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July 2018

Making Light Work

New Ryder turf pigment technology from Syngenta offers the chance to instantly enhance the colour and visual appearance of turf, along with exciting properties to protect leaves from the harmful effects of excessive sunlight.

Not all energy emitted by the sun is useful for turf grass growth. In fact, some of this energy can be actually harmful to the plant – effectively causing damaging sunburn to plant cells. Ryder enables plants to manage light more effectively, and to make light work more efficiently for turf.

Launching the new Ryder pigment, Syngenta UK Turf Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby, highlighted greenkeepers’ experiences had demonstrated the instant visual effect to produce a lasting deep, desirable green colour, along with lasting effects to counter damaging light waves.

“Ryder is a highly concentrated and stable green pigment designed for use on managed turf to improve its appearance and to help protect against UV radiation and high light intensities” he said.
“Photosynthetic Active Radiation (PAR), includes all the ‘colours’ of the light spectrum, of which turf plants use blue and red light most efficiently to support growth and development.
“However, plants can only absorb so much light; too much light stresses the plant and can lead to reduced photosynthetic activity (photo-inhibition) and even harmful damage within pant cells.”
Mr Kirby pointed out that cool season grasses typically reach saturation point at light intensities of just 300 to 500 micromoles. However on a summer day, sunlight could reach in excess of 2000 micromoles – bombarding plants with up to four times more light than they can physically use.

In winter, when plants are growing more slowly, the light saturation point could be as low as 100 micromoles, when they are subjected to 1000 micromoles being produced on a bright day.
“Plants that are already stressed, from nutrient or water deficiency or physical damage from mowing, for example, would be more susceptible to increased stress from photo-inhibition,” he added.
“Ryder mimics the plant’s natural pigment defences, when it produce carotenoids, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and cuticle waxes,” he said. “However, with Ryder, you get to control the green colour, compared to leaf purpling of anthocyanins, for example.”

The intensity of colour produced by Ryder can be selected through adjustments to application rate, frequency and integrated fertiliser programmes, he advocated.
“Unlike existing water soluble turf dyes, Ryder is a concentrated 70% pigment, formulated such that, once dry on the leaf, is not washed off by rain or irrigation and is stable in light. It stays in place on the leaf surface, which retains its colour and effects for longer.”

Mr Kirby advised that the instant colour it provides can act as a spray pattern indicator in itself, especially at higher rates or on turf inherently paler at the time of application. For even coverage, he recommended always applying using Syngenta XC Nozzles. STRI trials had shown a water volume of 250 – 500 litres/ha provided effective leaf surface coverage.
Extensive user trials in the UK this spring had demonstrated Ryder could bring an important benefit to all areas of the golf course, along with other sports surfaces, including cricket fields and winter sports pitches.

“Over winter and early spring, the Ryder colour quickly gets turf looking great and ready for play. The enhanced colour of treated turf can increase canopy temperature and initiate spring recovery,” advised Mr Kirby. “Application following renovations’ sand topdressing or over seeding has been shown to instantly recover appearance.”
Over the summer, he advocated Ryder will help provide protection against high light intensities and UV light, and stay looking green where desired. Maintaining programmes through the autumn would retain turf appearance and colour for longer.

Ryder application rates at cutting heights below 12 mm – eg. greens, tees and cricket fields – have typically been at 0.75 to 1.5 l/ha, increasing to 1.0 to 2.0 l/ha on longer fairway turf or sports fields, for example. Users have experimented with application rate and frequency to find a colour intensity most attractive to their own situation.
When used in conjunction with a Primo Maxx II programme, the reduced clippings removal from mowing would increase the longevity of Ryder results during growing periods, added Mr Kirby.
Ryder will be available from ICL and all leading distributors from this summer.

For more information and advice, visit www.greencast.co.uk

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BIGGA presidency honour for Devon course owner and environmentalist

A fifth-generation farmer, who built a successful golf club from scratch, has accepted the role of vice president of the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association.

Colin Webber, 59, established Portmore Golf Park in 1993 and has developed the venue into a vibrant 27-hole facility which, due to his commitment to sustainable greenkeeping, won environmental golf course of the year in 2010.

This week, BIGGA has revealed that Colin has accepted the nomination to become BIGGA Vice President from January 2019, leading to becoming president of the association from January 2020.

Colin and his family established Portmore Golf Park from a 12-bay driving range after various pressures put his family farming business in jeopardy. Over the following years came another 12 bays, a par-3 9-hole Hawtree-designed course, and then finally a further 18 that set Portmore up as a 27-hole venue.

For a time, Colin was the only greenkeeper operating the site, but early on in his career he joined BIGGA and benefitted from the networking and educational opportunities provided by the association.

In 2010, Portmore won Overall Achievement of the Year at the Golf Environment Awards, built upon a commitment to sustainable and organic greenkeeping.

Colin overcame a stroke suffered in 2011 to continue to lead his business and continue to be an active member of BIGGA’s Devon & Cornwall Section and the South West & South Wales Regional Board.

He was first approached about the role just two weeks after the passing of his father, who had helped him build the business from the ground up.

“It’s a huge honour, I keep thinking ‘are you sure you have got the right person?’ I am flattered that BIGGA would consider me for such an important national role. It is huge, I have never been asked to do anything like this, I’m not someone who likes to stand in the limelight.

“I had a phone call from [BIGGA Chief Executive Officer] Jim Croxton saying I had been nominated for the role. Jim didn’t know it, but this was a few weeks after my dad, Frank, had died. It was very emotional time and the one person I wanted to tell was my dad.”

“Over the years I have been fortunate enough to build friendships with so many of the greats of greenkeeping, spending hours with the likes of Billy Mitchell, Jack McMillan, Richard Whyman, George Shiels and Jeff Mills, trying to build up a picture of how things used to be done, looking backward to go forward. I became involved and started volunteering with BIGGA because of the help so many guys had given me, especially the small group of lads who I worked together with to complete our City & Guilds almost 30 years ago. Their help was invaluable in building our business. I said I would repay my debt to the association, and since then I have worked hard to do that.”

As vice president, Colin will support West Derby Head Greenkeeper Chris Sheehan, who will become BIGGA President for a one-year term during BTME 2019, to be held in Harrogate next January, when he succeeds current President Chris Kennedy. Following that year, Colin will become BIGGA president for one year from January 2020.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “Colin’s story is an inspirational one, and one that proves there is little that can’t be achieved with determination and an eagerness to learn.

“The association is delighted that Colin has accepted the nomination to become vice president from January 2019 and I am certain that he will be a fantastic asset, lending his unique experience of the greenkeeping industry to the continued development of BIGGA as we strive to support and serve our members.”

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STERF´s project – From dense swards to biodiverse roughs – Soil fertility management to enhance biodiversity and functionality of golf course roughs

The aim of this project is to establish knowledge on how to use cutting regimes, soil amendments, seed addition and hemiparasitic plants to reduce grass dominance and improve biodiversity on roughs. A field experiment is conducted at Oslo GK and demonstrations at Sigtuna GK, Herning GK from 2017 to 2020, and one demonstration site is run in Germany from 2018 to 2020 by the DEUTSCHER GOLF VERBAND and Technische Universität München.

Local wild flower mixtures will be seeded, and the development of botanical composition and pollinators monitored. The knowledge generated will enable golf clubs to decide how to enhance biodiversity under their particular conditions. Results will be disseminated though field days, two popular articles and a fact sheet, an informational video and a scientific paper.

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