The grounds care and turf sectors reached new heights last week as dozens of innovative products were launched at the Institute of Groundsmanship's new-look Saltex show.
GPS looks set to transform pitch marking as two companies harness the technology to eliminate the use of pegs and strings. Vitax launched the Swozi line-marking system, which uses GPS to direct the marker in order to follow a pre-loaded template for the sport required.
Combining GPS with its Integrated Paint Technology, Rigby Taylor introduced the world's first automatic robot for the precision sports pitch marking. The Intelligent One uses the Impact five-litre Eco-Gabs and follows customised pitch plans.
With budgets remaining under pressure, the new Toro LT-F3000 front-facing triple appealed to councils and landscape contractors looking for increased productivity, efficiency and economy. Distributed in the UK by Lely, the mower is designed to tackle challenging environments from open spaces to verges, and provides competition for the Ransomes Meteor launched back in 2013.
"Offering a completely new cutting concept to triple mowing, this machine gives users a chance to cut longer, wetter and coarser grasses in one sweep to make real savings by mowing less often," said Lely's national sales manager Jeff Anguige.
Using the same operator platform as its MP493 and MP653 wide-area rotary mowers, Ransomes introduced new models in the series with cylinder cutting units instead of rotary decks. They replace the Ransomes Commander, first launched in 1993.
Gaining credibility in the commercial market, a spate of battery powered machines and tools targeted at professional users made their first appearance at the show. Overton UK introduced lithium-ion electric commercial zero-turn riding, walk-behind and stand-on mowers. Although still to be CE-marked, the Mean Green Mowers boast low running costs, low noise and no fumes.
Additions made to the Bosch Professional lithium-ion range of kit include a mobile power unit, hedge cutters, leaf blowers, mowers and brushcutters plus a longer-life 36V 9.0Ah weatherproof battery, while Husqvarna launched a new battery backpack blower.
Amenity managers welcomed the addition of an amenity vegetation recommendation to the Chikara label. With active ingredient flazasulfuron, Chikara is already established as a key product for residual total weed-control management, but the new addition to the label enables grounds maintenance organisations to deliver effective and long-lasting weed control to shrub beds.
"There has not been an effective product for use in shrub beds for a few years now due to regulatory constraints, which prohibited the use of many older products in the amenity sector. Chikara/Katana aim to fill the void left by the loss of these products," confirmed Peter Ingram, senior technical adviser for agrochemical manufacturer Belchim Crop Protection.
The same label recommendation is expected shortly for Katana. Both products will be available via Rigby Taylor, Nomix and Sheriff Amenity.