Consistent cut quality and climbing performance are provided by LoadMatch transmission settings, while the mower's TechControl system delivers control for operation, maintenance and diagnostics. Mowing and transport speeds can be set by pressing a button and turning speed can be slowed down to a percentage of the mowing speed when the cutting units are lifted after a pass.
"With the new 9009A TerrainCut, our widest model yet, you can now maximise both productivity and cut quality from a wide-area mower while having more control over how the machine performs in the rough," says John Deere turf division manager Chris Meacock.
Core and debris collection is made easy with a new machine exhibited by Charterhouse Turf Machinery. The Redexim Core Collector 1200SP is a 1.2m pedestrian machine with hydrostatic drive. Windrow boards at the front of the unit move the cores into a line, from where a stainless steel blade scoops them up for conveyor transfer to the 0.3cu m hopper.
On the Charterhouse stand you can also expect to see the Redexim pedestrian Carrier and Verti-Drain 1513, plus the Contour Sand Injector by Graden. Contractors are also exhibiting at BTME, including specialist sports turf contractor Duncan Ross. Ross's main focus is to look at customers' goals and then exceed their expectations. The company has extensive and expert knowledge of sports turf, environment and conservation. Recent works include drainage on the greens at Wolstanton and Worsley Golf Clubs.
Announcing a new contracting service, Complete Weed Control will be attending the show with Complete Grounds Maintenance, as well as the existing Complete Ice Control service - something that may prove useful in Harrogate in January. The new grounds maintenance arm of the business is expected to be welcomed by customers looking for just one supplier for all their grounds maintenance requirements.
BTME is also the place to visit if you want to see the latest in water and soil management products. A new soil penetrant, Terafirm, formulated to improve the downward movement of water through the soil and so help to achieve a firmer playing surface, is being introduced by Headland Amenity Products. Terafirm works by reducing the surface tension of water, minimising lateral water movement and facilitating drainage. It also acts to speed surface drying and open up pore space within the soil during dry down by accelerating natural soil contraction.
Also on Headland's stand is C-Complex Sport 14-2-5+MgO outfield fertiliser. Designed for use on coarse turf areas such as pitches, fairways, racecourses and general amenity areas, this homogenous, regular granule is said to break down easily while providing good growth even at low soil temperatures. Just like the successful C-Complex fine turf range, C-Complex Sports is formulated using Naturvigor, a combination of aerobically-composted cow manure and high levels of humic acid.
A newcomer to BTME, Aqua-Aid Europe is announcing the opening of its UK distribution network for 2016. It offers high-end solutions for turf specialists, including a full line of surfactants and wetting agents for the sports turf industry, as well as representing well-known brands such as OARS HS/PS, VerdeCal, Turfscreen and WormPower.
Compo Expert attends the show to launch a new 'complete' liquid fertiliser for use on greens, tees and pitches. The product, Basfoliar Turf Complete SL, has an NPK of 9-4-6 plus trace elements and has been formulated to give rapid soil penetration and uptake by the plant.
The big news from DLF/Johnsons Sports Seed is the introduction of ProNitro - the latest seed technology development aimed at delivering better-quality results for greenkeepers and groundsmen alike. ProNitro will see the launch of a number of JNitro mixtures, with the promise of even faster germination and establishment, faster leaf and root growth and, ultimately, improved value.
DLF/Johnsons Sports Seed is also unveiling a new cultivar - Nigella, a slender creeping red fescue - and expects to announce a number of new mixture formulations across the Masterline and Johnsons ranges.
Whatever type of turf you tend, do not leave the exhibition without picking up a copy of Limagrain's new MM brochure. It details the company's grass seed mixtures for sports and amenity professionals and also offers valuable technical advice, including information on mixture composition and calculating qualities, as well as a sowing rate conversion chart.
British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) Turf Management Exhibition
When: 19-21 January - education programme: 17-21 January
Where: Harrogate International Centre, King's Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 5LA
Admission: Free - charges apply to workshops and some seminars
Tel: 01347 833800
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