Emergency Drought Summit…..Syngenta

The emergency ‘Drought Summit’, called by the Government’s land resources agency, Defra, has highlighted the perilous state of the UK’s water reserves. Large parts of England are already experiencing drought conditions, with forecasters warning that it is likely to continue into the summer.
For turf managers from the north midlands to the south east and East Anglia, there is the very real prospect of water restrictions on irrigation resources. Many golf courses have already had restrictions imposed on existing abstraction licenses that would normally now be filling reservoirs ready for the summer.
Water companies in affected areas are now expected to file for emergency drought orders and drought permits that will impose further restrictions on water use. Defra Secretary, Caroline Spellman, said: “We have had the second dry winter in a row. I think that it is more likely that the public water supply will be affected, unless we have substantial rainfall between now and the summer.”
And almost inevitably the availability of water to golf courses and sports turf facilities is going to be turned off long before supplies to homes are cut. Syngenta Technical Manager, Dr Simon Watson, believes using available irrigation water more efficiently and ensuring plants can make the best possible use of rainfall will be essential for turf managers to maintain high quality playing surfaces this summer.
“An effective water conservation programme will be imperative, and possibly extended across wider areas of the course than has been considered in previous seasons,” he advised. “Courses that may have got by with heavy watering schedules in the past, will now need to look at better management of resources.”
Dr Watson reports that user trials with the new wetting agent, Qualibra, has demonstrated its valuable role for water conservation and shown it is possible to significantly reduce irrigation requirements, whilst still improving turf quality and appearance for players.
“The best results with irrigation can be achieved by applying a higher volume less frequently, compared to the little and often approach – providing the water is not simply lost through the soil profile. However, in the past, greenkeepers have been reticent to adopt this strategy if there was a risk of leaving the surface too soft.
“The unique double-action of Qualibra – which ensures rapid penetration of the surface water to retain a firm surface, but then holding more of the moisture available in the root zone – is ideally suited to improving the efficiency of water use and optimising plant health and quality through any dry period.”
Dr Simon Watson advocates that to get the best performance from Qualibra water conservation technology the programmes should start early in the season, ideally in March and early April. Each application will give six weeks or more of improvement in water holding capacity, with the potential for cumulative benefits in soil moisture efficiency and plant health benefits from repeated applications in a summer programme.
Syngenta Turf & Landscape
Tel: 01223 883441

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