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June 2020

World Environmental Day

Today (5th June 2020) is World Environmental Day – Great to see golf once again coming together to highlight some of the positive work done by golf courses all over the World to foster nature

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APG Newsletter

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Phosphorus for turfgrass – the SUSPHOS project

Popular Scientific Articles – STERF, April 2020 – Click link to view article

 

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New GDD Calculator aids more accurate decision making

A new Syngenta GreenCast Growing Degree Day calculator is set to provide turf managers with a more accurate tool to help make better decisions on timing for Primo Maxx II applications and other actions.

The GreenCast GDD Calculator will automatically generate a predictive email notification when a user defined Growing Degree Day (GDD) target is approaching – in time for greenkeepers to assess local conditions and to decide what actions to take.

Commenting on the live launch of the GDD Calculator on GreenCast this week (11 May 2020), Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby, said: “We know that GDD can be a useful guide to many turf management actions.

“However, from my own and other greenkeepers’ experience, the challenge in a busy working schedule is finding the time to regularly record the temperature information and the reliability of that weather data source.

“The GDD Calculator does that all autonomously, and provides easy to interpret information in time to use for every day decision making.”

Advancing GDD to a new level, the GreenCast calculator utilises immense data processing capability to compute figures from hourly temperatures throughout the 24-hour period, compared to a simplistic daily high and low temperature conventionally used in GDD calculation.

“That better reflects the duration of growing conditions through the day, for a more accurate assessment of how turf will actually perform,” advised Glenn.

Evaluation compared to conventional GDD calculation has highlighted it is more responsive to assess onset of true growing conditions, particularly through early spring, and as growth declines in the autumn.

Users can set their own target GDD figure, or multiple targets if GDD is being used to aid decisions on different aspects of turf management, such as Primo Maxx II intervals, fertiliser programmes or pest risks, for example.

Glenn highlights Growing Degree Days have been shown to be an extremely useful guide for timing of turf management decisions. But he cautions that much of the research and many of the models have been based on US trials, under different conditions and with different grass species seen in the UK.

“The Syngenta GDD Calculator gives far greater flexibility to be able to utilise and interpret a wide range of information resources. But they do all need to be validated against an individual course’s specific conditions to see how they can be applied.

Uniquely, the Syngenta calculator allows users to adjust the base temperature used in calculations. Whilst a normal base for the UK is 6°C, which reflects the onset of consistent turf growth, Glenn suggests, many US models work from a base of 10°C – which generates hugely different cumulative GDD figures.

“It is crucial to understand how recommendations have been calculated and the information on which they are based, and then use the GDD Calculator to interpret how that will work on your course,” he advocated.

Whilst a GDD of 150 may be appropriate for Primo Maxx II intervals on one specific course, for example, he points out another course with a different management style, turf species or soil types, may find they get better results by repeating applications at a GDD of 140.

The GDD calculator is now being used at STRI in Yorkshire, as part of a new initiative assessing Primo Maxx II applications and intervals to aid turf management under lower intensity lockdown management.

“For the first time, there will be scientifically assessed GDD data for cool season grasses under UK growing conditions, to enable turf managers to better interpret existing turf growth models for their own individual situations,” added Glenn.

”It is free and easy to use, so would urge anyone to start gathering the data and assess how it correlates to their own decision making process now, to be able to further integrate GDD in the future,”

The Syngenta GDD Calculator is available for all UK turf

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New compact tractors from John Deere

John Deere has announced a number of updates to the company’s comprehensive compact tractor range for 2020, which includes 13 models in six Series from 25 to 66hp.

The main change is prompted by the latest Stage V emissions regulations in Europe, which are designed to limit ultrafine particulate emissions in all engines above 25hp (19kW). Ultrafine particulates are less than 0.1 microns in diameter, which is 700 times smaller than a human hair.

John Deere’s compact tractors rated at 25hp and below – the 1026R and 2026R, which remain unchanged, and the new 3025E – already meet the necessary standards. Other 2R and 3R Series models above 25hp get a new Yanmar 1.6-litre, three-cylinder TNV Series diesel engine that features a high torque reserve, providing plenty of power under heavy loads.

This uses the latest engine technologies to improve fuel economy, control and accuracy, while also reducing environmental impact as well as operating costs. It features a common rail system (CRS) and an electronic control unit (ECU), which continuously monitors engine conditions and adjusts fuel delivery to ensure optimum performance.

The engine’s new after-treatment system consists of a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), similar to that used successfully on John Deere’s larger agricultural tractors. This operates automatically to produce lower levels of exhaust emissions and reduced noise levels, and meets all current requirements for Stage V emission standards.

At the top of the John Deere compact tractor range, the new 4052M and 4052R receive a larger 2.1-litre, four-cylinder engine with DPF. This is the same as the existing engine on the biggest 4066M and 4066R models, which remain unchanged, while several of the smaller 2R and 3R Series tractors are also given new model numbers.

In addition to the new engine, the 3R and 4R Series compact tractors will be equipped with a new eThrottle function integrated into the established eHydro transmission. This feature is designed make the tractor quieter and more comfortable to use, as well as more fuel efficient. With the simple push of a button, engine speed is conveniently linked to the foot pedal position so that engine rpm and tractor speed can both be increased as the pedal is depressed.

The latest 4R Series models can also now be equipped with a StarFire satellite receiver and AutoTrac Universal automatic steering system. This is designed to help operators achieve higher levels of accuracy and input cost savings when working with implements such as amenity turf sprayers, seeders and spreaders.

On selected models, the award-winning Hitch Assist system makes coupling up implements and trailers to the tractor’s rear hitch or three-point linkage quicker, easier and safer. Using this system, external switches mounted on the rear fender allow the operator to move the tractor backwards and forwards at a maximum speed of 12mm/second, and raise or lower the hitch as required.

Other advanced technology features on John Deere compact tractors include LoadMatch, MotionMatch and SpeedMatch operating modes for maximum versatility in a wide range of tractor applications, plus a choice of AutoConnect drive-over rotary mower decks.

Cabbed versions of John Deere’s new range of compact tractors for 2020 can be ordered now from UK & Ireland dealers, while open operator station models will be available from October.

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Now is the time for communication, transparency and building customer loyalty – Mark Wagner, President, Club Car

As golf clubs begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and start the process of rebuilding their businesses, focus should be given to communication, transparency and building customer loyalty, according to Club Car President, Mark Wagner.

Speaking at an important golf industry conference in America, staged virtually due to social distancing and travel restrictions, Mark commented: “The more you can communicate with your members and guests right now, the better. Clubs that are looking to adapt to what’s going on with diversified services, will be those who succeed.”

As a global leader in golf, consumer and utility vehicles and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, Mark highlighted how Club Car’s digital technologies are perfectly positioned to help golf venues that are preparing to reopen.

“I have no doubt Club Car’s connected technology, Visage, for example, will be a major part of the solution to course re-openings, as the operational advantages are substantial,” he said.

“The Visage system can help venues manage self-distancing protocols. It addresses a club’s dilemma as to whether they should call on starters to manage tee-offs, and marshals to patrol the courses to ensure the pace of play. The technology allows venues to monitor and control these from the office or the pro shop, safeguarding employees,” he added.

Visage’s digital food and beverage ordering capabilities can help clubs generate additional revenue by enabling players to submit orders for safe pick up after they have finished their rounds, or after nine holes, avoiding contact in the clubhouse.

Addressing how clubs should approach reopening with members and guests, Mark concluded: “Be as open as possible and forthcoming with information – from roll-out plans to disclosure statements – it will go a long way to mitigate concerns and uneasiness. It is important, during such uncertain times, to make everyone aware of what the reopening and new playing conditions are, and what you have planned to get things back up and running.”

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Air2G2 Proves to be a ‘Game Changer’ at La Grande Mare Golf Club

The Air2G2 GT Air Inject from Campey Turf Care Systems has played a significant role in transforming the greens at the La Grande Mare Golf Club in Guernsey.

When he arrived at his new job two-years ago, course manager, Rick Hamilton, spoke to the members about their main concerns and the quality and playability of the greens was top of the list.

Because the course is built on marshland, the soil is very silty heavy clay, making it a problematic soil profile to produce a healthy root zone. The dense profile was causing the greens to hold moisture in the winter and hardpan in the summer, meaning there was little control of how they performed throughout the year. From his previous experience in Asia, Rick knew the Air2G2 was precisely what was needed to open up the soil profile and bring life back into the greens.

“When I first analysed the greens, I knew we had to take action,” Rick explained. “It was at the point that when we tried to change the holes, we would sometimes snap the blades in the hole cutter because the greens were that hard. The greens are old, they are 25 to 30-year-old push-up greens, so there is no drainage, and the soil type doesn’t help with that.

“For me, the Air2G2 is a game changer. Every now and then over the years, different machines come into the industry, and I would say it is one of those game changing machines. I brought it over on hire from a dealer in Jersey and went out, and I could hardly get the probes to inject at first because the surface was that hard. But I managed to do it with the deep probe and close spacing to really get through into the greens and loosen them up to get water and wetting agent in.

“The first afternoon after we did it, the members came out and played and couldn’t believe there was no disruption to the surface at all, and they were surprised with how clean it was. A few weeks later on we had a bit of rain, and we had a competition and the good golfers couldn’t believe how receptive the greens were with the ball holding.

“The difference in the greens is massive in terms of playability, root development, the health in the root zone and getting the water to penetrate. And in the winter when it’s a bit wetter and softer, it helps to release some of the water and get the greens to drain.”

For Rick, the impact of the Air2G2 was immediate, and after using his own machine for a year, the difference is obvious for everyone who plays La Grande Mare. Because of the course construction and location, there is an extensive aeration programme in place that sees the Air2G2 used regularly along with needle tining, a combination that has made members the happiest they’ve ever been with the greens.

For more information about the Air2G2 or the new Air2 Hand Probe visit www.campeyturfcare.com.

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