In true Kiwi fashion, it would’ve been fitting for Southern Turf Managers to be listening to a bit of Crowded House en route to Cromwell after being exposed to four seasons in one day on Wednesday for the Southern Turf Managers Association AGM and trade day held at the Otago Polytechnic.
While some braved shorts hoping for a taste of the 19 degrees forecasted, the sight of snow on the mountain ranges and cool sun showers was a sign that winter was finally approaching after a prolonged autumn with below average rainfall and a mild May to boot throughout the region.
Around 55 delegates were welcomed onto the reinvigorated polytechnic practical site which in time is set to become the central hub of the Cromwell campus which includes a variety of courses from Sports Turf management to horticulture/viticulture, carpentry and brewery course in the newly established Rough Rock Brewing Co on the Bannockburn Rd site.
The current site was a hive of activity with huge vibrating rollers preparing potting houses outside the brewing facility sending shockwaves throughout the building and out onto the 6 hole golf course maintained by the students.
The AGM was the first port of call and as usual nominations for office were low with Jud Rawcliffe (Cromwell G.C) voted back in as president after being thrown into the deep end in 2018. Meanwhile Rick Machray (Arrowtown G.C), John Humphries (retired) and Ron Davis (Balclutha G.C) maintained their respective roles.
John congratulated Jud on his first year as president and urged younger members to think about playing a role on committee and office next year after once again indicating this will be his last year as treasurer.
Other members voted in or returning to committee were Tom Patterson (Maniototo G.C), Craig Parata (Otago G.C), Michael Minty (Island Park G.C) and Warren Erickson (Clinton G.C).
STMA award winners were also announced with Wyndham Golf Club golf club winning Best Presented 9 hole Course. For those of you into your harness racing – yes this is the golf course which encroaches into the race track in the eastern Southland area.
The volunteer award was won by the group from Queenstown Golf Club while former Otago Golf Club apprentice Hayden Coutts won the trainee award. Hayden is currently in the US on the Ohio State programme.
While the AGM was reasonably quiet there were a couple of matters raised.
A surplus which was allocated to educational purposes for members still remained from the Southern Fine Turf Seminar. Some of these funds have be allocated to assist members with registration fees for the upcoming NZ Fine Turf and Central North Island Fine Turf Seminars. Members were urged to support these events after many travelled south to Dunedin for the southern event in 2017.
Dunedin based NZSTI Agronomist Dave Howard spoke briefly on the new Otago Reginal Council water plan around Nitrogen discharge rates and how our industry could be affected. David is seeking clarification around this issue specifically targeting the agriculture industry but it is likely to affect our industry in the future.
One member also brought up holding another 2 day seminar in 2020 similar to the North Otago/South Canterbury one last year. Cromwell was suggested as the ideal location for this with the committee members to get together over the next couple of months to decide on a suitable date and whether any other associations are planning anything similar to avoid a clash.
The trade show got under way prior to lunch with the delegates split and sent to 9 stations to view presentations from contractors, machinery, irrigation and fert/seed representatives.
Lunch proceeded after the first lot of presentations at the local “Town and Country Club” overlooking the picturesque Kawarau arm of Lake Dunstan.
The final presentations concluded just after 4pm. There appeared great interest in the hybrid greens mowers among the machinery trades which just like cars, appear to be the way of the future. While these machines have been on the market for a while, they are appearing on some of the small clubs throughout the region illustrating the change of thinking around noise, emissions and cost effectiveness within club hierarchy.
The next field day is planned for July 10th at the Winton Golf Club in Central Southland.