The pressure on finances is continuing for many facility providers and contractors. Amid talk of changing mowing regimes and the need to invest in more versatile equipment, a number of companies are exhibiting potential solutions at this year's BIGGA Turf Management Exhibiton (BTME).
Wiedenmann is concentrating on value and versatility by promoting the "low cost per use" of its machines. With a fleet of 10 Terra Spike deep aerators from which to choose, the company is displaying three of the most popular - GX18 DH, XF and XP models - on stand 45 in Hall C.
"Robust build quality and technically excellent engineering mean our machines are built to last. Our clients know they can easily get 10 years' regular service from a Terra Spike," explains Wiedenmann UK sales manager Chas Ayres. "Over time, regular deep aeration can save a golf course or a local authority a hefty amount of money in turf care maintenance.
"Resolving compaction problems and promoting gaseous exchange far below the surface prevents costly remedial work, course closures and waterlogged pitches. Substantial time savings can therefore be made and staff deployed to other areas."
Also on the Wiedenmann stand is the Super 500. A multi-tasker, the Super 500 can sweep, collect leaves, verticut or mow. "With its high or low dump facility, this machine can perform a myriad of tasks," says Ayres. "Customers are demanding machines that can be used all the time, not lying in a shed."
The Grass Group has come to Harrogate to launch a new mowing solution. Specific details are still under wraps, but managing director Tim Merrell reveals: "The fully floating Infinicut system from Advanced Turf Technology (ATT) is an industry first, offering infinite adjustment of clip rate and featuring a patent-pending floating-head mechanism that has no wear parts and offers a more consistent cut than any other mower."
Merrell is expecting the new mower to make a big impression at the show. "It needs to be seen to be appreciated," he adds. The mower is also fully compatible with ATT's TMSystem, offering a complete range of turf management tools in one unit.
Also making its BTME debut is The Grass Group's new Rotadarion ED 130 TS - another versatile two-in-one renovation machine, offering a dethatcher and spiker with the collection box. With the PTO engaged, the ED is a precise dethatcher capable of working from zero to 60mm deep and provides a fast, clean removal of thatch from the turf. Detach the PTO and the ED becomes a spiking machine for golf greens and sports fields.
The working width of the ED is 1.3m, with 159 knives at 23mm spacing. It has a power requirement of 20-40hp. Merrell says: "Every greenkeeper wants to get more out of his machines. With the powered, variable speed dethatcher, height adjustment to suit greens, tees and fairways and a hydraulically dischargeable hopper, the RotaDairon ED 130 TS is a tool for all of today's golf courses."
Following on from its success in 2010, Dennis comes to Harrogate with a display of its British-manufactured, professional groundcare products. The Razor and Razor Ultra greens mowers both feature a cutting width of 56cm (22in) and have 11-bladed cylinders and an ultra-short wheelbase for manoeuvrability.
Dennis marketing manager Roger Moore says: "We understand that groundsmen and greenkeepers are highly skilled individuals with personal preferences on how they do their jobs. In order to respond to customer feedback, we developed the Razor, which produces the same superb cut as the Razor Ultra but without the need for a tungsten-tipped groomer."
Also expected to draw attention is the Dennis S500 Plus. A simple manufacturing change between the spiker wheel and slotter head means that this two-in-one machine can be used to seed and spike golf greens and tees, cricket squares and bowls greens. Its operating width is 51cm (20in).
Groundsmen needing to mark pitches should be heading for stand A3 to see the "transfer wheel technology for the modern age". Displayed by Vitax, the Supaturf Briteliner Arrow has a longer wheelbase to provide better weight distribution, aid stability and improve accuracy when marking lines or circles on turf. Weighing 8.5kg less than its predecessor, the new unit has a moulded plastic, easy-clean tank and can take sufficient liquid to mark up to three pitches before it needs to be refilled. It also has a built-in marking brush and holder.
Speedy but accurate application of liquid fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides is better for the environment and can also benefit the purse. For different types of application equipment - from push and self-propelled pedestrian models to skids and tractor-mounting units - visit Techneat's stand in Hall C.
Major turf growers and grass seed companies are also attending the exhibition to give expert advice and introduce the latest innovative cultivars and mixtures to the market. Lindum will be bringing the three Rs to Harrogate - Revetting, Reinforced Turf and RTF Turf.
Supplier to the "fabulous bunker boys", who perfected the art of revetting at Doncaster Golf Club, Lindum has now developed a method of harvesting thick turf in strips 290mm wide, as opposed to the usual 600mm that then needs cutting lengthwise down the middle.
British Seed Houses (BSH) is offering authoritative advice not only on seeds but on all aspects of their husbandry, including fertiliser. Every golf course and sports pitch is different, so why not take advantage of BSH's knowledgeable technical sales representatives by requesting a bespoke fertiliser plan for your specific needs?
A fertiliser plan may include one or more of BSH's Vitamixes - a tank mix of three BSH liquid fertilisers with the addition of the company's Kick Wetting Agent. Each Vitamix is tailored to fulfil each customer's specifications, such as preventing disease or preparing for an intensive competition. A Vitamix formulation was used at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The range of BSH's fertilisers is ever-expanding and BTME sees the launch of two new products. The first is Vitanica RZ, an organic-mineral NPK fertiliser with Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain R6-CDX. After establishing itself in the rhizosphere, the BA R6-CDX inhibits the spread of pathogens, leading to an increased vitality of the plant and reduced susceptibility to disease.
The second new product is Vitanica Si. Disease resistance, as well as heat and drought relief, is offered by the high silica content of this product.
There is more on disease prevention at BTME, as Headland Amenity launches a new strategy following important discoveries during trials by the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), where monthly applications of Headland's plant elicitor and hardening products Turfite, Liquid Turf Hardener and Seamac Pro Turf resulted in a dramatic reduction in the incidence of disease. Further enhancements were achieved with low rates of Solufeed NK 15-0-25 soluble fertiliser.
Headland sales director Andy Russell says: "We have always known that individually, such products have a positive effect on disease resistance because of ingredients such as calcium, iron and phosphate. It was only by carrying out the trials at STRI that we learned about the combination effect and its potential for such dramatic reductions in disease levels, when compared to the control plots."
Find out more details about disease prevention at Headland's stand (C25). A reduction in fungicide applications could save you substantial time and money and improve your green credentials at the same time.
WILD ABOUT FLOWERS
Packed with information about bringing biodiversity to golf courses, Golf Guide to Wild Flowers is introduced by first-time exhibitor British Wild Flower Plants.
The guide is written by company owner and managing director Linda Laxton, who has 25 years' experience in growing native species. It details which plants are best grown in which locations as well as offering industry tips.
Although aimed at greenkeepers, the guide is also relevant to groundsmen, parks managers and professional gardeners.
When: The show runs from Tuesday 18 to Thursday 20 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 16 to Thursday 20 January. See www.harrogateweek.org.uk for further details.
Where: Harrogate International Centre, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 5LA.
Admission: Admission to the exhibition is free. Charges apply to workshops and some seminars. Many seminars held during the show are free of charge.
How to get there:
From the north and south on the A1M: exit A59 to Harrogate.
From the M1: to Leeds and then the A61 to Harrogate.
There is parking (charges apply) at Harrogate International Centre. A free park-and-ride service runs from the Great Yorkshire Showground (eastern edge of Harrogate) for all three days of the show.
Main line services run to Leeds and York. From there, regional railways operate to Harrogate. Harrogate International Centre is approximately 15 minutes' walk from Harrogate railway station.
Leeds/Bradford Airport is 19km from Harrogate. Manchester Airport is 90km away.
For product listings, independent buyers guides and reviews of of turf and grounds maintenance machinery, go to www.whatkit.co.uk.