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.

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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


Pathology & Soil Science LIVE Comes to SALTEX 2016

cricket-coreThe Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has announced that a new unique feature called Pathology & Science LIVE will be coming to SALTEX 2016, which will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on the 2 and 3 November.

The Pathology & Soil Science LIVE area will be located on the IOG Hub (stand number C180) from 11am to 1pm each day and will allow visitors to look in detail at the symptoms of some common turfgrass fungal disease problems, as infected plants are magnified and displayed on a large screen. Turfgrass roots that are infected with plant parasitic nematodes will also be shown in order to demonstrate the way in which these parasites can affect root development and function. During this informal demonstration, short video clips will also be shown to allow visitors to see both fungi and plant parasitic nematodes in greater detail.

Pathology & Soil Science LIVE will be hosted by renowned turf consultant Alex Vickers and MD of the Turf Disease Centre Kate Entwistle.

Kate, who works closely with turf managers, consultant agronomists and technical representatives from across the amenity sector, in the UK and beyond, said: “Visitors are welcome to come along with any questions about turfgrass disease or simply call in and spend a few minutes enjoying the microscopic world of pathology. It’s a great new feature and SALTEX is the ideal place to hold such an event.”

Likewise, Alex who works within the IOG’s Turf Care Advisory scheme, believes that the new feature could be extremely beneficial: “This will be particularly useful for visitors who may have any soil profiles that are causing problems or concerns. They can simply pop in to discuss or even bring in a core sample or a good photograph – we can then look at it together and work out how it could be improved.”

The addition of Pathology & Soil Science Live is just one of a number new features coming to SALTEX 2016. In a matter of weeks, show organisers have announced both the highly anticipated SALTEX College Cup as well as the return of outdoor demonstrations. Combined with core features of the show such as the Young Groundsmen’s Conference, the enhanced LEARNING LIVE educational programme, Ask the Experts AND the IOG Industry Awards, SALTEX 2016 will be the most exciting turf management event to date.

Perhaps this is why visitors from as far as China, Saudi Arabia and the USA, have already pre-registered for the exhibition.

Visitor registration to SALTEX 2016 is free

Expanded LEARNING LIVE educational sessions announced for SALTEX 2016

Expanded-LEARNING-LIVE-educational-sessions-announced-for-SALTEX-2016-768x512LEARNING LIVE, the all-encompassing education programme designed for all sectors of the groundscare industry, has now been finalised and is set to be a major attraction at SALTEX 2016 on the 2 and 3 November at The NEC, Birmingham.

SALTEX 2015 featured 1,655 minutes of FREE seminars through the LEARNING LIVE programme and, off the back of its success, show organisers have commissioned an additional fourth lecture theatre to expand the number of presentations across the two-day event – to offer an even more exciting programme featuring a greater depth of content and quality.

This programme will provide grounds and open space practitioners across all disciplines – volunteer as well as professional, with a daily feast of FREE knowledge-gathering sessions.
The sessions will take place in four dedicated LEARNING LIVE seminar theatres on the SALTEX show floor, and will include the added bonus of Young Groundsmen’s Conference sessions – which will focus on the needs of young people within the industry and will be hosted by industry experts and the Institute of Groundsmanship’s (IOG) Young Board of Directors.

Seminar Theatre 2 will be hosted by talkSPORT radio presenter Mark Saggers. This theatre will accommodate leading speakers from across the sports turf industry, as well as influential experts in major sports facility and event operation.

Karl Standley (Wembley Stadium) along with Alan Ferguson (FA group head of grounds and estates at St George’s Park) have been confirmed as Keynote speakers in which they will be starting procedures by presenting a seminar entitled ‘Rising to the challenges of modern-day stadia demands.’

Other expert speakers will include: Darren Baldwin head of playing surfaces & estates for Tottenham Hotspur who will provide an insight into the club’s new unique and innovative stadium; Dougie Robertson (West Ham United FC); David Roberts (Liverpool FC); Jonathan Calderwood (Paris Saint-Germain FC) and Reece Watson (Arsenal FC) in a discussion on the past, present and future of groundsmanship; David Roxburgh (Glasgow Rangers FC) and William Watson (Hamilton Academical FC) will explore what the future holds for Scottish football and Weston Appelfeller field manager for Major League Soccer (MLS) team Columbus Crew, will provide an interesting glimpse into groundsmanship in the USA.

From a rugby perspective, Barrie McDermott, head coach of Leeds Rhinos will be on hand to discuss the role of sports ambassadors in turfcare, while Jim Dawson and Alex Latto (BT Murrayfield); Tony Stones (Stade de France) and Keith Kent and Ian Ayling (Twickenham) will reveal the secrets of pitch performance at last year’s Six Nations tournament as well as look ahead to the 2017 event.

Other sessions include Wimbledon’s Neil Stubley (AELTC) who will discuss a new strategy for growing knowledge at grassroots level, while experts on a panel debate will focus on what impact Brexit could have on the industry.

Park keepers, landscapers, contractors, engineers, horticulturalists, those working for local authorities and councils, plus groundsmen who have responsibility for the upkeep of play equipment will benefit from attending sessions in Seminar Theatre 1, where seminar highlights include; Mark Hardy from the Association of Play Industries (API), who will present some thought-provoking evidence that contrasts UK planning policy for play provision with that seen elsewhere in the EU; Simon Rose from West Bletchley Council will reveal how local governments can work with partners to boost the quality of amenity services; the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) will stress the importance of adhering to the Sustainable Use Directive (USD) – with particular reference to sprayer testing requirements; Wayne Grills, chief executive of the British Association Of Landscape Industries (BALI) will highlight the importance of the structured card-based LISS/CSCS scheme and will introduce the audience to the BALI-NCF (BALI National Contractors Forum). The ever popular ‘Amenity Forum Question Time’ will also be taking place in this theatre which will see a panel of experts drawn from across the sector responding to audience questions on a range of topics regarding pests and diseases.

Sports turf and playing surfaces will be further explored through sessions within Seminar Theatre 3, with the likes of Steve Chappell, head greenkeeper of PGA Centenary Golf Course at The Gleneagles Hotel who will discuss thatch management in preparation for major golf tournaments; Caroline Davies from the Racecourse Association will provide an insight into grounds staff training at UK racecourses and Giles Roberts, estates manager at St Peters School will explain exactly what independent schools look for in producing the safest sports pitch facilities of the highest quality.

The Rigby Taylor and Top Green-sponsored Young Groundsmen’s Conference, which has been organised by the Institute of Groundsmanship’s Young Board of Directors will also be held in Seminar Theatre 3, and will offer a fantastic opportunity for young people looking to develop a rewarding career in groundsmanship. The Young Board of Directors, along with key industry experts, will be on hand to explore topics such as when is the right time to take on more education, how volunteering can help you stand out from the crowd and advances in turf care technology and how best to use it. It will also be a good opportunity to find out more about grounds management opportunities in different sectors and what they can offer.

Educational sessions in the newly added Seminar Theatre 4, will take a more scientific approach with the likes of Professor Andrew Thorley exploring whether rubber crumb really does pose a health risk; a panel including Alan Ferguson and Jason Douglass from S&C Slatter will be debating whether synthetic turf 2* is a threat to groundsmanship and Simon Gumbrill from Stadium Grow Lighting (SGL) will be looking at the technical advances in stadium management.

Many of the LEARNING LIVE seminars have CPD points connected to them. No pre-booking is required – simply ensure that you arrive promptly to make sure you get a seat.
To view the full LEARNING LIVE programme visit

Visitor registration to SALTEX 2015 is free.

SALTEX to address Brexit impact on industry

SALTEX 2016’s all-encompassing and free-to-attend LEARNING LIVE programme is set to explore what impact leaving the European Union will have on the industry, when the exhibition opens its doors at the NEC, Birmingham on the
2 and 3 November.

Designed to cater to all visitors that maintain or manage pitches, estates, grounds, landscapes, play areas and parks, LEARNING LIVE will play a major role at SALTEX and will offer an extensive information-sharing experience, an incredible line-up of guest speakers and will focus on key issues thatsurround the industry – Brexit being one of them.

In an organised panel debate, the implications of leaving the EU will be discussed. Professor John Moverley, chairman of the Amenity Forum has been confirmed as a panel member and will seek to specifically address the implications for weed, pest and disease control, as well as the amenity sector as a whole.

Commenting on the debate, John said: “At this moment in time we are at a very early stage but, as well as posing a challenge, it is a time of opportunity to influence future decision making and represent the sector’s
interests. I look forward to a lively debate.”

Other panel members include managing director of Turfcare Technologies David Cole from the industry supplier sector and chair of the IOG’s Young Board of Directors Will Graves who will discuss the impact of the Brexit decision for young people in the industry. More high profile panelists will be confirmed shortly. As John says, a lively debate is set to ensue and it could prove to be an ideal opportunity for visitors to raise any issues they may have
regarding Brexit’s impact on the wider industry as the panel members will actively encourage questions from the audience.

Elsewhere within the LEARNING LIVE programme, the Amenity Forum is set to host the ever popular ‘Question Time’ which has been modelled on the BBC programme. John will be reprising the ‘David Dimbleby’ role by chairing the event and the invited panel of experts, which includes Will Kay from Languard, Mark De Ath from Headland Amenity and Stephen Jacob from BASIS Registration, will receive questions on current issues primarily concerned with weed, pest and disease control. They will have no pre-warning of the questions and members of the audience will be invited to help present these and make comment. Based on previous years, the event promises to offer a highly-informative and animated debate.

SALTEX 2015 featured 1,655 minutes of free seminars through the LEARNING LIVE programme and, off the back of its success, this year show organisers have commissioned an additional fourth lecture theatre to expand the number of presentations across the two-day event – to offer an even more exciting programme featuring a greater depth of content and quality.

John believes that the exhibition provides the ideal platform to educate and enlighten the whole of the industry.

“I believe the new NEC venue worked extremely well for SALTEX last year and certainly all exhibitors seemed very busy. There was a great buzz in the halls and it certainly seemed to me to meet its objectives.

“SALTEX is a major event in the amenity calendar – it provides an opportunity for people from across the sector to meet, learn of new developments, discuss topical issues and do business.

Visitor registration to SALTEX 2016 is free.