Partnerships are a vital component of the process of innovation and many a great achievement has come about as the result of professional collaborations.
Following the 2012 state election the DEEDI Research Centre at Redlands, Southeast Queensland was shut down due to budgetary restraints. This left the turf industry in limbo and in need of specialised research methods and experienced professionals to carry them out.
The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) noticed the void left by the shutdown and saw an opportunity to lend its expertise to the Australian and wider Asia-Pacific turf industry.
Based in the United Kingdom, STRI has spent over 80 years managing research projects for sports associations, product and machinery manufacturers, product producers, and governmental bodies and organisations.
With a long history of excellence and experience in state-of-the-art turf research methods, the turf community has welcomed STRI’s arrival to Australian shores.
Noticing an opportunity to collaborate with a world leader in turf research, Lawn Solution Australia (LSA) approached STRI earlier this year.
As the largest conglomerate of independent turf growers in Australia LSA has become a market leader and the largest supplier of turf and turf related products in the country.
“We recognised Lawn Solutions Australia as being an organisation who pride themselves on their excellence as a product provider and we saw that we shared a common goal within the industry to not only comply with the increasingly high standards enforced by regulatory frameworks but also commit to industry best practice,” said Dr Marke Jennings-Temple, STRI’s Asia-Pacific Director of Operations.
Although Jennings-Temple admitted research is not a lucrative aspect of the business, it is one of STRI’s core functions and provides a platform to give back to the industry by providing the space, time and the skills needed to investigate new products and techniques.
This, he said, helps to keep the industry moving forward by developing solutions for the changing nature of turf management and regulatory controls.
With a number of new chemical trials scheduled to commence, LSA offered almost 1500 square meters of turf to STRI for inclusion in the 18-month trial, the first of the partnership.
When asked how the arrangement was working out LSA’s Simon Adermann replied, “Really well, both organisations are on the same page and we’re excited about having our turf types in research trials for the suitability of new chemicals coming into Australia.”
“We’ve seen this as an opportunity to contribute to the upkeep of the high level of standards and practices which exist in the turf industry and it has allowed us to ensure our top species are included in the trial, adding value to the research and in the long-run, will give our customers the confidence to use these new products on our turf types once they are released.”
With the combined industry growing-experience of 43 separate turf farmers, LSA are widely considered the nation’s premier supplier of top quality turf across a vast range of species.
Their continued focus on being the leading Australian turf body made them an obvious choice to partner with STRI for this trial.
Among the contributions made by LSA has been some of their keynote turf species including: Eureka Kikuyu, Nullarbor Couch, Platinum Zoysia and perhaps their most well-known brand in Sir Walter Buffalo.
Though research trials of this nature are not uncommon, this inaugural venture between LSA and STRI is a primary example of how partnerships between growers and research bodies can support the continued development of turf products specifically for the Australian market.
Results from the trials should be finalised in early to mid 2017 and will signify the conclusion of this first joint endeavour.
With any luck this will be the first of many co-operations between the two organisations, the benefits of which will flow into the greater Australian turf industry.