IOG SALTEX – A celebration of success

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mwc-2281-crowdWith companies like DJ Turfcare saying this year’s IOG SALTEX “has been the most memorable” in 35 years – and Terrain Aeration confirming it had “a cracking show” – it’s no wonder that over 80 per cent of standholders have already re-signed for next year’s event.

Visitors, too, to Windsor Racecourse this month were quick to applause IOG SALTEX: “Our team of four from Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council thought this year’s event was a much better show, with much more variety of equipment on view. We checked out ride-on mowers and we selected two for demonstration. The suppliers will now come to Yorkshire so we can finalise a deal,” said Mick Clegg, the Council’s Assistant Operations Manager.

HRH The Duke of Kent was included among the thousands of happy visitors: he spent a very busy afternoon touring the event and meeting exhibitors. HRH The Duke of Kent was welcomed to the show by the Lord Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire, The Hon Mrs Bayliss, who presented him to Jeremy Bayliss; Councillor Jesse Gray and Mrs Christine Gray, Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead; Adam Afriyie MP; John Pullen, Managing Director of Royal Windsor Racecourse; and Eddie Seaward, Patron of the IOG.

“We were delighted to welcome HRH The Duke of Kent and his interest and support for our industry is really appreciated in such an economic climate,” said IOG Chief Executive Geoff Webb. “I know that HRH The Duke of Kent enjoyed his time at IOG SALTEX, a view also shared by all the local dignitaries who were attending for the second year in succession.”

With 455 company stands attracting over 13,500 visitors (pending ABC audit), which far exceeded last year’s attendance and was ahead of the attendance figure achieved in 2007 and 2006, it was clear that open space professionals from throughout the UK continue to steadfastly regard IOG SALTEX as the forum for everything they need to do their jobs more efficiently. As Nicky Moore, Head Groundsman at the University of Brighton confirmed: “It’s been an excellent day; the show is great for a general update on equipment, technologies and techniques for effective groundsmanship.”

The wide range of products on display and available for demonstration throughout the showground not only emphasised every aspect of open space management but with grounds professionals increasingly embracing wider roles, the myriad of exhibits also met the growing trend towards multi-tasking. IOG SALTEX clearly provided a one-stop information and product shop to meet every need.

Hundreds of new products were launched among the thousands of tools, techniques and tips available for groundsmen and greenkeepers through to play officers, architects, designers and surveyors as well as local authority and outdoor leisure facility managers. And it is clear that a high percentage of visitors were there with serious intent – not only to discover the latest money-saving ideas, but also to compare and buy the equipment.

As Lynda Green, Operations Director for Terrain Aeration, stated: “We took our first order before the show started – and the orders kept coming.” While David Jenkins, managing director of DJ Turfcare – which launched four new products – added: “This was by far the best show we have experienced and the quality of visitors was excellent.”

New products abounded for turf care enthusiasts – for example, new mowers from Dennis, Etesia, FG Claymore, Hayter, Ransomes and Toro; while exhibitors such as BSG (tractors), GreenMech (chippers), Husqvarna (chainsaws), Reco (utility vehicles), Ryetec (flail collectors), Sisis (scarifiers), Stihl (hand tools), Tracmaster (rotovators) illustrated the wide range of equipment being showcased for the first time.

Innovation was evident across the show, and, while technologies for turf care were in abundance, the ‘science’ of synthetic surfaces was also being addressed – none more so than by Charterhouse and the IOG which are intending to jointly launch an Internet resource service where grounds professionals can seek advice on a wide range of issues.

As usual, the play equipment exhibits were also popular – and while Wicksteed’s presentation of new play experiences again attracted much attention, Gerry O’Sullivan of the Childrens Playground Company stated that “if your business is play equipment then IOG SALTEX is the business!”
Visitor Robin Davis, Parks Manager at Reigate & Banstead Council concurred: “IOG SALTEX is the best place to keep up to date with play equipment by actually seeing it in the flesh.”

The show caters for the complete open space management sector and evolves year on year to meet growing demands, including this time the introduction of a Nursery Stock Area and the Sports Equipment Zone, which were both bustling with business.

Also catered for is the arboricultural industry and as well as an exciting programme of lumberjack sports that drew crowds to the Gristwood and Toms stand, the schedule of demonstrations by the BTS Group of tree access, aerial rescue and chainsaw use and maintenance also grabbed attention in the World of Arb feature area.

The special ‘arb’ seminar sessions in the popular IOG SALTEX Education Programme were packed, as were the newly-introduced lunchtime networking sessions on Smart machinery management, Cricket, Synthetic pitches and Contractors.

As part of the comprehensive programme of well-supported seminars in The Grandstand, the updates presented by Chris Gray (carbon footprints), Charles Henderson of the STRI (natural/organic fertilisers), Dr Kate Entwistle (turf diseases), Paul Mathers of WRAP (green waste) and the Amenity Forum’s John Moverley (pesticides) all provided timely and informative updates for a wide spread of visitors.

The Grandstand was also the venue for the FA Groundsman of the Year Awards, which included the presentation to Swansea City FC head groundsman, Dan Duffy, as the IOG Professional Football Groundsman of the Year.

Of course, IOG SALTEX is also as much about imparting up-to-date advice and knowledge, and interspersed among the hundreds of exhibitor stands were the special feature areas.

The Sports Turf Skills Village and the Live Machinery Demonstration Area (in conjunction with the AEA) were again crowd-pullers, as well as the Intermediate Final of the WorldSkills UK Landscape Gardening competition, where the four teams from Capel Manor, CAFRE, Oatridge and Otley Colleges battled it out. The winners were Capel Manor College.

All in all, IOG SALTEX 2009 was heralded an overwhelming success – a fitting milestone as the IOG celebrates its 75th Anniversary.

• IOG SALTEX 2010 will be held on 7-9 September at Windsor Racecourse, Berks, and will embrace fine turf and sports surfaces, turf maintenance equipment, children’s outdoor play and safety surfacing, landscaping, contractors, commercial vehicles, outdoor leisure and facilities management, as well as software and security equipment. The show is attended by open space management professionals and contractors – from groundsmen and greenkeepers through to play officers, architects, designers and surveyors as well as local authority and outdoor leisure facility managers.

For more information visit www.iog.org

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