Turf Science Live highlights innovation

Innovation and the practical application of research-based science will be the key to satisfying sports players' ever increasing demands for better quality playing surfaces, a seminar heard last week.

Current tough economic constraints further increase the challenge for greenkeepers and turf managers to find and adopt effective new techniques.

Turf Science Live, held at De Vere Carden Park in Cheshire last week (3-4 July 2012), provided a practical, hands on, insight into some of the latest technologies and pioneering future developments in sports turf.  Organised by Everris, Jacobsen and Syngenta, the event focussed on exploiting the potential of integrating all facets of turf management to enhance plant health and create more sustainable playing surfaces.

Introducing the event, Syngenta turf and landscape manager Simon Elsworth said: "Turf Science Live brings together three like-minded companies, where investment in research and development is integral to the creation of effective and efficient new products, along with the knowledge to put them into practice."

Elsworth highlighted that the partnership approach would be crucial in enabling turf mangers to make more effective use of all resources, including fertilizers, water, labour and equipment. "The challenge for turf mangers is to get more from less – to improve the playing experience whilst being more efficient with all inputs, and at the same time reducing the impact on the environment.   

"It’s an exciting prospect where the pooled expertise, experience and investment of leading businesses working together can be targeted to solve turf management issues more efficiently. Already it is starting to come to fruition, and will be a route that is expected to deliver greater benefits in the future," he added.    

One of the prime themes across seven stations demonstrating some of the latest innovations and research was the aim to alleviate stress on turf; through ensuring appropriate nutrition designed to match growth curves through the season, to water conservation and wetting agent technology that can aide root development and plant health and utilising new equipment developments more effectively to improve consistency and playability.

Michael Fance of Everris reported that collaborating some of the company’s research efforts with Syngenta had already paid dividends for greenkeepers this summer, with proven new recommendations to enhance Anthracnose control. "Anthracnose has become increasingly more prevalent and difficult to control. Through a joint research programme at STRI, we were able to establish that Greenmaster Liquid was the most effective fertilizer tested to quickly alleviate nutrient stress and reduce the impact of disease.

"Furthermore, Banner Maxx was identified as the best fungicide tested to prevent damage. Building on that knowledge, further trials have established the optimum programme and timing for the two products that greenkeepers can now fully utilise. Working together we have seen synergistic results with the two products in tank-mix that exceed the performance of either used individually."

David Timms of Jacobsen highlighted that whilst the company’s new Eclipse mowers have the potential to deliver more consistent putting surfaces - by pre-setting the frequency of cut which then automatically remains constant no matter what speed the mower is travelling - it remains absolutely essential that mowers are sharp and set up correctly, to achieve a clean cut. "That will not only produce a smoother surface, but reduces stress on turf from daily cutting and minimises the risk of disease infection entering the leaf." Further research involving Everris and Syngenta products on the Jacobsen golf course at its factory in Suffolk aims to further aide understanding of the interactions, and provide better practical guidance.     

"No one element of turf management can work in isolation; it all needs to work together to deliver the optimum results for playing surface quality," said Mr Timms. "Pooling the knowledge and skills will help to provide practical information quicker and more effectively. Events such as Turf Science Live give turf managers the ideal opportunity to see the techniques in action, and how they can implement them on their own turf."

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