Dr. Stacy A. Bonos recently received DLF’s 2021 Excellence in Research award for her contribution to the development of new turfgrass cultivars that deliver superior performance with less resource inputs.
Bonos is a professor of plant biology as well as the current director of the turfgrass breeding program and associate director of the Center for Turfgrass Science at Rutgers University. She has been on the faculty at Rutgers for 20 years, co-developing more than 250 cool-season turfgrass cultivars. Her meticulous breeding efforts has helped advance turfgrass science related to disease resistance, wear tolerance and cool weather active growth.
Sean Chaney, vice president of professional turf sales for DLF U.S., was presented the award to Bonos in person while touring the Rutgers Plant Science Research Extension Farm in Adelphia, N.J.
“We would like to recognize and thank Dr. Bonos and her colleagues for all they have done for the industry, as well as for DLF and its Seed Research of Oregon brand,” Chaney said. “We value our partnership with her team at Rutgers University and look forward to future varietal developments.”
The DLF Excellence in Research award helps recognize the significant impact and progress made to date in turfgrass breeding, and celebrates the continued collaboration between DLF and public turfgrass research programs.
Syngenta has announced the launch of its new WeevilTrakSM annual bluegrass weevil assurance program. In addition to guaranteeing the performance of Syngenta products for fighting ABW on golf course turf, the assurance also guarantees prevention of all white grub species and turf caterpillars in the applicable states.
“For the last nine years, Syngenta has been the industry leader in helping superintendents control ABW, grubs and turf caterpillars. Years of research developing products, the program and the timing with WeevilTrak uniquely positions Syngenta to develop this guarantee to help superintendents feel confident about controlling ABW all season,” said Stephanie Schwenke, market manager for turf at Syngenta. “This is the first and only guarantee of its kind in the industry and we’re proud to be able to support it alongside all of the tools superintendents have come to trust as part of the WeevilTrak program.”
Annual bluegrass is the most troublesome insect for golf courses in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and its impact continues to spread. Syngenta is well-known for its WeevilTrak program, which features Acelepryn, Ference, Provaunt WDG and Scimitar GC insecticides, as well as in-season monitoring of ABW populations by 11 trusted industry researchers. Superintendents registered for WeevilTrak have access to local pest development alerts, application timing recommendations and real-time blog updates from researchers.
“ABW is notoriously challenging to control, so making product applications at the proper timing is critical,” said Dr. Mike Agnew, technical manager for turf at Syngenta. “The years of Syngenta research coupled with constant seasonal monitoring from WeevilTrak ensure the assurance program recommends the proper application timing of proven products for the greatest success.”
To qualify for the assurance, users must:
- Be registered for WeevilTrak
- Follow the guidelines outlined for their region in the optimum control strategy
- Purchase products from an authorized Syngenta distributor or retailer
As part of the GreenTrust 365 early order period, which runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 8, 2021, superintendents can save on purchases of the products featured in the assurance by qualifying for year-long rebates. Additional savings opportunities during the early order period include:
- The ABW Solution pallet, containing Acelepryn, Provaunt WDG and Ference, which offers 10 percent savings
- The GT Bonus Booster rebate, which offers up to 3% savings for purchases made in October
- The Plan It Your Way rebate, which can be applied to purchases of Acelepryn half-gallon bottles for up to 12 percent savings
- Volume pricing on Acelepryn purchases for savings up to 10 percent
Another budget season has arrived and it’s going to be exciting! Pandemic impacts, parts and material shortages, and cost increases across the board have all combined to make this year’s predictions of next year’s actual costs an epic adventure. Now is the time when savvy superintendents prove their worth, especially when it comes to budgets and financial plans.
Your accomplishments and challenges next year will be linked in some way to this budget. There is a lot at stake. You will need more than a crystal ball to be successful, so let’s review the flow of the budgeting process with tips for a year of opportunity.
First things first, I know that it’s been a tough year (or two) but take a deep breath and get organized before you start planning next year’s financials. Clear your mind, clean your desk/office and set a few personal deadlines that will allow you to take small steps toward the tasks that align with property operational benchmarks. Make sure your systems (computer, internet, notepad and, of course, the calculator) are functioning properly.
Gather pertinent historic data and reach out to your vendors for their best available updates on trends as well as current and projected pricing. Separate your labor expenses by job group (full time, part times, seasonal, hourly, salaries etc.) labor will be an even bigger issue in 2022 so try to be creative within your market using flex schedules and perpetual recruiting.
Review existing controllable line items and consider changes that will minimize large swings and inconstancies. For example, will you put aeration tines in the “Operations Accounting” line or the “Equipment Repair” line? What has been done historically and in what months? Will you aerate more or less in 2022? Plan the work and then work the plan. Make sure you identify any accounting forms/processes and consider making customized forms, charts and graphs to explain the value of your spending.
Be prepared for resistance
This year more than ever expect resistance and deep questions as you present and defend your budget for 2022. Being prepared takes the emotions out of the situation while establishing your credibility as the local expert. Be professional, know the data points, show up early for the formal meetings and above all speak to your expenses as investments and insurance policies that all indirectly generate revenue that allows the business to be profitable and sustain itself year to year.
Identify the top three items that will need to be defended and practice your responses in exact words (written and spoken). Dress appropriately for budget presentation meetings, confirm dress codes with senior stake holders. Knowing the larger financial picture is another plus. You should not just know your numbers but the overall performance of the operation as well to gain insights and perspective to ensure you get a fair share of the available assets.
The actual crafting and approval of the budget is a public relations opportunity for the golf course superintendent. It is easier to earn a budget increase if you can effectively communicate the value and details of the financial ask. You should have pictures, descriptions and third-party consultant (arborist, architect, electrician, building contractor, etc.) recommendations available as needed to use in reports, meetings and official club communications. Make sure not to send out confidential information beyond the approved groups.
The trick is to be aware of upcoming expenses and let it be known that these items will need to be addressed and at what cost/value. Your track record of accuracy and flexibility when the chips are down will be another advantage that should be communicated often. You should be wielding words and numbers as powerful support for your agronomic value as if your job depends on it, because now more than ever it does.
Anthony L. Williams, CGCS, CGM, is the director of golf course maintenance and landscaping at the Four Seasons Resort Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, and a frequent Golf Course Industry contributor.