Turf management app assists greenkeepers

The use of technological advances in the turf industry is increasing, and with four out of five adults in the UK owning a smart phone, more greenkeepers are turning to the use of mobile apps for identification and guidance.

Dr Colin Mumford, Bayer technical manager, explains how the free Bayer TurfXpert app, can help greenkeepers to solve misidentification problems and offers advice on tank mixing and application timings.

Weed, pest and disease identification

“The TurfXpert app helps greenkeepers to recognise diseases, weeds and pests present in turf, helping to reduce misidentification.

“It’s simple to use,” says Colin. “For example, to identify weeds, you can choose the leaf shape and flower colour from a list of options. For diseases, you work through a list of general symptoms, including the foliar indications and sward composition.

“However, if greenkeepers are unable to identify the problem, there’s an ‘identify’ button which can be used to send up to three pictures directly to the Bayer Turf Solutions Team,” he says.

Colin always aims to provide feedback in 48 hours, with the identity of the weed or disease and the most suitable treatment for it.

He adds this can be very useful as disease misdiagnosis can be devastating.

“To aid identification I’d always recommend looking at historic disease data as well as ensuring that you’re aware of favourable conditions to help keep the turf as healthy and stress free as possible.”

Tank mixing advice

From specialists to turf professionals, Bayer has also found that greenkeepers value a device that helps with the often-complicated calculations for tank mixing.

“The TurfXpert app helps users to determine product requirements by mapping out a specific area using GPS technology to accurately calculate the exact amount of product required to treat the chosen area. On top of this, any applications that have been made can be recorded in the sprayer log section,” says Colin.

Weather forecast

The app also features local weather information to aid the greenkeeper’s decision making.

“The weather feature is more relevant to greenkeepers compared to the standard forecast as it not only provides the user with local weather forecasts, but also provides other parameters including evapotranspiration, growth degree days and surface dew point temperatures,” says Colin.

The TurfXpert app is just one part of a wide offering from the Turf Solutions Team. “We aim to provide solutions, information, support and guidance. While we help remotely with identification via the app, we’re also happy to go out for site visits and advise on any issue,” says Colin.

[Box out]

Bayer TurfXpert app features:

  • Free to download

  • Advice on disease, pest and weed pressure

  • Ability to send photos for identification to the Turf Solutions Team

  • Mapping option to measure out specific areas and calculate spray dosage

  • Spray record section

  • Detailed weather forecasts, including surface water run-off and soil temperature

Testimonial

The TurfXpert app helped kickstart my career”

Assistant greenkeeper, Oliver Durham, from Normanton Golf Course in West Yorkshire, first used the TurfXpert app while at Askham Bryan College and continues to find it a useful guide that’s always close to hand.

Weed, pest and disease identification and management were key themes in my Level 2 sports turf qualification and continue to be a part of the syllabus for Level 3, that I’m currently working towards.

So, to help get to grips with this often-challenging aspect of training I downloaded the TurfXpert app, finding it particularly useful for both my college studies and revision for the SALTEX College Cup and Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year competitions.

Not only does the app provide a visual guide to weeds, pests and diseases, but it outlines the conditions that encourage their development, what the symptoms are and their life-cycles. It then suggests the most suitable cultural and chemical treatment options, which really speeds up the decision-making process.

Now that I’m qualified and working out on course every day, if I ever want to double check something, the app is always in my pocket, so I can find a solution in a matter of minutes.

It’s so simple and easy to use. There’s even an option to take a photo of the problem weed pest or disease to send to the Bayer team, to identify it and come back with advice on the best solution, tailored to your particular course conditions.