Last year, some 8,386 visitors attended the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) in Harrogate. This year, the 25th anniversary of the show, there promises to be even more to attract professionals from the golf course, turf, grounds-maintenance, parks and landscaping industries.
On 21-23 January, Harrogate International Centre will be bustling with the likes of John Deere, Toro and Ransomes Jacobsen joining Kubota, RECO and New Holland as the show fills four halls. BIGGA chief executive officer Jim Croxton says: "We're delighted the exhibition will once again feature four halls. This will allow us to increase the number of exhibitors and attract even more visitors from all corners of the turf-management industry."
From artificial grass, drainage, fertilisers and grounds-care machinery to irrigation, spraying, wetting agents and workwear, BTME promises a wealth of new machinery, products and technologies. BIGGA will also host more than 54 workshops and seminars over five days. Topics are as varied as report writing, risk assessments, renovation and soil-moisture management.
A hot topic this year is versatility. Wiedenmann UK points out that versatility is still trending as the top requisite for machinery purchases so the company's stand (C58) is featuring some of its most efficient and best multitasking machines, including the 4,500-litre capacity Super 600 four-in-one flail mower, collector, sweeper and verticutter.
If you missed IoG Saltex in September, there is another chance to see the latest Dennis and Sisis products at BTME (A5). Under the spotlight are the Sisis Rotorake 600HD pedestrian scarifier and redesigned Sisis TM1000 tractor-mounted scarifier, now with five quick-release interchangeable reels to aid the removal and control of thatch and help reduce standing surface water by improving water infiltration. Another versatile machine is the Dennis FT interchangeable cassette mower with options to fit 11 different heads.
The Imants Rotoknife is recognised as a multipurpose linear disc aerator that will relieve surface compaction, improve aeration, reduce thatch build-up and remove surface water, all in a single pass. Campey Turf Care (B58) is showing a mini version, but at 1.5m wide this little machine is said to "cut it" with the big boys when it comes to speed and performance. Also on display will be the Air2G Injection Aerator.
Also showing versatility is the new EarthWay Flex-Select spreader exhibited by UK distributor DMMP (C50). Designed to save money, time and materials - and offering year-round use - the US-built spreader has interchangeable trays, allowing the spreading of fertiliser, salt or fine seeds and chemicals. DMMP managing director Marcus Palmer says: "It's the latest and most advanced spreader system the UK has ever seen and we know visitors to the stand will not be disappointed."
The most advanced addition to Turfco's WideSpin family, the 1550 top dresser, features on the joint Smithco/Turfco brand stand (M13) - part of an extensive display by Ransomes Jacobsen. With the widest hopper-opening in the industry, this latest precision model has a larger capacity to increase productivity and efficiency.
Along with the Rink DS800 top dresser on the Charterhouse Turf Machinery stand (B48), the new Redexim Speed-Brush can be seen in the UK for the first time. A towable grooming brush that rotates in the opposite direction to that of travel, the brush can sweep sand or top dressing into the sward and also lifts lateral shoots for a even cut.
Making its UK debut on stand M58, a versatile addition to John Deere's grounds-care range is the XUV 855D S4 Gator. Particularly suited for those needing to transport extra people as well as materials, tools and equipment, this utility vehicle (UTV) can be quickly converted to allow extra passengers or extra cargo space by folding the rear bench seat up or down.
Combining off-road performance, work capability and comfort, the S4 model has the same cargo box, towing and payload capacities as the new XUV 825i and is powered by the same 22hp three-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel engine as the XUV 855D Gator. Top speed is 32mph. Power steering is standard.
The booming UTV market is one that Kubota (A16) has taken full advantage of over the past 12 months. BTME visitors can see the popular RTV900 and its new breed of petrol-driven UTVs, including the RTV500, which boasts a range of modern features such as an electronic fuel-injection system. Alongside are some of Kubota's compact tractors, a selection of ride-on and walk-behind mowers and the F3680 out-front.
Environmental matters also come to the fore at BTME. After an absence of 10 years, Etesia returns (A53) to showcase its environmentally friendly professional products, including an electric ride-on mower, the ETMower robot mower and Pellenc's lithium-ion battery-powered chainsaws, pole saws, hedge trimmers, blowers, brushcutters and pruning shears.
New for 2014 is the Pellenc Excelion 2000 cow-handle brushcutter. As with other Pellenc products, this uses the ultra high-capacity technology of the Pellenc lithium battery and guarantees non-polluting, odourless operation with quick start-up and up to 4.5 hours of continuous operation.
Celebrating the news that DLF Group seed has been chosen for all World Cup stadiums and training pitches for Brazil 2014, DLF Johnsons Sports Seed brings a Brazilian feel to stand A10 where it will share details of a competition to win tickets to this summer's tournament.
Johnsons' new "4turf" cultivar used in the mixture has been trialled at the Sports Turf Research Institute and tested in Brazil by international advisers and local specialists.
It is a new turf type of tetraploid perennial ryegrass, having a double set of chromosomes, bred for improved stress tolerance. It establishes quickly and produces a plant with a strong root system, excellent disease resistance and drought tolerance, and a lower input requirement. The product will be available from spring. Johnsons also plans to launch a high-performance slender creeping red fescue, Beudin, at BTME.
With so many facilities trying to balance the beauty of trees with the requirement of turf for light, British Seed Houses, recently renamed Germinal Seed GB, is launching a new mixture on stand A45. Called Supreme Tees, the mix contains a new variety, Poa supine 'Supreme', which is described as shade tolerant and exceptionally headwearing.
Turf nutrition, health and management products feature strongly at this year's exhibition. On stand C30, Headland Amenity will demonstrate how TriCure AD, a multi-molecular soil surfactant, works to prevent and control hydrophobic soil conditions while maintaining optimum soil-water management. The company is also introducing C-Complex 5-2-10 to enrich soil, encourage microflora and provide consistent release throughout the cool season.
BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition
Where: Harrogate International Centre, King's Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 5LA.
When: The show runs from Tuesday 21 to Thursday 23 January. It opens at 9am on all three days, closing at 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday and at 4pm on Thursday. The education programme runs from Sunday 19 to Thursday 23 January.
Admission: Entry to the exhibition is free. Charges apply for the workshops and some seminars.
Other highlights: manufacturers reveal show display details
The Wiedenmann stand will feature its recently introduced Core Recyler, the firm's best-selling 1.8m aerator and the Terra Clean 160 artificial pitch sweeper/collector.
New for 2014, the range of Etesia DuoCut pedestrian mowers offers 46cm and 53cm cutting widths, along with inserts to allow cutting/collecting, cutting/dropping or mulching.
Passionate about growing quality turf for sports stadiums, golf courses, architects, landscapers and wholesalers, first-time exhibitor County Turf is sharing a stand with Mansfield Sand.
Highspeed Group is focusing on the ClearWater wash pad system. It qualifies for 100 per cent first-year capital allowances under the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme.
Visitors are invited to set a "hot lap" on the Top Gear track as the Stig Driving Challenge returns to the Complete Weed Control stand.
A first for John Deere is the X905 commercial rear discharge/rear collect diesel lawn tractor - a 24hp model with 122cm or 137cm rotary deck and 550-litre or 670-litre collector.
As well as highlighting the Multivator and Laser Grader, BLEC is introducing a new tractor-mounted golf greens disc overseeder with 2.5cm spacing and a new two-wheel tractor.
Taking centre stage on the Jacobsen stand (M11) is the new Jacobsen AR722T wide area contour rotary mower with seven 56cm cutting decks giving an overall 3.15m cut.
Online shopping for tines is promoted by The Grass Group, but the company also attends BTME to introduce a 26in big brother to the ATT INFiNiSystems family.