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Turf Science Lite Continues to Inspire

ICL and Syngenta recently held a series of Turf Science Lite events, which took place at Aston Villa FC’s stadium Villa Park, Slaley Hall Golf Club in Northumberland and Liverpool FC’s Academy facility in Kirkby.
The series, which showcases the latest research information and technological innovations in turf agronomy, attracted over 200 delegates including turf managers, groundsmen, agronomists, greenkeepers and course managers.
Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby, kick-started each event with an insightful presentation entitled Life After Propiconazole – an outlook on future disease management strategies. Within his presentation Glenn explained that good practice of integrated turf management techniques to promote turf health is going to become ever more important with the loss of important fungicide actives. He also revealed that there are exciting new fungicide options in the UK registration system, and that the company’s £1.4bn annual investment in R&D will continue to create new innovations.
“The loss of propiconazole is undoubtedly a serious concern for maintaining turf quality,” warned Glenn. “Adopting new turf technologies alongside fungicide programmes, such as Ryder pigment, Qualibra wetting agent and the potential for bio-stimulants will be key. Furthermore, pioneering innovations, such as sensor technology, predictive modelling and application, does offer a positive future for turf management.”
Dr Andy Owen, ICL’s International Technical Manager, was next to take to the stage to present The Devil is in the Detail in which he talked about controlled release fertilisers (CRF) and the technology which goes into developing each product. Andy focussed on how to select a CRF in a crowded marketplace and the questions that could be asked about products; for example, what is the % coated material in the bag? How are the claimed longevities calculated? Also featured in the presentation was the Pearl technology found within two new SierrablenPlus products and how these can be best used to support sports turf renovation and establishment.
Following a complimentary lunch, Daniel Lightfoot, Syngenta’s UK and Ireland Business Manager, gave an informative presentation on the Art of Application, explaining how best to get the active ingredient where you want it. According to Daniel, this includes understanding the product being applied, where you want it to end up and then fine tuning the variables of nozzle selection, water volume and sprayer set-up to deliver to the right place at the right time. Daniel also demonstrated how too little water volume may not achieve sufficient coverage, while too much could over wet leaves and run off. “The sprayer operators’ role is vital to balance all these factors to optimise results,” he added.
Henry Bechelet, ICL Technical Manager for UK & Ireland and Simon Taylor, ICL Product and Business Development Manager for Turfgrass seeds, were next to provide top tips on how to Improve your Grass Seed Knowledge in which they discussed various topics regarding seed breeding, selection and management. The audience were asked to select from a list of 10 seed topics and then Simon and Henry thrashed out the issues in an entertaining and forthright fashion to get to the nub of each issue.
Commenting at the event which took place at Liverpool FC’s Academy facility, Tony Sinclair, Manchester United FC Grounds Manager, said: “I came along today and realised just how important these days are in terms of upgrading your education and learning new things. One thing about the industry we work in is that everything changes so quickly and every day is a new day so it is important to keep up with everything that is going on. There is no question that as things continue to move forward ICL will be a part of that – they are a massive player in educating people around the country.”
Scott Reeves, Course Manager at Leyland Golf Club, added: “We are at an interesting point within the industry regarding the use of chemicals and there seems to be a lot hearsay and misinformation around. Therefore it is worthwhile coming to an event such as this to get an update and find out exactly where we are.”
Dr Christian Spring STRI, Research Operations Manager, said: “Today we have been looking at the practical demonstrations and they have been really fascinating because they have focussed on how to get the best out of the products we use and how to get optimum efficiency when we are applying wetting agents, fungicides, liquid nutrition and granular nutrition. It has been incredibly beneficial because it is all about getting the best bang for your buck and looking in details at all the stages we need to focus on in order to get the best possible results.”


Dennis PRO 34R tops the wish-list at Warwick

Duncan Toon, Grounds Manager for Warwick Independent Schools Foundation, says that when he heard rumours about the new Dennis PRO 34R rotary mower, he added it to his wish-list straight away.
Warwick School, Warwick Junior School, King’s High School and Warwick Preparatory School are justly proud of their sporting success, including national awards, and the ability to provide all its pupils the opportunity to play their chosen sport. Essential to their achievements are high quality and well-maintained sports pitches. Therefore, the Foundation has recently made additional investments in its grounds in a bid to ensure the very finest sporting facilities.
After joining the Foundation from Birmingham City FC nine months ago, Duncan’s first port of call was to acquire a new fleet of machinery which would help him to maintain the sports surfaces to the highest standards. It was while he was researching an extensive list of equipment that he first caught wind of the news Dennis was bringing out a new product.
“I had heard rumours about this new machine which was set to be a game changer and Dennis was always on my wish-list because I know they manufacture reliable machinery. I arranged a demonstration as soon as I could and based on what I saw I knew I just had to have one. I was amazed with how well built it was – it was robust and the finish was fantastic.”
As Duncan says, the rumours started to mount after the PRO 34R was first introduced to the industry at SALTEX 2017 with the sole purpose of gathering feedback from potential end users. Over the course of the next twelve months, the mower was refined and developed based on the input from the groundsmen who would eventually be using it. With no stone left unturned, the all new PRO 34R was unveiled at SALTEX 2018.
The Dennis PRO 34R is a 34” (860mm) rotary mower which has been designed to help groundsmen achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance and desired playing surface. It is ideal for sports pitches and lawns producing the enviable ‘Dennis Stripes’ while a powerful vacuum flow collects debris quickly and efficiently.
The angle of the cutting deck and twin blades can be easily adjusted using a single ‘click adjuster’ ensuring the mower is suitable for changing conditions and meeting groundsmen’s requirements.
“The best feature about the PRO 34R is the presentation and the incredibly fast clean-ups. We use it to clean the pitch up after rugby matches and also after training sessions and the brush on the front is a big bonus as it enables you to really get into the sward.
“You’re achieving two key maintenance tasks with it – you are cleaning up all the debris and you are also getting that amazing finish. I’m really impressed with it.
“It is also incredibly simple to use, especially if you have previously used a Dennis G860 cylinder mower. The handlebars are similar and it is just like riding a bike – you never forget.
“In fact, I’m seriously considering ordering more because of the speed of the clean-ups. We just haven’t got the staffing levels to use our other rotary mowers but because the PRO 34R’s are so much bigger, it would enable us to get the task done in no time at all.”
Based on the success of his PRO 34R, Duncan did indeed order more and is now the proud owner of four Dennis PRO 34R rotary mowers.


New Charterhouse double delivers versatility for Beedles Lakes Golf Club

A Rink DS800 from Charterhouse Turf Machinery is helping to make light work of topdressing the 27 greens of Leicestershire’s Beedles Lakes Golf Club. This, together with a Verti-Drain® 7316 are the latest tools in the armoury of Head Greenkeeper Sam Shuttlewood, who is delighted with the versatility he now has at his disposal for the tasks of topdressing and course-wide aeration.
Time is of the essence for Sam and his team of six, with an 18-hole parkland course and 9-hole par 3 to maintain, along with a 16-bay driving range and 32-acre fishing lake. “Topdressing was one of those tasks we wanted to carry out more frequently, but the drop dresser we had would only cover a small area per pass meaning that we would have to go over each green 10 or 15 times to get adequate coverage. Not only that, but it would fit on the back of one of our Gator’s which meant we would have to unmount our sprayer from the back each time we wanted to go out – all of this made it a time-consuming task.”
The Rink DS800, in trailed form, immediately impressed Sam on his demonstration with local dealer Platts Harris. “The beauty of the Rink was that you simply hitched it on the tractor, plugged in the hydraulics and you were on your way. It was quick and easy to set-up and, unlike a lot of machinery these days, didn’t feature an unnecessary amount of technology needed to complete the task at hand!”
“Another reason we went for the Rink was the fact it is a disc-spreader which will enable us to conduct more frequent light dressings and, thanks to it’s impressive spreading width, we can cover a whole green in two or three passes.” Toward the smaller end of the Rink Disc Spreader range, the DS800 has a 0.8m3 hopper and is highly adjustable, offering a spreading width of up to 12m and a thickness of up to 15mm. It is available in both a trailed or mounted option.
With the Rink bringing new flexibility to topdressing, Sam’s other purchase made in May 2019 was a Verti-Drain® 7316. “This will be a true multi-purpose aerator that we can use on greens, tees, approaches and fairways thanks to the range of tine options available.” He concluded, “On the day of the demonstrations the decision was easy – we saw two machines, we loved two machines, so we bought two machines!”

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