Your Industry – Your Show

Organisers of SALTEX (Sports Amenities Landscaping Trade Exhibition) have launched their new 2017 campaign, which features the distinguished heart-shaped logo formed of grass complete with the words – Your Industry – Your Show.

In 1934 a groundsman at Eton College named William Bowles believed the industry needed a voice, and an organisation which sought to improve both the status and standards of grounds professionals, so together with 10 other founding members the National Association of Groundsmen, which later became the Institute of Groundsmanship, was formed.

In 1938, SALTEX was launched to unite the industry and offer educational and networking opportunities for those that managed green spaces. 79 years’ later the show has continued to grow and has now established itself as Europe’s largest annual turf management event. With its home at the NEC, in Birmingham, SALTEX remains true to those within the industry offering a world of limitless opportunities in which they can discover the latest trends and innovations, connect with colleagues and learn from top industry professionals.

The 2017 SALTEX campaign boasts the fact the exhibition is indeed “Your Show.”

This year, the show floor will be bursting with everything a visitor needs to increase their efficiency and improve operations. More than 220 leading manufacturers and suppliers have already confirmed their attendance to showcase an extensive range of products and resources and visitors can expect to see the industry’s newest advances and compare the full array of equipment, products and services.

Learning LIVE, SALTEX’s world-class educational programme, guarantees to offer a wealth of new knowledge to delegates as well as boosting their CPD points. Throughout the programme over 100 industry experts and leaders will share important information that can ultimately help a visitor further their career. SALTEX also offers its visitors free advice and guidance on specific turf challenges through the IOG regional pitch advisors on hand.

SALTEX 2016 saw a number of unique show features all designed to assist and help develop those within the industry – the Young Groundsmen’s Conference provided an ideal opportunity for young people looking to advance their career; Pathology and Soil Science LIVE allowed visitors to look in detail at the symptoms of turfgrass fungal disease problems; and the SALTEX College Cup – an academic test of turf management knowledge for students enrolled at UK colleges, helped to raise the level of academic prowess in the industry. These features have again been confirmed for SALTEX 2017 and are set to be even bigger in size and offering.

From show features, to educational topics, the show is continually evolving with the people of the industry in mind. Each year a large team of dedicated show organisers undertake strategic planning to ensure that the show remains fresh, vibrant and essentially everything a visitor and exhibitor expect it to be.

Perhaps it is the underlying vision of William Bowles and his co-founders, combined with the IOG’s unrivalled ambition for the show, which has ensured that SALTEX continues to go from strength to strength. The 2016 exhibition saw an increase in both exhibitors (292) and visitors (8,754) and over 20 exhibitors have increased their stand size for this year’s event.

Growth is a key word as show organisers strive to get people all over the world talking about SALTEX and the industry. Visitors from over 45 countries attended SALTEX 2016 and its social media campaign for 2016 boasted a reach of over 1.1 million users across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN.

Each year more and more grounds care professionals and manufacturers from around the world come in record numbers to immerse themselves in two days of unparalleled interaction.

SALTEX 2017 will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 1 and 2 November 2017.

The BALI Zone comes to SALTEX 2017

The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), has underlined its continuing confidence in the strength of SALTEX by committing to its own dedicated area at the show, which will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 1 and 2 November 2017.

Founded in 1972, BALI is the leading trade association in the UK, promoting,supporting and inspiring professional landscapers, landscape contractors, grounds maintenance contractors, interior landscapers, suppliers and garden designers to be leaders of an environmentally, ethically and commercially sustainable landscape industry. BALI is also a member of the Amenity Forum. With 1,700 members in total, over 850 of which are fully registered, covering 50 disciplines including irrigation, hydroseeding, golf course construction, soft landscaping including turf and sports ground and leisure facilities.

Many BALI members have also been long-standing SALTEX exhibitors and the association strongly believes that the show provides an ideal platform for these same organisations to connect with existing trade contacts and secure new business.

“Due to the reputable nature of the show, BALI has supported the event for many years,” said marketing and communications manager Darren Taylor. “I think it is a great venue in a fantastic location and the event creates the perfect opportunity to meet up with current BALI members and to talk to potential new ones, particularly those organisations offering turf care services, sports amenity and the provision of playground equipment.”

He continued, “By having the BALI Zone at this year’s SALTEX, previously labelled as the Village, we want visitors to feel like they have walked into a dedicated BALI hub area that promotes a level of excellence in quality that only comes from fully vetted landscape professionals. Any visitor that approaches BALI or any of its members exhibiting in the zone are guaranteed the highest level of service along with the best quality materials that BALI is known for within the trade.”

It has already been confirmed that BALI registered Affiliate members Green-tech, M&M Timber and Boningale Nurseries will be exhibiting within the BALI Zone, and Darren believes that by offering such a varied product line-up, it will attract a wide range of visitors from throughout the main hall.

“Already we’ve got three different members offering three very different product ranges. We’ve got exceptional quality nursery stock through Boningale; market leading round timber products and street furniture courtesy of M&M and a wide variety of award-winning landscaping materials and wholesale garden supplies from Green-tech. BALI will also be championing the importance of environmentally friendly, sustainable and renewable green products on the Zone and will be working closely with members to provide a comprehensive and attractive offering for stand visitors.”

BALI is working closely with SALTEX organisers to provide leading industry speakers for this year’s Learning LIVE – SALTEX’s all-encompassing, free-to-attend education programme.

“Thinking specifically about SALTEX and its audience, I think one of the most prevalent issues for us to explore further as part of Learning LIVE is the use of public parks, in terms of local council’s potentially charging for the public to use them due to the lack of Government funding and subsequently the repercussions this may have on BALI’s grounds maintenance contractors.

“Our chief executive, Wayne Grills, has an active seat on the Parks Alliance board, and through this Alliance, BALI has contributed to the Government’s most recent Local Government Committee’s Public Parks Report, published earlier this year. We also have our BALI National Contractor’s Forum (BALI-NCF), which represents some of the UK’s major grounds maintenance contractors working on large contracts up and down the country.

Although not confirmed at this stage, I believe a speaker representing each of these two groups would provide fascinating and informative discussions.”

Darren continues “Ultimately, parks and green spaces provide a whole range of health benefits for the public, and so you have to question what happens when those spaces are not maintained. It’s an interesting issue and one worth exploring further.”

Commenting on BALI’s support for SALTEX 2017, IOG CEO Geoff Webb said: “We are delighted to once again have BALI’s presence at SALTEX this year. We have a long history of collaboration since the event’early years at Windsor Racecourse. BALI’s expertise brings with it companies who provide a wider offering to SALTEX which links the sports turf and landscaping sectors together at one major industry event at one venue – providing more choice for visitors and a greater range of product innovation.”

SALTEX 2017 leading the way in innovation

SALTEX 2017 continues to attract some of the sector’s biggest names ensuring that visitors can again expect to see an impressive line-up of world-class innovation for use by managers of pitch, grounds, landscaping, park and estates when the event opens its doors at the NEC, Birmingham on 1 and 2 November.

John Deere, Toro, Ransomes Jacobsen and Kubota have all confirmed that they will be returning to the show for a third consecutive year to showcase their latest product innovations. With over 200 exhibitors already signed up, they will be joined by companies such as STIHL, ICL, Rigby Taylor, DLF Trifolium, Dennis & SISIS, Charterhouse Turf Machinery, Advanced Turf Technology, Fleet Line Markers, plus many more leading companies.

Featuring the broadest ever spectrum of exhibitors that plan to launch a multitude of new products, SALTEX 2017 is set to play host to the most technologically advanced equipment showcase in grounds management. Combined with the two-day Learning LIVE educational seminar programme, which will cover topics linked to every aspect of the industry, the show will offer innovation, education and networking opportunities at every turn.

Reesink Turfcare, the sole UK distributor of Toro products, enjoyed a successful SALTEX 2016 and marketing manager Holly Jones says plans are set for its return this year.

“SALTEX 2016 was a very successful show for us. It certainly seems to be growing year-on-year in terms of visitors and exhibitors! We decided to sign up for SALTEX 2017 as we feel the show is attracting exactly the right potential customers for our goods and services.”

Likewise, Adrian Langmead, groundcare business development manager for Kubota, said: “SALTEX continues to provide an excellent platform for both existing and potential Kubota customers to get close up to the machinery and talk to our experts about the right machine to suit their needs. We had a fantastic time at last year’s event and we look forward to the 2017 event to again meet with the industry’s leading groundcare individuals to discuss our products and after sales support which we offer as part of the complete Kubota experience.”

Rebecca Rassie, PR and communications manager for STIHL, also reflected on a ‘buzzing’ SALTEX 2016: “From STIHL’s point of view, SALTEX 2016 was an extremely successful show. The team on the ground received a myriad of requests from new customers eager to open STIHL accounts, leads from councils enquiring about cordless demonstrations and many conversations with STIHL-approved dealers who were in attendance too. Our private upper floor level of the stand offered us a one-to-one opportunity to catch up with dealers, members of press and key UK and international contacts, and offered a great view over the buzzing show. STIHL will absolutely be in attendance at SALTEX 2017!”

After a year’s absence it has also been confirmed that Campey Turf Care Systems is returning to SALTEX to profile its turfcare products. Regarding its re-engagement with SALTEX, managing director Richard Campey said: “For Campey Turf Care Systems, 2016 was the year of the UK and Ireland Grassroots renovation tour which brought us into contact with groundsmen and women from across the UK. In 2017 our marketing plans will be to build on this momentum.

“A significant part in re-enforcing our connection with grounds professionals across the natural sports turf spectrum is to meet face to face through practical demonstrations and educational seminars. We are delighted to be attending SALTEX again as part of this continuing process.”

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Bigger is better for SALTEX 2017 exhibitors

Based on the success of SALTEX 2016, an increasing number of exhibitors are looking to extend their profile at the UK’s biggest and most influential turf care event, which will be held on 1 and 2 November at the NEC, Birmingham.

According to show organisers a record number of exhibitors have already re-booked for 2017, and now it has been revealed that many have or are looking to increase their stand space.

Collectively, a number of exhibitors such as Etesia UK, Overton UK, Bomford Turner, Roberine, EP Barrus, Baron UK, Ego, Techneat, SIS Pitches UK, HillTip, T H White Machinery Imports and Bituchem Asphalt have acquired more than 300 additional square metres.

Commenting on SIS Pitches UK’s decision to enlarge its presence at SALTEX, Phil Blackwell – projects director, said: “2016 was our second year at SALTEX. As the industry continues to evolve, we predict it to continue to be a highlight of our trade shows and exhibitions calendar, as shows like this are a great way of exhibiting our patented technology. It was great to see a diverse range of visitors, groundsmen and sports managers who were very interested in how the industry and products have evolved in recent years and how they could benefit from the new technologies now available.

“We believe this is an event you have to be part of if you are in the sports turf market.”

Echoing Phil’s thoughts was Timothy Lane, divisional director for T H White Machinery Imports: “We have been attending SALTEX for many years as a dealer and will continue to do so. However 2016 was our first time exhibiting as the main importer for Ferris Mowers and Wright Mowers. We have now expanded our product offering with the full remote control range from Spider and for this reason we have decided to increase our stand space at SALTEX 2017.”

Charles Neale, event sales executive for SALTEX, says extra stand space has become a growing trend this year.

“It has been extremely encouraging to see so many exhibitors book extra stand space for SALTEX 2017. Many have pointed to reasons such as the great quality, quantity and diversity of visitors as well as strong lead generation. There are also at least 12 additional companies who are also currently interested in purchasing extra stand space.

“In addition, we have also welcomed a large number of new exhibitors who will be making their debut this year.”

SALTEX 2017 will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 1 and 2 November 2017.

For more information visit www.iogsaltex.com

Record number of exhibitors re-book for SALTEX 2017

Following a hugely successful SALTEX 2016, show organisers have reported that a record number of exhibitors have already re-booked for the 2017 event.

Compared to January 2016, SALTEX has accumulated more than 50 additional exhibitors during the loyalty re-booking period – the number of SALTEX 2017 exhibitors now stands at an impressive 182, which continues to grow by the day.

The combined attendance of 8,754 high-quality visitors over the two days at SALTEX 2016 no doubt played a major factor when exhibitors were deciding whether to return for 2017, but the post-show exhibitor survey offers a greater insight into the exhibitor’s experience at SALTEX 2016.

This survey confirmed the fact that 98 per cent of the 292 exhibitors rated the quality of visitors as being either good or excellent and 96 per cent of exhibitors reported that they were successful in generating new sales leads, while more than 60 per cent said that they took direct sales orders on the show floor.

A massive 96 per cent of exhibitors said that SALTEX was the ideal place to successfully promote or maintain their company profile and 93 per cent believed that they were successful in networking with existing and new customers while over 80 per cent said they achieved their objective of meeting dealers and distributors.

Survey findings also confirmed that more than 86 per cent of SALTEX 2016 exhibitors rated the build-up process as being either good or excellent with over 84 per cent commenting that they received excellent pre-show customer service. In addition, 92 per cent believed that the show organisers’ marketing and promotion of the event was excellent and in turn contributed to the large quantity of visitors.

Dean Winters, head of brands for Treadstone Products, said that after a few years away from exhibiting at the show, the company’s return to SALTEX was a hugely successful experience. “We were most impressed by the quantity, quality and diversity of visitors we spoke to. From very early on day one, the show was buzzing, with plenty of opportunities to talk to visitors about our product ranges. Over the two days, we far succeeded the amount of leads we had forecast and now have many quotes and projects to follow up.”

Ray Garvey from The Grasshopper Company reported an excellent debut at SALTEX. “This was our first year being directly involved with SALTEX, and the show exceeded our expectations. We sold a number of attachments at the show, arranged several further demonstrations and have a good number of other leads to follow up on.”

Long-term SALTEX exhibitor INTURF was also upbeat following the show according to joint managing director Alex Edwards. “We have supported SALTEX for three decades and the move to The NEC has cemented our future at the show. We had a very positive experience and have already booked for 2017.”

Tom Shinkins from GKB Machines was impressed with the widespread geographical reach of the visitors: “2016 was our second ever SALTEX as a stand-alone company, we received a good list of enquiries to follow up and we have booked for 2017. It was great to see to a wide range of people from across the industry from the UK and Europe.”

SALTEX 2017 will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 1 and 2 November 2017.

SALTEX 2016 visitors report a Hugely successful show

The SALTEX 2016 post-show visitor surveys have revealed a fascinating insight into the visitor profile of the show.

SALTEX 2016 featured three exhibition halls at the NEC packed with UK and international visitors. It was therefore encouraging to see that more than 80 per cent of the visitors rated their overall SALTEX experience as being either very good or excellent.

With 292 exhibitors from every sector on the show floor (28 more than 2015), it is no wonder that over 70 per cent of SALTEX 2016 visitors said that the main reason they attended was to source new products, services or suppliers. More than 40 per cent of visitors said that they attended to see the latest industry innovations, while many wanted to make the most of the show’s increased show features. Over 30 per cent of the visitors said that they attended for the Learning LIVE educational seminars and over 25 per cent attended to gain one-to-one turf advice through SALTEX’s ‘Ask the Expert’ feature.

As for the products and services that they were interested in viewing – machinery, power and hand tools led the way but there was plenty of interest in others.

An overwhelming amount of exhibitors reported serious business leads and significant sales, commenting that visitors were high-quality buyers with serious intent. The visitor surveys were certainly testament to this as they revealed that over 80 per cent of SALTEX visitors held purchasing responsibility with over 70 per cent able to sign-off purchases of up to £100,000.

Over 40 per cent of visitors said that they placed orders at the show with either existing or new suppliers while over 45 per cent said that they had registered interest which would lead to demonstrations or further discussions.

As for the type of facilities that they are responsible for, it was great to see such a wide array of visitors whose job role related to one or more of the following.

Finally, over 80 per cent of SALTEX 2016 visitors said that they would absolutely be returning to SALTEX again next year at the NEC on 1 and 2 November 2017 – reaffirming the exhibition as the must attend event of the year.

Successful SALTEX Shines Again

As SALTEX 2016 came to a close, it was apparent among exhibitors and visitors that Europe’s largest annual turf management event has found its rightful home at the NEC in Birmingham.

 SALTEX 2016 was taken to a new level after an independent audit confirmed that the combined attendance over the two day exhibition totalled an impressive 8,754.

 With 292 exhibitors (28 more than 2015), increased show features, an enhanced education programme and extended floor space which saw three exhibition halls packed with an overwhelming number of UK and international visitors – it was clear to see that SALTEX is growing.

 SALTEX 2016 also encouraged serious business leads and significant sales, with exhibitors reporting that visitors were high-quality buyers with serious intent.

 Gabriella Fox – sports sales and marketing coordinator for Harrod UK reported a successful show: “During SALTEX we obtained a number of strong business leads and maintained many relationships with customers, we were delighted with the amount of repeat and new visitors! We will definitely be returning to SALTEX in 2017 as we saw a 20% increase in leads this year.”

 Having previously opted to exhibit bi-annually at SALTEX, Reesink Turfcare has broken this trend by already committing to SALTEX 2017, with Holly Jones, marketing manager, commenting:  “We were impressed with SALTEX 2016!  Many of our customers visited our stand along with plenty of new ones.”

 Richard Fry, marketing director for Rigby Taylor, remarked on a successful event: “The 2016 SALTEX was the best ever, both in terms of the number of visitors to the Rigby Taylor stand and the quality. For us as a company, the move to the NEC has encouraged visitors to the exhibition from a wider geographical area and has brought in new, additional customers who view the location as a place to do business. Bring on 2017!”

 SALTEX’s educational programme – Learning LIVE – was bigger and better than ever before as visitors took the opportunity to listen to and discuss topical issues, learn from the industry’s leading experts and engage with high profile radio and TV personalities from Sky Sports, talkSPORT and the BBC such as Mark Saggers, Darren Gough, Barrie McDermott and Mark Clemmit.

 Lee Metcalfe, head groundsman at the Manchester City Football Academy, was particularly upbeat with the Learning LIVE seminars: “We all found that the seminars were very good and took something out of each one we attended. Education is the way forward and when free education is put on to help people better themselves, then I believe you would be silly not to attend and learn. We all really enjoyed the event and are looking forward to next year already.”

 New SALTEX continues to go from strength to strength and after the second year at the NEC the SALTEX team are delighted with both visitor and exhibitor reaction – firmly establishing this new look exhibition and the associated IOG industry awards as the key profile raising events in the calendar.

 IOG CEO Geoff Webb was delighted with the success of SALTEX 2016 and signalled the institute’s ambitions to continue to grow the show: “We are really pleased with the reaction to SALTEX 2016 – both days of the show were busy, and with the IOG Awards as well, we feel we have consolidated the exhibition at its new home at the NEC. With Learning Live, the SALTEX College Cup, Soil & Pathology Live all adding to the mix, we are already working on new features for 2017.

 “Overwhelmingly our feedback from both visitor and exhibitor was one of satisfaction and confidence in SALTEX. Set against a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty we are determined that SALTEX listens, learn from each year and evolves. We always look at what worked well and where there is room for improvement and that work has already started in preparation for SALTEX 2017.”

 SALTEX 2017 will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 1 and 2 November 2017.

SALTEX College Cup puts student turf managers on the big stage

saltex-college-cup-puts-student-turf-managers-on-the-big-stage-1The SALTEX College Cup made its debut this year at SALTEX 2016, in which a number of sports-turf students demonstrated excellent academic abilities. With five colleges participating, the competitive event highlighted that the industry is certainly in more than capable hands.

SALTEX 2016 yet again proved to be a place of opportunity. With a multitude of new show features, visitors made the most of SALTEX’s Ask the Expert feature where they gained free personalised turf advice; Pathology and Soil Science LIVE was an ideal opportunity for visitors to bring in problematic soil profiles to discuss with leading turf experts; and aspiring groundsmen went in their droves to the Young Groundsmen’s Conference to see how they could further their career.

The SALTEX College Cup was another unique new feature to come to the exhibition and by all accounts it was a resounding success.

In teams of four, students from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) – Northern Ireland; Askham Bryan – York; Writtle – Chelmsford; Myerscough – Preston; and Capel Manor – Enfield, embarked on the two-hour competition consisting of paper-based multiple choice and short answer questions on turf management, plus a case study which required a more in-depth written answer. The students were also presented with live test samples in which they had to identify potential threats to the health of turf.

The teams put pen to paper knowing that the winning college would not only get their hands on the SALTEX College Cup, but also ‘big’ cheque, a cash prize AND work experience at Wembley Stadium in the run up to next year’s 2017 FA Cup and FA Trophy tournaments. However, only one team could emerge victorious and CAFRE made history by ensuring that the Northern Ireland based college was the first to have its name engraved on the trophy.

Commenting on their success, Lead Tutor Paul Campbell from CAFRE said: “We were delighted to take part in the SALTEX College Cup. As a College who run Sports Turf Programmes at Level II, III and IV it was very beneficial for our students and their colleagues to see what skills the Industry valued and expected of those about to embark in career in groundsmanship. Also the competition gave CAFRE a means of bench marking the quality and content of our programme delivery relative to our peer colleges throughout the UK.

“Winning the Competition has boosted morale of staff and students alike and given them confidence to enter this and other similar competitions in the future. Additionally, there has been a great amount of media interest locally with the groundsmen being the focus of attention rather than the professional sports personalities they service. The unique nature of the prize at Wembley has also wetted the appetite of would- be participants for next year – as one member of the winning team put it “it’s a prize that money can`t buy and something that will live long in the memory.”

“CAFRE sees the competition as a unique opportunity to show case our student skills to the industry and equally a chance for the industry to show the standards expected from those leaving training and entering the work-place. There is no question CAFRE will be back next year to defend the title – the list of volunteers to take part is growing daily.”

Karen Proctor, marketing and communications manager- International at Ransomes, was also upbeat about the future of the competition: “The competition was a huge success. It was a fiercely contested battle between the teams, but in the end, the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise from Northern Ireland were worthy winners. Ransomes were delighted to be able to sponsor this fantastic initiative; it is crucial to invest in education and professional development to ensure that the turf industry continues to thrive. We hope there are many more SALTEX College Cup competitions in the years to come, and we look forward to being a part of that.”

Dan Prest, IOG learning manager and coordinator, who was instrumental in forming the very first SALTEX College Cup said: “I am extremely pleased with the competition. It was always meant to be a test of academic knowledge for the students with the aim of raising awareness of the technical knowledge that turf managers are expected to have now. The feedback from the judges is that the industry is no doubt in safe hands in the years to come but we need to improve our young turf managers all round skills set, something that the IOG is currently working on with a broader range of education offering. I believe the competition will grow next year as now the colleges that have not taken part have seen what they have missed, to get student turf managers on a bigger stage.”

SALTEX 2017 will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on 1 and 2 November 2017.

SALTEX 2016 to feature high profile names and key issues

Europe’s largest annual turf show is set to educate, enthral and entertain.

With 4 dedicated theatres, 53 unique seminars, 104 confirmed high-profile speakers and many key issues to be explored – Learning LIVE, SALTEX 2016’s FREE-to-attend educational programme, is undisputedly the place to be when the doors open at the NEC, Birmingham on 2 and 3 November.

A number of TV and radio personalities will be playing an integral role in the Learning LIVE programme and SALTEX will be the ideal opportunity to meet, see and hear from the likes of Darren Gough – former professional England cricketer and talkSPORT presenter; Barrie McDermott – former professional Rugby League player and Sky Sports pundit; Mark Saggers – journalist and talkSPORT presenter and Mark Clemmit – BBC presenter (The Football League Show)

A multitude of head groundsmen will be taking to the stage from top sports teams including Arsenal FC; Liverpool FC; Durham CCC; West Ham Utd FC; Sussex CCC; Tottenham Hotspur FC; Glamorgan CCC; Glasgow Rangers FC, Watford FC and Columbus Crew SC from US Major League Soccer.

Key personnel from world-class sporting venues such as Wimbledon (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club); PGA Centenary Course – Gleneagles; Wembley Stadium; Stade de France; Parc des Princes; Twickenham Stadium and BT Murrayfield will be offering fantastic insights into what it takes to work at some of the world’s most iconic venues.

Representatives from major national governing bodies of sport including Sport England; the FA; Sport Scotland; the SFA; Scottish Rugby; the ECB; the RFU; the RFL and the Racecourse Association will be revealing the latest sports facility plans and funding developments in their respective sports.

Learning LIVE will not only help delegates gain knowledge from some of the industry’s leading experts but it will also prove to be a unique opportunity to gain more clarification on topical issues surrounding the industry. In particular – the health fears raised over the use of rubber crumb infill in 3G artificial sports pitches. To shed more light on this, Professor Andrew Thorley – lecturer in Lung Cell Biology at the Imperial College in London will be on hand to offer his expertise and reveal what kind of research is currently being undertaken.

Elsewhere within the programme, visitors will have the opportunity to air their views and concerns regarding what impact leaving the European Union will have on the industry. In an organised panel debate, the implications of Brexit will be discussed and panel members will actively encourage questions from the audience.

Visitors to Learning LIVE will also be able to discuss current issues primarily concerned with weed, pest and disease control through the popular Amenity Forum Question Time. Chaired by John Moverley, this event could be of particular benefit to those wishing to be updated on the most recent banned substances such as carbendazim.

Elsewhere in the show, visitors are encouraged to bring in their soil samples to the Pathology & Soil Science LIVE feature, where renowned turf consultant Alex Vickers and MD of the Turf Disease Centre Kate Entwistle will be on hand at the IOG Hub (stand C180) to offer advice on its condition. During this new feature, Alex and Kate will also be displaying short video clips on fungi and plant parasitic nematodes in greater detail.

Other new SALTEX features include the return of outdoor machinery demonstrations on the grass area outside Halls 6,7 and 8, the Young Groundsmen’s Conference sessions in Theatre 3 plus the much anticipated national SALTEX College Cup competition for registered students at land-based colleges.

SALTEX College Cup Winners to Work at Wembley

Wembley-stadiumThe Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has announced that the winning students of SALTEX 2016’s new College Cup Competition will be given an opportunity to be volunteer groundsmen for the 2017 FA Cup final pitch preparation at Wembley Stadium.

 The SALTEX College Cup, sponsored by Ransomes, is a new national student-led academic test of turf management knowledge. The winning team will not only get their hands on the SALTEX College Cup, but a ‘big’ cheque, cash prize and work experience at Wembley Stadium in the run up to next year’s 2017 FA Cup and FA Trophy tournaments. This fantastic prize, which also includes two night’s accommodation near the stadium, was kindly organised by Alan Ferguson, FA group head of grounds and estates at St George’s Park, who believes that it will prove to be a highly valuable experience for the winning team.

 “I see the opportunity for the winners of the SALTEX College Cup to work through a cup final weekend with the Wembley team as a once in a lifetime prize. The unique opportunity to see the Wembley pitch prepared meticulously for the final of the world’s greatest cup competition viewed by millions around the world is special. Within hours of the cup winners going off the pitch, the grounds team are turning the pitch around for the games the next day – demonstrating the challenges of what a stadium team have to deal with. The pressures the guys work under and the volume of what is expected is eye opening.

 “I believe the professional game should work at every opportunity with young grounds people to make this type of opportunity available as a learning tool and we welcome the chance to be the first to do so,” says Alan.

 The SALTEX College Cup competition will commence on the morning of the 2 November – the first day of SALTEX – in a conference room close to the exhibition halls. In teams of four, the students will embark on a two-hour competition consisting of paper-based multiple choice and short answer questions on turf management, plus a case study which will require a more in-depth written answer. The competition will also include live test samples for the physical identification of threats to turf health. Dan Prest, IOG learning manager and coordinator, who along with IOG head of learning Chris Gray, renowned turf consultant Alex Vickers and MD of the Turf Disease Centre Kate Entwistle are combining their expertise in putting the questions together.

 The SALTEX College Cup is yet another prime example of the IOG’s dedication towards developing the future generation of the groundscare industry and CEO Geoff Webb is delighted to see others within the industry embracing the same philosophy.

Commenting on this exciting initiative, IOG CEO Geoff Webb says: “It’s great to have Ransomes involved with the SALTEX College Cup, and now the staff at Wembley Stadium offering such a fantastic opportunity to the winners of this inaugural event. Initiatives like this simply demonstrate the good work carried out behind the scenes to create such an opportunity and credit for the initiative goes to Dan Prest who got the whole idea off the ground. We look forward to the competition adding to the already great mix of events at this year’s SALTEX”.

Karen Proctor, Ransomes’ marketing manager international, commented on the turf equipment manufacturer’s sponsorship of the SALTEX College Cup:

 “We are delighted to be supporting this unique educational initiative, which is being introduced at SALTEX this year. Ransomes is always looking for opportunities to support the future of the turfgrass industry and we are extremely proud to be working in conjunction with the IOG to kick-start this initiative.  It will provide an excellent platform for like-minded individuals at colleges across the UK to network and display their technical knowledge. Good luck to all the students taking part, the opportunity to win a once in a lifetime experience to prepare the Wembley pitch in the lead up to the final of a major competition is definitely an incentive to win!”

 College teams interested in competing should contact dprest@iog.org