A powerful new internet-based decision support service specifically developed for the UK and Ireland is now available to turf managers through Syngenta. Called GreenCast, it gives turf managers early warnings of likely disease attacks and weather events via a dedicated website, www.greencast.co.uk
Developed by Syngenta Professional Products over the last two years, GreenCast provides turf managers with detailed weather information and key disease forecasts across the UK and Ireland. With up-to-the-minute accurate information, available
24-hours a day, GreenCast gives an early warning of impending changes in weather conditions, predicts disease infection levels and helps turf managers decide the optimum time to apply fungicides.
The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) and a number of golf courses across the UK have rigorously evaluated the system. The key turf diseases covered by GreenCast are Fusarium Patch, Dollar Spot and Foliar Anthracnose.
STRI pathologist Ruth Mann commented, “GreenCast supports the optimum time for fungicide application, when plants are infected but before symptoms are seen. The trial has demonstrated that accurate timing has a huge influence on effective control and it is an important step in enabling golf courses and sports turf managers to be far more proactive and efficient in their turf management. Trials at the STRI in 2005 demonstrated that, by following GreenCast recommendations, excellent disease control could be achieved while reducing fungicide inputs by up to 25 per cent compared to alternative programmes.
“GreenCast will help enormously in getting application timing right to achieve the best results, and justification for spraying decisions to achieve the most cost-effective results.”
The basic GreenCast advisory service is provided free of charge via a dedicated website – www.greencast.co.uk – with more sophisticated forecasting available on the GreenCast Select Service.
Subscribers to the enhanced service have access to five-day, hourly weather forecasts provided by their nearest weather station; and access to localised five-day disease risk forecasts and spray window forecasts on an hour-by-hour basis over a five-day period.
Duncan Kelso, course manager at Kings Hill Golf Club, in Kent, has been trialling GreenCast for four months. He said, “GreenCast enables you to be one step ahead when it comes to adapting short and long term maintenance schedules, thereby gaining maximum efficiency and value out of product applications, whether they be fertilizers or chemicals.”
A long time user of GreenCast is Ian Morrison, course manager at West Hill Golf Club, in Surrey. “I have been using GreenCast for two years. Initially I used it while I was head greenkeeper on the Edinburgh course at Wentworth and subsequently here at the West Hill Golf Club. I have found it to be an extremely useful management tool. In addition to the technical information available on turf diseases and products it has accurately predicted Dollar Spot and Fusarium Patch disease attacks. This has allowed me to manage these diseases in an efficient and effective way.”
Syngenta Professional Products business manager Simon Elsworth is enthusiastic about the potential of the system. “With reports of a whole host of diseases affecting turf more aggressively and for longer, a new system that helps turf managers predict disease attacks more effectively must be a real advantage.
“GreenCast is also of considerable benefit to turf managers looking to develop an Integrated Turf Management (ITM) approach to more effective disease control, incorporating all the key elements of cultural practices, disease resistance, biological control and the effective use of plant protection products. Fungicides are an integral part of ITM programmes, but the key is application of the right product at the right time to get the best effect and this is what GreenCast is all about.”