A look at the industry’s new science and technology centre

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 8, 2021 12:13

Origin Amenity Solutions comprises four leading industry brands and 70+ field based technical personnel, supported by a research-based science and technology centre, that offers major benefits for the UK golf industry.

 

The new Origin Amenity Solutions (OAS) Turf Science and Technology Centre can be found at Throws Farm, Dunmow, Essex. The facility allows for the conducting of research, fine turf trials and the provision for education with meeting rooms and conference rooms, enabling 150 delegates to convene to discuss all things amenity. Outside, the centre has USGA constructed fine turf trials area; including a Rain Bird irrigation system, native soil ryegrass plots and amenity grass areas. In addition, the centre has on-site greenhouses and a laboratory. This open site, with prevailing easterly winds, is sure to encounter numerous turf stresses, which is just what you want at a research facility.

Microdochium nivale outbreak was experienced at the research centre as temperature in November remained above freezing and leaf wetness was high

Many changes have occurred in the amenity sector over the last decade, including legislation and climatic changes, of which there are sure to be more to come. That is the rationale behind the Turf Science and Technology Centre. OAS will be working in collaboration with industry partners to provide scientific data and innovative concepts to amenity turf management. The results will be determined by climatic and legislation changes but most importantly led by the people behind amenity management … YOU!

Both a Davis weather station and Soil Scout, featuring below ground soil sensors, are placed in the centre’s fine turf and native soil areas. This technology will enable the research and development director and trials manager to monitor the health of the turf and soil as well as monitoring disease pressures and environmental factors that may induce outbreaks such as Microdochium nivale. The outcome is to offer integrated turf management (ITM) approaches to pesticide and nutrient applications.

David Weather Station dashboard graphic

Research will be carried out using replicated, randomised plot designs to produce sound scientific data. The subjectivity of collecting turf quality and disease percentage data will be removed by utilising a light box combined with a bespoke digital image analysis programme. OAS wishes to provide the industry with unbiased information about all the products that are applied; good or bad. Performance data collection is also included; after all, clients want surfaces that look perfect and expect outstanding performance.

The testing of new technologies such as drainage systems and robotic mowers, and carrying out research to optimise plant and soil health, will also take place. The technology centre brings together all the technologies needed to collect robust data and to understand the stresses that influence turf and soil health. This information will be analysed and shared with the amenity sector to provide sustainable turf management strategies and therefore future-proofing our industry.

Soil Scout dashboard graphic

The industry is fully aware that a lack of understanding can have a huge impact on the amenity sector, for example decisions made around glyphosate. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified glyphosate as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” In addition to this the centre’s facility can look at alternative approaches to weed management and the efficacy and cost implication in comparison to glyphosate, providing information to governing bodies such as councils on the impact of not using this product.

The OAS Turf Science and Technology Centre is a major industry investment and one that will bring great benefits. The results open up the opportunity to be proactive, identify trends and react accordingly. It will also enable those that work in the amenity sector to stay ahead of the game as legislation changes and new directives come into place.

Davis and Soil Scout dashboard provides the ability to graph data to identify trends

A force in pursuit of excellence

Combining the strength of industry leading companies and their products, together with a technology led research and development facility, OAS is the leading force in the UK amenity industry.

Working together, but retaining their individual identity and areas of expertise, four group companies, Headland Amenity, Rigby Taylor, Symbio and TurfKeeper.com offer the widest, most comprehensive choice for achieving success across all aspects of plant health; its growth, protection, appearance, control and sustainability.

Origin Amenity Solutions Turf Science & Technology Centre

Employing over 70 field-based technical personnel, supported by agronomy specialists in grass seed selection, plant nutrition, water management, plant protection, microbials, line marking, irrigation and drainage, the company has solutions for all situations.

Turf Technology Centre trial plots

In addition, the group can call upon the expertise from other parts of Origin Enterprise Plc, including fertiliser manufacturing, speciality product formulation, line marking machinery (including robotics), paint manufacturing, drainage systems and digital technology.

Kelly-Marie Clack is technical and agronomy manager for Origin Amenity Solutions

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 8, 2021 12:13
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