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Turf Clippings SPRING 2013



WELCOME TO THE SPRING edition Welcome to the spring edition of Turf Clippings

in Christchurch, with visits to several New

2013. What a busy winter it has been, although it

Zealand international airports to view this

is hard to tell if this is due to an extended busy

innovative Avanex® Unique Endophyte

period from the drought condensed ‘shorter’

Technology turf-grass on site.

Otago Polytechnic top year two student award


Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary Greens


Hamilton Golf’s Browntop Heaven


consolidate as New Zealand moves out of

Conference Season


recession. Everyone seems more buoyant and

Introducing our new turf team member Avanex® Accredited Consultant’s Course Walmsley’s Word

autumn or just that things are continuing to

there are certainly some projects on the go 6

this spring.

As reported in the last Turf Clippings, the 2012/13 year was a year where we emptied out the sheds and whilst we have good fresh inventories going forward, it is true to report that international seed shortages are seeing prices

Our busy period has been compounded by the 7

multitude of conferences that occur over the


winter period, including the bi-annual New Zealand Turf Conference in Hamilton, the New Zealand Race Managers Association Conference in Christchurch, the Holiday Parks conference in Masterton and various other smaller conferences. Each of these conferences involve an enormous amount of organisation and our

rise across the board. I hope you enjoy some good articles in this edition, including experiences by Nigel Lloyd at Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary Greens, a great story from Hamilton Golf Club and an introduction to the latest PGG Wrightson Turf employee, Bevan Houghton, who’s joined the sales team in Auckland.

decision to support them fully with sponsorship

Best of luck for the spring and summer seasons

and good staff attendance is a further sign of our

ahead; let’s hope last year’s severe drought is not

commitment to the New Zealand Turf Industry.

repeated this season.

We view these forums as a key opportunity to

George Tothill Sales and Marketing Manager

grow the technical abilities of our staff and meeting socially with customers at such conferences is always a highlight. It is pleasing to see that we were rewarded for our efforts in winning the best trade display in two of these national conferences. PGG Wrightson Turf have been involved in other educational events which further outlines our commitment to research and the development of our staff and customers. In this edition you will see that PGG Wrightson Turf recently hosted a large group of international and domestic guests at the Avanex® “Accredited Consultants Course”

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The NZGCSA Environment Award proudly supported by PGG Wrightson Turf Following the NZGCSA 2012 Environmental Award (won by Rick McRay and the Arrowtown Golf Club) the NZGCSA along with PGG Wrightson Turf reviewed the entire award and made subtle but substantial changes. It is now a biennial award which has resulted in an increase of prize money, and the Course Superintendent (who often is left in charge of submitting the application form) also gets a portion of the prize money. Changing the award had a direct impact, with double the applications received, all of which were of high quality! Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown

PGG Wrightson Turf would like to congratulate Blair Dibley and his team at the Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown in winning the 2013 NZGCSA Environment Award. In winning the award Millbrook Resort receives $3500 with $1500 going to the Course Superintendent Blair Dibley to encourage further environmental stewardship. In the last 5 years Blair and his team worked on managing an environmental plan, key elements of which included: • Construction of a new wash-down and a fully bunded and roofed chemical facility, resulting in all the water and runoff slopes draining into a grass and chip basket which is emptied into a compost area on a weekly basis • Introduced browntop and fescue which encourages low inputs of nutrients with phosphates not being used. Nutrient totals are recorded each year • The addition of plastic and glass recycling daily management procedures where all oil drums are collected and taken away to be reused at factories • Introduction of EM1 technology by experimenting with seaweed and fish

products while using locally produced compost which is high in humic acids • Buffered areas close to waterways which reduces mowing practice (clippings) and fertiliser applications • Incorporating plant growth regulators together with purchasing electric greens mowers which have eliminated the amount of times the greens need to be mown. This further reduces the risk of hydraulic oil spillage or breakages

• To ensure Millbrook golf course does not have an adverse impact on the surrounding habitat; Millbrook resort has tested the water entering and leaving their property since 2009 with great results showing the water quality is generally better leaving the property PGG Wrightson Turf would like to congratulate the other finalists and we encourage you all to apply again in 2015.

• Millbrook is a member of the Audubon International society, which means wildlife species are recorded, as are numbers and locations. Managing these species and habitats are essential so no spraying of any type is undertaken and machinery is kept away from those areas. All natural predators are eliminated with traps while rabbits and wild cats are controlled •

Implementing a public walking track

• Chipping around tussock beds to retain moisture and eliminate the need to spray weeds

Blair Dibley at the Turf Conference dinner


Hamish Buckingham



After finishing the two year qualification at Otago Polytechnic in 2011 I received the PGG Wrightson Turf Scholarship for Top Second Year Student at Otago Polytechnic which enabled me to attend the 2013 NZ Turf Conference in Hamilton. I need to thank Gary Smith for the way the Otago Polytechnic course was run with the interaction of the classroom and the training block; the indoor outdoor flow helped us learn as we went. I spent the 2010-11 summer at the Wanaka Golf Club furthering my experience on a golf course, this was a great 6 months in which, through the help of Grant Bunting and Ross Niles, I learned a lot about the running of a golf

course. I’m currently working at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club and am totally enjoying the experience on the sandbelt. Working at the Presidents Cup and the Women’s Open were both great experiences and something that I will never forget. Melbourne is a great spot so I have decided to further my studies through the Diploma in Sports Turf Management. Finally thank you to PGG Wrightson Turf for enabling me to attend the NZ Turf Conference. Article by Hamish Buckingham Royal Melbourne Golf Club

WAIRAKEI Golf + Sanctuary Greens some attention to manage fairy ring (basidiomycetes) and associated thatch collapse.

Over summer the team at Taupo’s Wairakei Golf

To overcome the problems on their greens, they experimented with spray applications in combination with overhead irrigation drenching, which gained some control; however the primary challenge of the project was around placing the correct fungicide product at the fungi they needed to target i.e. under the surface, while still dealing with severe drought temperatures. Following tests, they found that the best solution was to utilise Toro Hydroject to inject the fungicide.

and Sanctuary noticed that the greens needed

Throughout, they found that applying Instrata®

Nigel Loyd, Course Manager

alone was not as effective without the addition of Tournament Ready. The wetting agent held the moisture within the target area and effectively allowed time to for the fungicide to spread laterally. This combination of products worked better than expected. A positive result was achieved in the end, with the unsightly rings and the associated thatch collapse not reappearing and this resulted in the return of smooth putting surfaces. The combination of Instrata® with Tournament Ready also delivered a reduced need for the application of water and very little thatch collapse occurred, even when temperatures were in the low 30’s..


Hamilton (St Andrews) Golf Club

WHERE: Hamilton WHAT: Greens conversion to PGG Wrighston Turf New Zealand Browntop WHEN: 2008 to ongoing WHY: To become a sustainable golf course with predominant Browntop Greens Hamilton Golf Club are a success story in converting Poa annua greens to what are now greens with an average of over 90% browntop including PGG Wrightsons New Zealand bred browntops. Back in 2008 Gavin Cornish and Jeremy Dowle were pioneers and started a concentrated attack on Poa annua in the greens. With the help of their turf advisor Julian Holden from PGG Wrightson Turf, a full review was done of what they wanted to achieve and the journey started. The first step was to reduce nitrogen levels and create a targeted renovation package. After tweaking over a couple of seasons Gavin and Jeremy settled on the Andersons 45% MUtech 31-0-10 and the RegenR8 renovation amendment. Both Gavin and Jeremy have said how impressed they have been with the performance of both these products. The quick recovery and colour has been great. Members wanted to have the greens back in action quickly and these products have certainly done what they promised. Prior to every renovation Gavin, Jeremy and Julian sit down to do a review of progress. Gavin stated that “over the years we have been able to reduce the inputs as the Egmont browntop has increased, which is a great success”. They also use

Right, Julian Holden and left, Jeremy Dowle

the high quality Amgrow products of Sulphate of Ammonia, Ferrous Sulphate and Potassium Sulphate from PGG Wrightson Turf. “Seeding was a critical area to focus on” said Gavin. Both Gavin and Jeremy looked at all the research data around breeding and performance, they were also keen to support the New Zealand seed industry on that basis, Egmont browntop was the first and only choice for this conversion programme. They have worked very closely with Julian on the surrounds seed blend, which is a mix of New Zealand browntop and fescues. Gavin and Jeremy have both said they have seen a huge improvement in the quality and percentage of cover. Gavin and Jeremy commented on how happy they were with Julian’s help through the process, that he listened to what they wanted to achieve and genuinely took an interest. His product

knowledge combined with their qualified skills has delivered proven results. Gavin and Jeremy have also implemented a fungicide programme that was developed and tailored for them by Julian. “This has had results as well” said Gavin. It is based on research and around putting the right active ingredient with fungicides at the right time to help manage a particular disease which is critical to the success they have had. It is particularly important over the high temperature and humidity of summer. Gavin has been working with Julian at PGG Wrightson Turf for 5 years and the products recommended have certainly proved to be very beneficial to the success at the Hamilton Golf Club.

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CONFERENCE SEASON The PGG Wrightson Turf team have been very busy around New Zealand in the past few months attending conferences and have hopefully caught up with most of you along the way. PGG Wrightson Turf attended the National Turf Conference, the Race Course Managers Conference and also the Holiday Park Conference which was a new one for PGG Wrightson Turf.

Holiday Park Conference, Copthorne Hotel, Masterton, 2ND-3rd August Joe Johnson and Matt Kidby headed to Masterton to represent PGG Wrightson Turf at the Holiday Park Conference, a first time attending for PGG Wrightson Turf and we will be back! Overall it was a very enjoyable event and provided an opportunity to introduce PGG Wrightson Turf to this group and further understand the holiday park industry. PGG Wrightson Turf were happy to donate a bag of Andersons lawn food and an Andersons jumper along with a fertiliser spreader for an auction to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Trust, all of which raised $550. A competition consisted of camp ground owners voting for the best trade stand and this was won by PGG Wrightson Turf, something both Matt and Joe were very proud of! A great attraction of the stall was the floor consisting of actual turf from Westpac Trust Stadium, in Wellington The Holiday Park Conference dinner, themed ‘American” was an event to remember, with Matt and Joe dressed up as Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird.

Joe Johnson and Matt Kidby at the Holiday Park Conference, receiving the best trade stand award

National Turf Conference, Claudelands Event Centre, Hamilton 17th-19th June The National Turf Conference was a great success for delegates and trade sponsors. 400 plus delegates from all over New Zealand attended and were treated to quality presenters from around the world. Our ‘old seed shed’ display was aiming to portray and remind our clients that we are a company that has been breeding seed and selling quality products for years. On the flipside of this, we had a stall to promote a new innovative product called Avanex® Unique Endophyte Technology grass and a hydro-seeded truck.

Avanex® Stand at the Conference

PGG Wrightson Turf hoped you stopped by to receive a Foxton Fizz, a miniature cricket bat and some great advice about some of our new products.



PGG Wrightson Turf Team at the Conference

DIY HYDRO-SEED A TRUCK Rob Jenkins, Turfmate described PGG Wrightson Turf’s ute as, “perhaps the most extravagant item at this year’s trade show”. Karen Crake, PGG Wrightson Turf Sales Representative (Waikato/Taranaki Region) embarked on the journey of hydro-seeding the ‘farm truck’ for the New Zealand Turf Conference and Trade Show 2013. The idea stemmed from wanting to create interest on our trade stand, demonstrate that hydro-seeding can grow almost anywhere and provide something unique for people to ‘talk’ about. Hydro-seeding the truck proved to be a very challenging and fun project. The search for a second-hand flat deck truck became impossible, therefore Karen asked her husband Greg if the farm truck would be a possibility for this ambitious project and after a little persuasion he agreed! The project began 6 weeks out from the conference. The truck was kindly transported to Hamilton Events Centre on the back of Greg’s Hynds Pipe Systems work truck. Following ideas from the team, Karen proceeded to cover the ute in double sided tape, all 66 metres of it. Then a bitumen cloth was secured to the cab and deck and then was wrapped in 20 metres of chicken netting (this was a challenging task as it had to be sown together with wire) to enable the turf to stay on the truck before it was hydro-seeded. Keeping in mind the weight of the grass and materials, it needed to be securely fastened. Then at last it was ready to be hydro-seeded. Mike Glasson from Lawn & Turf Contracting

kindly assisted with the project using Flexterra, which is described as a “spray on hydro blanket” product designed for critical slopes. Flexterra contains superior tackifiers which means it binds directly to the soil or ‘truck’ upon application. Also in the hydro-seeding tank was Andersons 32-3-10 fertiliser and the seed was Colosseum turf ryegrass. After the hydro-seed process the truck was watered every few days to ensure the mulch remained wet while awaiting germination. In the weeks prior to the conference, the grass was liquid fed with True Foliar CPR to maintain

plant health. With the help of some brilliant sign writing (from Paul Walters at Identity Signs in Christchurch) it looked pretty good in the end. It was satisfying to see the end result and receive such positive feedback from conference attendees. The truck could have done with a few more weeks growth and sunshine, however overall it was a great project that got people talking. A congratulations needs to go out to Karen for all her hard work and also to Greg for letting us use the farm truck and we hope all the grass is almost off.

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conference season continued

Racecourse Managers Conference, Riccarton Race Course, Christchurch 24th-26th June The annual New Zealand Racecourse Managers Conference was held in Christchurch between the 24th-26th June 2013. This event has had glowing feedback from attendees as it represents a chance to get the majority of racecourse managers together to discuss industry issues and future developments in racing.

Chris Allen, Racecourse Managers President said the best things about the racecourse conference was “meeting and catching up with all trade sponsors, learning about new products available, getting the support of fellow managers/trade delegates and talking with each other about issues we face during the year”.

The major challenges of this event involve, getting all the racecourse managers together in one place at the same time, however with smaller clubs unfortunately not having a budget to send managers and with racing all year round, someone has to stay home to run the course.

The conference has a dedicated team of guys that love being proactive in keeping this group together. Each year the conference improves and ensures everyone goes home with more knowledge and support than the previous year. The conference relies on good support from

trade sponsors like PGG Wrightson Turf to keep costs down. PGG Wrightson Turf also hosted delegates at our Kimihia Research Centre for an afternoon. This included presentations, a fake auction and a tour of the trial plots. “Without this conference we wouldn’t be able to interact and get the support of fellow managers and trade as it’s a very lonely and isolated job. We need to keep supporting each other in a very opinionated industry”, Chris Allen, Racecourse Managers President.

Introducing our new turf team member Bevan Houghton, Regional Manager, Auckland spending time with my wife Karen and our 18 month old daughter Ava, as well as catching up with friends • How long have you been in the turf industry and where have you worked prior to PGG Wrightson Turf? 17 years, recently at Akarana Golf Club, Kerikeri Golf Club and Remuera Golf Club to name a few

We are happy to announce the appointment of Bevan Houghton to the role of Regional Manager, Auckland. (Bevan comes into the role as Craig Johnston has moved to Parkland products). • Describe yourself in three words. Honest, hardworking and passionate • Hobbies: Golf, reading and rugby • What is your favourite food? A BBQ on a nice hot day • What do you like to do in the weekends? Play golf when I can (not often now) and



• Career highlight so far? It’s hard to name just one: I have been lucky enough to travel to America, Canada and Australia and have made some great friends along the way. Although so far, a career highlight would have to be attending the 2013 GCSAA Show in San Diego • What do you enjoy about working for PGG Wrightson Turf? The guys that I work with and the friendships you make with the people you call on • What PGG Wrightson Turf product appeals to you the most and why? OARS, I trialed this product last year and had great results, I was able to cut down on my water quantity and hand watering which was a time saver and

helped with a firmer, faster surface • Weirdest thing you have seen at work? A 3 week old greens mower upside in a creek looked quite strange • What is your funniest moment at work? This is a hard one, however seeing a guy’s electric trundler drive into a 4m deep pond with keys and phone was rather funny • What is your favourite New Zealand sports venue? Golf course would be Kauri Cliffs and stadium would be Eden Park • What sports have you played? Golf, rugby, league, tennis, and hockey although I was the goalie (I’m not sure why) • What your favourite sports team that you follow? The All Blacks, they are consistently the best team in the world • Last words… I am looking forward to meeting as many people as I can in my new role with PGG Wrightson Turf, and good luck to you all with the upcoming season

Avanex® Accredited consultant’s course Avanex® Unique Endophyte Technology Accredited Consultants Course PGG Wrightson Turf, along with AgResearch and Grasslanz Technology Ltd, hosted a large group of international and domestic guests on what was known as the “Accredited Consultants Course” for Avanex® Unique Endophyte Technology grasses. This was held between the 18th-21st of March 2013. The aim of the course was to provide in-depth training on Avanex® Unique Endophyte Technology turfgrass, its efficacy, its mode of action and establishment at airports. As part of the training course a code of practice for safe and effective grass establishment at airports was presented. This course was directed at turf consultants and influential people from the aviation sector and was designed to educate them on Avanex® grasses and unique endophyte technologies. Attendees travelled from China, France, the UK, Australia, USA, Canada and parts of New Zealand,

along with internal PGG Wrightson staff from New Zealand, Australia, South America and China. The training programme involved two days of mostly indoor presentations at the Lawrence Room, AgResearch, Lincoln. There were afternoon field trips to AgResearch trial areas, Kimihia Research Centre and to Christchurch International Airport. This was followed by a study tour of Hamilton and Auckland Airport grass areas. At Wellington they were given a presentation on the process of working airside at an airport by an airport company representative and a contractor. This was followed by visits to sportsgrounds in Wellington and Hamilton. The speakers at the indoor seminar came from: AgResearch (3), Grasslanz (2), PGG Wrightson (5), NZSTI (1), Christchurch International Airport (1) as well as two of our invited aviation wildlife experts from UK and Australia.

PGG Wrightson Turf has a proven top performing variety “Colosseum” Turf Ryegrass inoculated with the Avanex® Unique Endophyte Technology. This top performing cultivar has the added benefit of increased insect deterrence along with deterrence against grazing birds and some mammals. The Basin Reserve, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Lakes Leisure Centre and Hagley Oval are some of the notable grounds utilising this leading edge technology. This accredited consultants course has created a great awareness of Avanex® grasses and allowed attendees from around the world to be educated on the benefits and establishment techniques on these unique grasses. Many opportunities have arisen from this event and staff from PGG Wrightson Turf now have the challenge of making these opportunities a reality!

FORSYTH BARR STADIUM – AVANEX®COLOSSEUM TESTIMONIAL Here at Forsyth Barr Stadium we are in a very unique grass growing situation. With the high demand of play, along with low natural sunlight levels, we require a grass species that suits our unique environment. We rely on a continuous oversowing programme particularly through the winter months. Avanex® Colosseum’s fast

germination means I can have grass germinating within days of it being sown, which is highly important with back to back events week after week. Avanex® Colosseum’s resistance to wear and recovery from any sort of play whether it be rugby, football or concerts provides confidence

that the stadium can have 100% grass cover all year round. The added benefit of utilising Avanex® Unique Endophyte Technology means that the stadium no longer has to solely rely on the use of potentially harmful insecticides. Troy Jordan Head Turf Manager, Forsyth Barr Stadium

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WALMSLEY’S WORD Herbicide resistance is a real problem We are all familiar with the problem of diseases building up a resistance to systemic fungicides. Repeated use of the same active ingredient eventually leads to Bill Walmsley Turf Agronomist resistant strains that build PGG Wrightson Turf up in numbers and eventually the fungicide no longer works. We have not had to confront the possibility of this outcome with herbicides before, but it is a real issue in agriculture and is likely to be a growing one in turf. The first case of herbicide resistance I can recall in turf was many years ago. The herbicide ‘Faneron’ was used on Onehunga weed (Soliva sessilis) in lawns. There were reports of resistance developing to repeated applications. The process of weeds developing resistance occurs with repeated applications of the same active ingredient or different active ingredients with the same mode of action. Repeatedly using products with the same mode of action will eventually lead to selection for resistant types, and eventually the numbers of resistant weeds will build up to the extent that the herbicide no longer provides acceptable control. In reality for most weeds, even repeated applications of the same herbicide do not result in developing resistance. These weeds have not genetically mutated after many years and remain susceptible. It’s just that certain troublesome weeds appear to have either a wide genetic range of types or readily mutate to give rise to resistant types. Some of the world’s most troublesome weeds have developed resistance to almost all the effective herbicides available. Wild oats, Italian ryegrass and crowfoot grass are examples of weeds that have developed multiple resistances.

As a representative of a responsible supplier of herbicides it is important to make you aware of the dangers of repeated uses of herbicides with the same mode of action. In turf we have examples of fine fescues with the repeated use of haloxyfop for weed grass control and in perennial ryegrass with the use of ethofumesate. No doubt repeated use of amitrole in browntop will have a similar effect. It is the industry consensus that alternating between herbicides with different modes of action is best practice and alternating between three active ingredients is even better still. It’s a good idea to change active ingredients regularly with broad spectrum herbicides anyway, because they all have gaps in the spectrum of weeds they control. The difficulty comes where there is only a single active ingredient that controls the weeds we want to control. It’s even more of a problem when that weed is Poa annua. It is thought that Poa annua is such a genetically diverse plant that most or all herbicides that are selective in turfgrass, fail to control a small number of Poa annua plants. These plants produce seed each year and so it’s only a matter of time before a population of resistant plants build up. That is why we see a drop in effectiveness of some products after as little as five years. Herbicides can be grouped according to their mode of action. Many different active ingredients have the same mode of action. For example one of the largest herbicide groups are the sulfonylureas. Examples are Glean (chlorsulfuron), Escort (metsulfuron) and Katana (flazasulfuron). Their mode of action is that they are ALS inhibitors. Three other chemical families are also ALS inhibitors. This group of chemical families is called ‘Group B - ALS inhibitors’.

For some herbicides with certain modes of action, there are numerous reports of resistance after only a few years. This is especially so with herbicides from groups A and B which are at high risk of developing resistance and should always or mostly be alternated with products having a different mode of action. For details of these groups see the chart on the CropLife Australia web site . Other sites include:; www. A difficulty for managers of fine fescue is that haloxyfop is in Group A. It is in the chemical family called the ‘Fops’ for short. Fluazifop (Fusilade) is a member of this group. It is not surprising that managers are reporting reduced effectiveness with repeated applications. It is expected that they will be selecting for a resistant population of Poa annua. What we need is alternate active ingredients with a different mode of action with which to alternate applications. We also need to use residual herbicides that control Poa annua pre-emergence to complement our post emergence herbicides. They are tricky to use in a sportsfield situation but can help reduce reliance on post emergence products. The main message in relation to Poa annua is that herbicides are likely to provide only short term relief, but that good turf management is the best long term control. There have been no new mode-of-action herbicides released since the mid 1980’s.

PGG Wrightson Turf Stores and staff contacts Christchurch 03 372 8719 Auckland 09 570 2570 Palmerston North 027 487 4002 North Auckland/Northland Brian Griffiths 027 430 2992

Auckland George Tothill 027 430 2972

Auckland Bevan Houghton 027 344 6439

Auckland Phil Gould 027 477 0096

Central North Island/Bay of Plenty/Waikato/Coromandel Julian Holden - 027 289 2244

South Waikato/Taranaki Karen Crake 027 430 2995

Lower North Island/ Wellington/Hawke’s Bay Matt Kidby - 027 487 4002

Upper South Island/ Christchurch Jason Weller - 027 596 3974

Otago/Southland/ West Coast Joe Johnson - 027 596 3565

Christchurch/Central Otago Grant Bunting - 027 704 7520

International Mark Shaw - 027 499 8327

© PGG Wrightson Seeds 2013. This information has been checked for accuracy and published in good faith. However PGG Wrightson Seeds accepts no responsibility expressed or implied for misuse of information in this publication. This information is not to be reproduced without the expressed written permission of PGG Wrightson Seeds.



Turf clippings spring 2013