The Groundsman January 2020

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JANUARY 2020 £4.00


REWARDING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT The IOG’s 2020 salary increase recommendations

EARNING THEIR STRIPES Award-winning pitch care at Northampton Saints




Some of the huge range of products on show page 18


January 2020 REGULARS 04 Industry news

The latest news from the IOG and the world of turf care


06 GaNTIP update

Change could do us good? AS WE ENTER 2020, the impact of the general election will now see the UK leave the European Union – a move that will be accompanied by discussions about new world trade agreements and a realignment of our trade within Europe. A new decade and new horizons! The turf profession has no boundaries, of course, as Sir David Attenborough once proclaimed that “grass is the most robust plant on the planet”. That could also be a metaphor for our industry and our profession which is certainly robust and has an ability to adapt to all conditions and to continue to grow. The IOG is continuing to press for investment into natural turf, working with stakeholders and we are confident that now, after a decade of creating partnerships with key national governing bodies, the penny has truly dropped and increased investment is now likely. In addition, our own recent research has highlighted areas that we need to address and tackle, and the IOG Board is well advanced with future plans – more of which I will comment on in the coming months. In the meantime, in such changing times, I wish you every success in 2020 and beyond.

Results for Radwinter Cricket Club

08 SALTEX news

The post-event survey shows SALTEX 2019 was big for business


18 Product showcase

What’s in store at BTME 2020 and products for artificial surfaces and grass seed

22 Tools and guidance Turf care advice for February


FEATURES 10 Best practice

How Northampton Saints’ grounds team ensures top performance on an aging pitch

14 Tech update




Premiership performance by the Northampton Saints RFC grounds team (p10)

Products on show at this year’s BTME page 18

Facing up to working without some popular fungicides

16 Salary survey

Recommended wages for groundsmen


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Geoff Webb Chief Executive The Institute of Groundsmanship


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The Groundsman is published monthly by the Institute of Groundsmanship. All material is copyright of the Institute of Groundsmanship and may not be reproduced without permission. The publishers do not accept responsibility for any advertisement appearing in the journal and cannot be held liable for editorial omissions or errors. The views expressed in the journal are not necessarily those of the Institute of Groundsmanship.

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The course attracted Finnish and Icelandic delegates


IOG courses hosted in Finland

THE IOG HAS delivered an IOG Level 1 Winter Pitches training course to 13 delegates in Finland, which is the first of a package of grounds management courses due to take place in the country in the coming months. Fulfilling a request from Vierumaki, the Sports Institute of Finland, and the Finnish FA, the initial IOG course was also supported by IOG award winner and head groundsman at Emerald Headingley Stadium, Ryan Golding, who helped to demonstrate winter pitch maintenance techniques to Finnish and Icelandic grounds staff working at professional sports clubs and municipal sports facilities.

Mika Nurminen, lead contact for the course in Finland, said: “It’s important to update the level of groundsmanship expertise in Finland to help our grounds staff get a deeper understanding of the work at hand. We really appreciated the possibility to co-operate with IOG to fulfil our dream to create and maintain better sports pitches.” Dan Prest, IOG head of technical and learning, said: “The opportunity for grounds staff to get together, wherever in the world, is vital for development and improving playing surfaces. Whether professionals or volunteers, the sharing of information through training is beneficial to the industry.”



Chat to IOG experts on stand 104 in the Blue Zone at BTME in Harrogate from 21-23 January. We’ll guide you through your sports turf challenges, give you a copy of our free training and education Prospectus, and discuss the pathways of pitch quality and career progression through the IOG’s Pitch Grading Framework.

4 THE GROUNDSMAN January 2020

THE MIDLANDS REGION’S AGM will be held on 31 January at 10.15am at the Jaguar Sports & Social Club, Browns Lane, Allesley, Coventry, CV5 9PS. All Midlands IOG Members are welcome to attend. Please contact Malcolm Reeves on 07712 690207.


JOINT WINNERS AT CRICKET AWARDS GLAMORGAN AND SOMERSET were joint winners of the award for best One-Day pitches at the 2019 ECB Groundsman of the Year Awards held at Edgbaston in November. The two winners were chosen from all 18 counties. Glamorgan’s head groundsman Robin Saxton said: “This is the result of a lot of hard work from the team throughout the season and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”


SCOT WINS BEST GROUNDSMAN IN SPAIN SCOTTISH GROUNDSMAN JOHN STEWART, from Laurieston, Falkirk, was named best groundsman in Spanish football in 2019 for his work on the Deportivo Alaves Mendizorrotza Stadium pitch. John, 49, said: “It’s fantastic to receive an award from people who know what they’re talking about and what you are going through. It was a lovely surprise to receive the award.”



London’s Ev restaurant

Book now for Party for Perennial TICKETS ARE STILL available for the annual Party for Perennial on Thursday 23 January at Ev Restaurant near the South Bank, London. The event raises money for the horticulture and groundscare charity. The ticket price of £25 includes a glass of bubbly on arrival, light food and the chance to win prizes in the Party for Perennial raffle. All proceeds from ticket sales and the raffle help Perennial support people in horticulture. Perennial offers a lifeline to people facing difficult times, providing practical and personal

support designed around the needs of individuals and their families. The 2020 Party for Perennial is made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from Boningale Nurseries and Platipus Anchoring. Anita Bates, Perennial’s director of marketing and development, says: “We’ve seen a 20 per cent rise in the number of people coming to us for help this year and events like this allow us to raise funds and reach more people with information about our life-changing services.”



PREMIER LEAGUE NAMES NEW CEO INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Premier League, Richard Masters, has been named as the permanent replacement for previous CEO Richard Scudamore, who left the role over a year ago. He said: “I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to lead the Premier League in what will be one of the most exciting stages of its development.”




BRITISH SUGAR TOPSOIL RAISES £2,813 AN INITIATIVE BY British Sugar TOPSOIL has raised £2,813 for Cancer Research UK. For every bulk bag of its topsoil sold between September 2018 and September 2019, British Sugar TOPSOIL donated £1 to the charity. A cheque was presented to Cancer Research UK representatives at British Sugar’s headquarters in Peterborough by National TOPSOIL manager Andy Spetch. British Sugar

The grand total is handed over

TOPSOIL will be running a similar scheme with Perennial in 2020.

JOHN DEERE’S AG TECH, Parts Tech and Turf Tech apprenticeship programmes will train a total of 66 technicians this academic year, the highest total intake since the first Ag Tech induction in 1992. These award-winning programmes are run in partnership with the dealer network and national training provider ProVQ at the John Deere Apprentice Training Centre in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire. and


ForthRoots winners announced PAUL HUMPHREYS AT Concord College and Mark Jolliffe of Shrewsbury and Taunton Schools have been named as the winners of the DLF/ Johnsons Sports Seed ForthRoots Competition at SALTEX 2019. Having


correctly answered three questions on DLF’s 4Turf Tetraploid ryegrasses, they were rewarded with new tools for overseeding worth over £600. Pictured are: (far left image) Paul Humphreys receiving the ForthRoots MultiTool from DLF’s John Hughes; and (left image,third from left) Mark Jolliffe receiving the RyeSeeder from DLF’s Ian Barnett. The interchangeable tine options on the RyeSeeder and MultiTool help to create the perfect seed bed for quick recovery after matches and training.

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AGROVISTA ACQUIRES MAXWELL AMENITY AGROVISTA, THE PARENT company of Sherriff Amenity, has completed its acquisition of sports turf, landscaping and horticulture business, Maxwell Amenity. The acquisition was first announced in October and the company says that existing customers are encouraged to keep working with their current account managers and service providers as usual. For more information, visit THE GROUNDSMAN 5

Before: Weeds and an uneven surface were among the problems After: the new-look square now complements the new pavilion

HOWZAT! RADWINTER CC IS BOWLED OVER Cricket had been absent from Radwinter Recreation ground for years, but a new pavilion spurred Radwinter Cricket Club to reinstate and upgrade its square – with help from the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme

T By Phil Jeggo Regional pitch advisor

he initial Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme visit to survey the state of the existing cricket square on Essex’s Radwinter Recreation Ground, in July 2018, found a number of issues. These included surface and buried thatch/organic matter, uneven playing surface levels, undesirable grasses and weeds. As a result of my recommendations, the Radwinter Cricket Club undertook the following series of works in September/October 2018: Sprayed off the square using a qualified contractor with a total weed killer Hired a suitable scarifier to carry out 10 passes, each time slightly lowering the depth (starting at 5mm and ending at 20mm) Removed all debris created by using rotary mowers and leaf blowers Used the grooves created by the scarifier to act as a seedbed Over-seeded the square with two bags of a four-cultivar ryegrass cricket square mix

“The club started playing cricket in May 2019 and had 20 fixtures booked”

6 THE GROUNDSMAN January 2020

Top-dressed the square using 10 x 25kg of Ongar Loam per pitch (six pitches) to help with surface levels.


The club had decided that although the recommendation of part-reconstruction of the square would have been an ideal quick fix to bring it back to the standard required, instead its volunteers wanted to carry out the remedial work since, like most small cricket clubs, money was not available and funding streams were limited for the reconstruction. Going forwards, the club will maintain the pitch while the local parish council will be responsible for cutting the outfield. The ground was revisited in April 2019 and the work that had been carried out had really paid off. The club started playing cricket in May 2019 and had 20 fixtures booked. “Without the help and support of GaNTIP and the Essex County Cricket Board, we would not have been able to achieve our dream of returning cricket to the village,” said the club. While the renovation process will need to be repeated annually, the new-look square really shows what can be achieved on a small budget with a small group of committed volunteers.


Visit for more details about GaNTIP



By Chris Bennett SALTEX press officer

Key drivers for SALTEX 2019 visitor attendance were to check out new products and services, and witness machinery demonstrations

THE GROUNDCARE SECTOR’S FLAGSHIP EVENT According to SALTEX 2019 visitor survey respondents, 95% say they will definitely visit again this year


INDINGS FROM THE SALTEX 2019 post-show survey reveal that those who attended consider SALTEX to be the groundscare industry’s flagship event. From 30-31 October, a recordbreaking 9,104 visitors came to the NEC, Birmingham to explore the latest trends and products in groundscare. An encouraging 34 per cent of those were visiting SALTEX for the first time, compared to 28 per cent in 2018 and 27 per cent in 2017. The busy atmosphere in the exhibition halls was fantastic and a massive 93 per cent of survey respondents rated their overall show experience as being either very good or excellent.


Attendees came from far and wide as the show continues to attract a growing international audience. Last year’s SALTEX welcomed people from 49 overseas markets, topping the previous record of 45 countries, which was set at SALTEX 2016. One of the show’s international visitors was Frederico Galardini, who maintains the pitches at Federale di Coverciano – the central training ground and technical headquarters of the Italian Football 8 THE GROUNDSMAN January 2020

Federation. Frederico came to SALTEX to gain UK groundscare expertise. “I think, no matter where you are in the world, it is important to come to SALTEX because British groundscare is seen as the best,” he said. “In Italy the pitches are not at the same level as those in the UK, but we are slowly getting there and this is why a trip to SALTEX can only be beneficial in helping us to improve.” The buying power of SALTEX attendees was also high, with 36 per cent of survey respondents confirming that the purchasing responsibility is solely theirs, while 43 per cent contribute to the buying process and 32 per cent have the authority to sign-off on purchases up to £50,000. Many exhibitors agreed that SALTEX 2019 was the most financially beneficial yet and the 40 per cent of survey respondents who said they made purchases on the show floor is perhaps testament to this. The Leicester City FC grounds staff were looking for new equipment during their visit to SALTEX, according to Callum Allsop, head groundsman at the club’s training ground. “We will be spending a lot of money on new equipment over the next year. So being able to look at the available options and speak to the distributors, all in one place, is ideal.”

The survey findings also revealed visitors’ reasons for attending SALTEX, with 68 per cent saying they’d come to source new products/services/suppliers, while 44 per cent wanted to see the latest industry innovations and 35 per cent to witness machinery demonstrations.


Products and innovations aside, SALTEX attendees also made use of the training, advice and educational opportunities. The 57 free-to-attend, CPD-accredited Learning LIVE sessions proved popular with 84 per cent of respondents claiming the education offering was either very good or excellent; 83 per cent made the most of the Ask the Expert feature; and 77 per cent said Pathology and Soil Science LIVE was also an excellent feature. SALTEX will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020 and will take place at the NEC, Birmingham on 4-5 November. 95 per cent of SALTEX 2019 visitors concluded the survey by indicating that they will be returning. For more information visit Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook –





Working with an aging, natural-grass pitch, the Northampton Saints RFC’s grounds team manages to produce a high-class, presentable and playable surface for the Premiership rugby union club

N By Colin Hoskins Features editor

10 THE GROUNDSMAN January 2020

ever is there just one reason why a grounds team’s efforts are applauded by their industry peers or, indeed, by the judges of the IOG Industry Awards. It’s always a combination of factors that stand out; not least their ability to prepare and maintain a highclass playing surface whatever the weather and perhaps with relatively few resources in terms of manpower and/or budget. But if Andy Miller, head groundsman at Northampton Saints RFC, had to name one aspect of his team’s activities that earned them the 2019 IOG Compo Expert Professional Rugby Football Union Grounds Team of the Year Award then, he says, “it had to be our ability to consistently deliver a high-class playing surface, in terms of both presentation and playability, on a very old, natural pitch”. He is, of course, referring to the Franklin’s Gardens stadium pitch, which

was laid in 2001. “With 7m spacings, let’s say the drainage is not at its best; the pitch is very slow draining,” Andy continues. “But with a schedule of maintenance that includes plenty of aeration – including vertidraining, Procoring and Air2G2 treatments – especially prior to forecasted rain, along with tarpaulin sheets and close cooperation with coaches over team runs, we do manage to present a surface that consistently meets expectations.” The quest to meet user expectations was really put under pressure in May 2018 when 60mm of overnight rain flooded half the pitch and caused the collapse of the roof on one stand. “All this on the day the stage was due to be built for a major music concert,” says Andy. “But we persevered as a team and the concert (and other, subsequent, corporate events) went ahead. We had around six weeks to grow in the pitch before the first fixture of the season, a televised two-day Sevens event and we were very proud of



Top-class presentation is vital when the pitch is under scrutiny from so many, including players, fans and TV viewers

The Northampton Saints grounds team collect their IOG award: Compo Expert’s head of global turf, Dr Fritz Lord (far right) and BBC TV presenter Dan Walker (far left) with, from left: Andy Miller, Ollie Deeming, Dave Cox and Jack Beal

the pitch’s playability and presentation.” Not only do fans praise the venue for the views it offers of the pitch, but home and away players also declare that it is one of the best they play on. Testament to these accolades was the fact that in 2018 the stadium hosted the Women’s Tyrell Premier 15s final and an England U20s Six Nations game. Official recognition also came after Andy invited ProPitch in for Performance Quality Standard testing of the surface. Tests were undertaken at the start, middle and end of the season and all three produced positive, high scores. “It showed that our maintenance routines are correct,” says Andy. However, the reports also highlighted the known issues with pitch construction, he adds.


Andy also highlights that a regular feeding and treatment programme (“I know what the pitch wants and when I find products that work, I stick with them”) and the use of lots of sand, also play their

part in the performance of the Johnsons J Pitch seed (100% perennial rye) surface. It’s kept at 30mm and occasionally 28mm, “when the climatic conditions are ideal”. SGL’s MU50 and MU18 lights are also used on shaded areas throughout the winter months. “The ideal pitch for rugby union would be hybrid/reinforced grass but we don’t have that, so we strive to do the best we can with what we’ve got. We spend a lot of time putting the pitch back together after a game, repairing the areas damaged by scrums and rucks for example, to ensure a decent and safe surface.” One of the things Andy has got is a young and enthusiastic team that share his drive to continually improve in everything they do. His three colleagues – Dave Cox, aged 25, who has been at Franklin’s Gardens for two years; 22-year-old Ollie Deeming, who has been part of the team for just over a year and recently been appointed deputy head groundsman; plus, since July 2019, 18-year-old apprentice Jack Beal – not only look after the stadium pitch but also three adjoining training pitches and all surrounding car parks, lawns, hedges and flower beds on the 33-acre site. “Our newest recruit, Jack, has made a real difference to helping us spread the workload,” adds Andy. “We put everything into match-day pitch presentation and go to great lengths to ensure we have the pitch presented to a high standard,” he says. “Even if there are time and weather restraints, we will still find a way to present the pitch in the best possible way – whether that means prepping the night before or hand brushing the pattern in. “In addition, we put a lot of effort into ensuring the pitch is fit for use, which will mean, for example, watering early so that

FROM GOLF TO RUGBY Andy, aged 35, joined the Saints five years ago, after a career in golf. “As I left school, the local golf club was advertising for an apprentice greenkeeper,” he says. “I had never thought about a career in groundscare but it really appealed to me when I saw the offer. I applied and got the job, then spent the following 16 years gaining experience, which included a NVQ Level 3 in Sports Turf Management. I quickly felt that I had found my vocation. “But, I’d always wanted to work in a high-class stadium environment, so when a vacancy became available here in 2014 working with head groundsman Wayne Billing, I jumped at the chance. And I’m glad I did; I’m loving every minute of being a rugby union groundsman. Wayne really helped me to improve myself, and inspired me to put a huge amount of dedication and pride into my work.” Andy worked as Wayne’s deputy for three years and became head groundsman 18 months ago when Wayne moved to London to become co-head groundsman at Tottenham Hotspur’s new White Hart Lane stadium. THE GROUNDSMAN 11


“We treat every game the same and we all work to the highest standards possible” the grass can dry to increase ball grip while maintaining moisture levels so that the pitch remains stable for improved traction. We treat every game the same and we all work to the highest standards possible; effectively mirroring the standards of Premiership football to maintain the pitch at the optimum levels in terms of both presentation and performance. “Also, the club as a whole has always been keen on continual professional development and that includes us,” says Andy. “I am currently undergoing my Level 4 accreditation in Sustainable Turf Surfaces; Dave has started his Level 3 Sports Turf; Ollie has recently completed his Level 3 in Sports Turf Management; and Jack is about to start his Level 2.” Coming from a golfing background (see panel, page 11), you’d think the

move from caring for greens, tees and fairways to looking after a Premiership rugby stadium pitch would be a shock to the system. “It wasn’t really,” says Andy. “The maintenance methods are basically the same but are performed differently. For example, all the machinery here is pedestrian – no ride-on mowers. We’ve even dispensed with the tractor-mounted sprayer to keep the weight off the pitch and minimise compaction.”


With the Saints’ season extending from the middle of September to the end of May, the stadium pitch sees more than 100 hours of use in a typical season (training sessions and matches). The main training pitch is used four days a week by the first team while the other two training pitches are used weekly by local clubs and schools involved with the club’s community department. The 2019 season opened with 13 hours of use involving a pre-season friendly and a televised Sevens tournament, meaning the team worked 53 hours over three days to ensure the pitch was safe and in good condition before the start of the club’s

domestic fixtures. At season’s end, the pitch is turned over for four weeks to various commercial events, including music concerts and other activities such as, in 2018, a charity football event, a two-night cinema show, an obstacle event, “which saw a lot of scaffolding/construction erected on the pitch”, and an end-of-season awards presentation with a large marquee on the pitch. With usually a seven-week break before the start of a new season (10 weeks in 2019 due to the Rugby World Cup), the pitch is renovated. In the past it has been Koroed but more often fraise mowed then covered with 90 tonnes of sand before Vertidraining then overseeding. Another 60 tonnes of sand will normally be added to the surface during the course of a season. “Plenty of sand and plenty of aeration – they’re the keys to keeping this old pitch in a condition to be admired throughout the Premiership.” says Andy. Visit for full details of the IOG’s comprehensive learning and education offerings



A new approach is needed to manage turf diseases

By Peter Corbett Chemical manager, Rigby Taylor


Despite losing a number of very useful amenity turf management products over the last four years, we can still put programmes together to manage diseases on turf


y the time we get to 19 March 2020, the UK amenity fungicide market will have lost nearly 80 per cent of the products applied as fungicides to the amenity turf sector in just four years. A wide range of active ingredients have been revoked for the reasons listed below: Prochloraz – co-formulate with Tebuconazole and sold as Throttle or Foremost, this was withdrawn due to the EU exposure model Iprodione – sold as Chipco Green, Rayzor, Surpass and other parallel brand names, this was withdrawn on health grounds Propiconazole – Banner Maxx, Exocet and other parallel brands, this was withdrawn due to unacceptable levels found in ground water Propiconazole and Chlorothalonil – Formulated as Instrata, this was revoked for the same reason as above but has now been revoked due to health concerns regarding Chlorothalonil. 14 THE GROUNDSMAN January 2020

In the UK, we now only have four actions and seven active ingredients registered for use in the amenity turf sector: FRAC 3 – Tebuconazole, Difenconazole FRAC 7 – Fluopyram FRAC 11 – Trifloxystrobin, Azoxystrobin, Pyraclostrobin FRAC 12 – Fludioxonil. None of the above actives can provide ‘kick back’ – curative activity – and they must be used as part of a preventative programme. Combinations of these seven actives can be put together in a programme to provide 21-28 days of disease prevention. Trials have confirmed that the combination of good groundscare practices plus the addition of products known to de-stress the turf lead to better disease management.


For more on treating turf disease, call the IOG on 01908 312 511

TESTING NEW SOLUTIONS RIGBY TAYLOR IS one industry supplier that has developed two products designed to be mixed with fungicides as a tank mix: OPTION – phosphite plus other anti-stress agents and spreaderbased tank mix partner TRIMATE – Fulvic and Amino acid plus spreader tank mix recovery agent. These were tested by STRI in autumn/winter 2017/18 and 2018/19 in a long-term preventative programme. The tests showed that disease levels were managed better than by using fungicides on their own or using curative programmes.


A fair wage improves an employee’s job satisfaction and the employer’s reputation

IOG RECOMMENDS 2.5% PAY RISE FOR GROUNDS STAFF Against a backdrop of “considerable uncertainty in both the economic and political context”, a 2.5% salary increase this year is recommended for grounds staff, plus a 4.3% rise in payments that recognise IOG qualifications

T By Colin Hoskins Features editor

16 THE GROUNDSMAN January 2020

he Institute of Groundsmanship is recommending a 2.5 per cent increase in grounds staff’s national minimum salary bands for 2020. In addition, the amount paid in recognition of qualifications should increase to £600 per band (a 4.3 per cent increase) to ensure an ongoing focus on training and professional development, says the IOG. The total amount received should be directly linked to the highest qualification level held and equates to

£600 for each level attained (for example, £2,400 for a Level 4 qualification). These recommendations have been made against a backdrop of “considerable uncertainty in both the economic and political contexts” says the IOG, “particularly in light of the general election and Brexit”. It adds: “The election result will have a significant impact, not only on the outcome of Brexit but also on public investment, expenditure, economic growth and inflation. This unique political


situation has made making accurate predictions for the coming year much harder than usual.”



Median projected pay awards for 2020 are around 2 per cent, with most forwardlooking basic pay settlements falling somewhere between 2 and 4 per cent. Over half of employers predict that their 2020 pay award will be between 2 and 3 per cent, so the IOG’s recommended uprating should ensure pay rates remain competitive. It also sits between the projected Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) figure for 2019 of 2.1 per cent as well as the recent increase in the voluntary Living Wage (3.3 per cent), and should take account of any increase in the cost of living. This is particularly important in light of the fall of 0.4 per cent in median gross pay for grounds staff in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. The IOG recommended national basic salary bands for 2020 are: Grounds manager £36,676-£56,817 Head groundsperson £31,280-£42,932 Deputy head groundsperson/sole charge £25,591-£32,662 Groundsperson (skilled) £23,932-£30,530 Groundsperson £19,174-£24,460 Junior groundsperson £16,303 (Age 17) Junior groundsperson (aged 16) £13,538 These bands reflect minimum recommended basic salary payment and are based on a 37.5-hour working week. Bonuses, overtime and subsistence payments have not been included and are therefore additional. Regional pay variations have been taken into account, with higher cost areas of the country expected to make salary awards at the upper levels of the appropriate

“The election result will have a significant impact, not only on the outcome of Brexit but also on economic growth and inflation”


IOG chief executive Geoff Webb says the IOG will be commissioning further research, based on the salaries achieved by the head grounds people at elite sports venues and the recognised status of their roles: “The IOG considers it vital that in certain areas of the industry – such as at elite sports venues with worldwide focus – there should be further analysis of roles

and responsibilities, comparing not only salary levels but also the relative status of the roles within such venues. “In some situations, it may be argued that there should be no upper wage cap because the demands at individual sites are unique. Also, evidence suggests that wages at UK venues compared to overseas sites differ greatly and, in the UK, are certainly below the earning potential of

band. Regional differentials are: London inner £3,941; London outer £2,353; fringe areas £704 - £1,413. Other UK regions are broadly similar in their pay levels. The recommended minimum pay rate for a groundsperson in London should be set at £21,000 (outer) and £22,500 (inner). The IOG would also encourage employers to become a Living Wage Employer by gaining accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation. This has been shown to enhance job satisfaction and improves the reputation of the employer.


Given the current climate of economic and political uncertainty, along with ongoing fiscal restraint, the IOG says it is of critical importance to members’ job satisfaction levels that employers ensure they are meeting their obligations in terms of ensuring fair payment for overtime worked and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This should be done in partnership with employees, with agreements reached about the balance between overtime pay, time off in lieu and flexible working. These salary recommendations follow the publication of the IOG’s 2019 industrywide survey, Groundsmanship – Sport’s Vital Profession, which highlighted a number of areas of concern in relation to the pay and career structure within the groundscare industry. Geoff Webb, the IOG’s chief executive,

Geo� Webb

the head grounds person’s role overseas. “Given the excellent work of UK grounds staff and the iconic sports venues they maintain, it is important that this issue is addressed. So, the IOG will be commissioning further research into this area during the coming year and the results will be factored into the salary recommendations in future reports.”

says: “Over half of head grounds staff earn more than £25,000 per annum and a fifth earn over £40,000. Feedback during interviews indicated that some head grounds staff are earning considerably more than £40,000. However, almost a quarter of groundspeople earn less than £25,000 and approximately 8 per cent earn less than £15,000. Clearly, the range of salaries is very wide and individuals doing similar jobs, sometimes for similar employers, can be earning significantly different salaries. He adds: “It is not clear if there is a recognised career structure within the sector but it is important that there is clear career progression that rewards learning and development. A review is recommended to explore how this can best be achieved.” The research was carried out independently by Myriad Research ( using a number of data sources for analysis. IOG members can access the full report and view the bands via their online member portal. For information on how to become a member and gain access to this report, please email or call 01908 312 511 for more information.


If you would like a copy of the IOG’s 2019 industry-wide survey, Groundsmanship – Sport’s Vital Profession, please contact the IOG by phone 01908 312 511. THE GROUNDSMAN 17

Product showcase


IOG NEWS UPDATES Go to the IOG website


21 - 23 JAN 2020





DENNIS MOWERS RECENTLY launched a new range of mowers called the E-Series and the ES-860 cylinder mower will be a highlight at BTME 2020. This 34in battery-powered unit offers 13 interchangeable cassette options to provide a solution to many day-to-day maintenance tasks such as cutting, scarifying, brushing,

Dennis will showcase new and established units

slitting and aeration. The ES-860 will be joined by the well established FT510 professional mower at BTME. With a 51cm working width, the FT510 provides its user with comfort, flexibility and excellent presentation.




FOR THE FIFTH year running, GKB will be attending the BTME show to showcase its range of machinery. Visitors can expect to see the Sandfiller, Sandspreader and Combiseeder on display at the exhibition. Units on show will cover everything from maintaining and improving drainage systems, to discovering a fast and efficient way to seed or overseed turf. GKB Machines

GKB will once again showcase its range

will be encompassing everything groundskeepers need to maintain their turf during the year. One example is the popular Sandspreader, enabling you to distribute a great variety of materials. GKB is proud to be presenting a range of its impressive, durable maintenance machines at BTME 2020.


MANSFIELD SAND WILL feature a wide range of products for sports, landscaping and equestrian uses at BTME. The company supplies to some of the most prestigious sporting venues across the UK and Europe. Products include: Mansil Silica Sand Sports Range; Top Dressing; Sand Soil Rootzones; and Reinforced Rootzones.




KNOWLEDGE BASE ICL WILL BE using BTME as a platform to launch the company’s 2020/21 Product Guide which features the complete range of ICL and Syngenta products with advice on how to get the best results. Visitors to the stand can pick up a copy of the new ProSelect grass seed brochure in which they can learn about the new and improved KEEP IN TOUCH

SHERRIFF AMENITY WILL be at BTME 2020 with new product information, refreshments and a chance for visitors to test their skills on the putting green. Visitors to the stand will be able to pick up a copy of the 2020 product brochure, which is packed with in-depth information on the company’s complete range of products. It also includes advice on how to get the best results from the products, including recommended period of use, directions for use and application rates.

ICL’s BTME stand will be packed with information

mixtures for sports fields, turf growers and landscape contractors. BTME 2020 will also allow visitors to discover some new rewards included in ICL’s loyalty scheme – Turf Rewards.

18 THE GROUNDSMAN January 2020

Institute of Groundsmanship

FIND OUT ALL you need to know about Rigby Taylor’s 2020 range from the company’s interactive touchscreen presentations on its stand at BTME. The new Cold Start Boost-R fertiliser, with added calcium for improved disease tolerance, will be showcased and staff will be on hand to offer advice.


POWER AND PRODUCTIVITY JOHN DEERE HAS announced two new additions to the economical 6000A Series fairway mower line-up, which will be previewed at BTME 2020. Sharing technologies with the award-winning A Model mower range, the 6080A and 6500A E-Cut hybrid electric fairway mowers feature high-performance electric reel drive, which reduces the

number of potential hydraulic leak points to ensure maximum productivity. These new mowers can be operated at lower engine speeds, which reduces fuel consumption. A mowing speed of 8mph (13kph) on both models allows operators to be more productive by covering larger areas in less time.


PROACTIVE PREVENTION WITH CHANGES IN pesticide legislation having an everdeepening effect on sports turf quality, turf managers are having to consider the role of mechanical maintenance in delivering a proactive plant health strategy. The UltraGroomer cassette from the TMSystem collection is designed to do just this. The UltraGroomer has over 80 tungsten carbide tipped blades, spaced at 5mm apart, to reduce Poa ingress and prevent the build-up of organic matter. By improving the plant’s

immediate environment, it makes it more difficult for disease pathogens to take hold. Visitors can find out more about this, and the INFINICUT range, at BTME.

The system helps maintain plant health


NEW AND IMPROVED HEADLAND AMENITY WILL launch an updated and improved formulation of its Turfite product at BTME 2020. Turfite Elite is already showing excellent results in the company’s ‘20-20-30’ non-pesticidal tank mix. It is based on potassium phosphite and Salicylic acid – a known systemic acquired resistance (SAR) elicitor which provides a clear disease suppression pathway, by triggering the SAR mechanism. Headland will use BTME as a platform to launch two new biostimulant, seaweed-based products, together with a new non-pesticidal disease management concept.



SPEEDY SWEEP AT ST MIRREN TO KEEP ON top of the maintenance of a new 4G astro surface at its Ralston Training Complex, St Mirren FC has purchased a Redexim RTC unit from Charterhouse Turf Machinery. For groundsman, Alan Michie, it has improved both the efficiency and speed of regular surface brushing.

Alan Michie and his new Redexim RTC

The RTC brushes fold to allow storage and access through gaps as narrow as 90cm, although when deployed, the unit will cover 200cm in one pass. The ongoing maintenance is also very simple.



THE HSTS98 ARTIFICIAL surface towed sweeper is robustly built to withstand prolonged heavy use. It benefits from a sprung floor, to allow the sand to flow back through the base of the hopper, at the same time collecting debris such as leaves and twigs. A differential mechanism on the brushes allows the sweeper to be manoeuvered in tight corners without

the wheels scuffing; height adjustment is simple. Both wheels drive the pick-up brushes, giving good sweeping power. The main drive is transmitted via strong metal gears.

A SMOOTH SURFACE OSCA is e�ective on sand and rubber in�lls

compaction on the surface and improving its performance – giving consistent playing characteristics while preventing pile damage caused by reduced infill levels.



BROMLEY FC’S PLAYERS and staff have reported a huge improvement in their synthetic pitch after a Hunter Industries irrigation system from KAR UK was installed. The Hunter ST irrigation system is designed for the specific needs of synthetic turf sports pitches and features long-range KEEP IN TOUCH

The six rotors keep crumb cool and comfortable

irrigation sprinklers, unique swing joints, durable irrigation valves and almost indestructible vaults. With ST1600 rotors installed in six positions, it keeps pitches cool, clean and playable.

20 THE GROUNDSMAN January 2020


WHEN TEMPERATURES DROP, the right kind of ryegrass is essential for maintaining grass cover. Rigby Taylor’s R314 Rye is a blend of ryes, making it the first choice for winter repairs. Annual ryegrass is fastest to germinate, closely followed by the robust tetraploid perennial.

Innovative features on the HSTS98


THE SISIS OSCA is a tractor-mounted powered oscillating brush with a 1.9m working width and is equally effective when used on synthetic turf with sand or rubber infill. The two oscillating brushes make the carpet fibres stand up and redistribute the infill, minimising


Institute of Groundsmanship

Ben at Cheltenham’s verdant racecourse



BEN HASTIE, HEAD groundsman at Cheltenham Racecourse, has reported top results after embarking on a strategy of scarifying and overseeding with Limagrain UK’s MM60 grass seed. “You know with MM60 that you are going to get great growth and the colour is brilliant. The health of the turf it produces is better than anything I have seen before.”



MAX SANDFORD JOINED Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club 18 months ago and is looking forward to trying Johnsons J 4Turf mixture for the first time this winter, to deliver deeper rooting and rapid establishment even under low soil temperatures.

Max Sandford at the Chiefs’ ground





0203 859 7097 THE GROUNDSMAN 21

Tools & guidance


FUTURE OF FUNGICIDES Find out about changes to chemical usage page 14


Finish off any turf repairs that might be outstanding. Ensure you use a suitable turf (one that is closely matched to the indigenous green sward). Consider applying a low nitrogen and high potash fertiliser (a soil analysis is advisable, following the manufacturer’s guidelines), to help reduce the chance of disease attack. Drag brush and/or switch daily. Continue with aerating the green when ground and climatic conditions are suitable. Ensure the surrounds to the green are clean and tidy and that any outstanding work is being completed, at least for no later than March.


Most likely the square will be too wet to carry out much work. However, drag brushing should be a priority, especially if earthworm activity is significant. A light topping of the sward may be required; perennial ryegrass sward may have produced some leaf growth. Maintain any perimeter fencing. Towards the end of the month, it might be possible to start rolling, but this will depend on soil moisture content. A soil sample to a depth of 75mm should be taken to establish if the correct amount of moisture is present. Try to plan pitch usage for the coming season and the sequence of use. This way the centre

pitches will be available for high-profile games if required. Carry out a thorough inspection of the outfield to identify any worn areas; this will be especially important if the outfield is used for winter sports. Check all bowlers’ run-up areas and repair if required. Start to set out the stripes for the outfield; this will aid presentation and efficiency of cut.

of fairways – also consider raising lower branches of trees from the edges of fairways. Have materials been ordered for the spring renovation work? Machinery maintenance should be completed this month. The completion of topping up of bunkers should be done this month, especially if major events are planned for April/May. This will allow sufficient time for the sand to become consolidated.




Brush/chain harrow, depending on the quality of the facility, if ground and climatic conditions are suitable. Aerate the pitch wherever possible, although again make sure to use tractor-mounted equipment only if the correct ground and climatic conditions are present – otherwise hand fork goalmouths and centre circles. Apply a suitable sand to the goalmouth and centre circle areas to allow a more consistent, playable surface, and to aid surface drainage.

Avoid the use of relatively heavy machinery over the winter months when ground conditions are generally unsuitable. Aeration can be carried out during dry periods, assuming the soil moisture content is not high. A light topping of the sward might be required. Continue to divot and repair after each meeting. Ensure all materials have been ordered ready for the April renovation work.


If the weather is suitable, a light topping of the grass may be required. Some form of aeration would be useful – verti-draining, slitting or even hand forking would be good for airflow and drainage. Use of drag brushes is two-fold. Use them to get rid of

Mostly non-green course work will be underway. This might include: – bunker renovation or reconstruction – construction of pathways – cutting back of branches from overhanging tees and the edges

22 THE GROUNDSMAN January 2020


dew and to stand the grass up. This will also help put the stripe effect onto your surface. Make sure all machinery is back from servicing. Consider any improvements and targets you want to achieve for the coming season. A light topdressing of worn areas with sand may be required. Chain harrows on the smooth side will help you gain a consistent surface. Constant divoting is essential. Brushing the surface will stand the grass up and give the surface some cover, this will also put you in good stead for the growing season. Make sure markings are bright and straight.


If the weather is very mild, a light topping of the grass might be required. Aerate if ground and climatic conditions permit. Overmark lines regularly, using string lines for accuracy. Hand fork and sand wet areas. Order all the end-of-season renovation material and machinery hire now.


A light topping of the sward might be required, if the ground and climatic conditions allow. Aerate if conditions permit. Continue with regular drag brushing to remove dew and earthworm casts.

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