STA Victoria held a Safety & Education Forum at Holmesglen’s Glen Waverley campus this month with major sponsor Bayer Environmental Science.
The premise of the day was to discuss with guests the importance of safety when using chemicals in the workplace, something greenkeepers, groundsmen and superintendents do nearly every day of their job.
Bayer’s Territory Sales Manager for Turf, Craig Burleigh opened the seminar, speaking about the regulatory process each Bayer product goes through before it is available for sale, and the advancements the company has taken to ensure production of safer chemicals.
Burleigh went in depth about how Bayer check new products meet all the requirements of environmental toxicology, and also the rigorous testing they do to also make sure non-targeted species are not affected by new chemicals.
Burleigh said the biggest challenge of bringing new products into the market is the research and costing. Research and development of a new product is very costly, but consumers expect to pay less these days, causing an occasional disconnect between manufacturing and sales.
Guests also heard from Agronomist Sam Myott from Sports Turf Consultants, which is now a part of the STRI Group. Myott spoke to guests about the correct placement of chemicals, and how in today’s workplace it is no longer just management’s responsibility to understand what chemicals are being used and why, but also the responsibility of the person doing the application.
Myott discussed good herbicide application techniques, such as timing it effectively with your irrigation schedule, rainfall (where possible) and mowing schedule.
It’s also important not to apply herbicides to turf that is under stress, from moisture, low fertility, frost or water logging.
Before a short break, attendees heard from Dawn Mowers’ Area Manager, Danny Condran.
Condran ran through a handy multi-pro spray nozzle selection guide, saying a lot of mistakes people make come down to using the wrong nozzle matched with the wrong spraying speed.
Guests then moved outside to look over the Toro Multpro 5800 Spray Unit as Condran ran through how it operates.
After morning tea, guests regathered to hear from the final speakers of the day, firstly SunSmart educator Sam Osborne.
Osborne talked with guests about UV Safety, and in a short period of time ran through some chilling facts and figures about sun safety and UV rays in Australia – most scary was that two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer.
Peter Wilson from ToxFree talked about his work with ChemClear and their work in the handling and disposal of hazardous chemicals.
Nathan Tovey from e-par focused on chemical application documentation, and its importance in today’s workplace. It is now a legal requirement to manually or digitally record the use of all agricultural chemicals in Victoria within 48 hours of application, so it is something everyone should be taking seriously!
Before closing summaries, John Neylan from Turfgrass consulting introduced guests to STA Vic’s new research project on Safety on Sportsgrounds. The number of sports field construction and redevelopments have increased over time to keep up with the growing demands of quick turnaround times, increased use and foot traffic. The new project will focus and test in the high and low use playing areas of elite fields and community fields, in locations such as Frankston, Bayside and Mornington Peninsula.
Closing statements came from STA Victoria’s President, Danny Edmunds who thanked the guest speakers, and attendees for coming, he also mentioned a few upcoming events for STA Victoria members to mark down in the calendar:
STA Cricket Wicket Seminar:
Wednesday, July 19 at AAMI Park. Danny mentioned STA had already locked in Roo’s player Brent Harvey to speak at the event.
September: Practical Field Day at Melbourne Grammar
November: Toro Forum and Roadshow
& Sportsfield Irrigation Seminar
We will keep you updated on the dates of these events when they are confirmed. Thank you very much to STA Victoria for another insightful and interesting seminar, we look forward to the next event in July!