Turf buyers, specifiers and installers are being urged to place orders sooner rather than later for quality seeded turf required for landscaping projects during the year.
The advice comes from the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA) which is forecasting shortages of cultivated turf, and higher prices, over the coming 12 months due to continuing delays in re-seeding caused by the wet weather experienced nationally since last September.
Returns from the TGA members’ survey carried out in December 2000 reveal that the total turf area sown by members last autumn was 20 per cent down on predictions made in the members’ survey of June 2000 and 20 per cent down on the total area sown by TGA members in the autumn of 1999.
“The optimism of last June’s survey has been washed away by three months of autumn rain, the fuel blockades and, now, the foot and mouth crisis,” commented TGA spokesman, Graeme Forbes. “From reporting good business and good prospects in the summer of 2000, a number of turf growers have seen sales fall by 60 per cent. This was highlighted by last December’s TGA survey in which a staggering 79 per cent of respondents described current trade as ranging from fair to very poor.”
All is not doom and gloom, however. The survey revealed a healthy degree of optimism with 76 per cent of respondents stating that prospects for future trade look “good”. Despite the continuing move towards larger acreages of cultivated turf, there has also been a nine per cent drop in the number of staff employed by TGA members over the past four years, indicating improved operating efficiencies and continued investment in modern, high output tractors and machinery.
Many of the latest products which are helping growers and installers of turf achieve greater efficiencies and higher standards will be in action at the biennial TGA Field Days, taking place at Teal Farm, Wadborough, near Worcester, on 21 and 22 June.
The TGA is the only organisation in the UK and Ireland dedicated to the advancement of quality turf production. The TGA’s 32 members are all professional turf growers collectively responsible for producing approximately 70 per cent of the seeded turf grown in the UK and Ireland. Drawn up by independent turf consultant, Robert Laycock, and first published in 1996, the TGA Quality Standards for Cultivated Turf set out for TGA members and their customers a clear minimum standard for good quality turf used for general landscaping applications.
Graeme Forbes firstname.lastname@example.org