GreenCast in UK and Ireland - New Qualibra wetter technology
An exciting new concept in wetting agent technology from Syngenta was launched at BTME 2012 (Harrogate, 24-26 January). Qualibra combines the best attributes of both the traditional penetrant and polymer type products, into one easy-to-use solution - quickly moving water away from the surface to optimise playing quality, and then crucially holding soil moisture more efficiently, evenly and deeper within the root zone, for enhanced utilisation by turf plants.
Trials in the lab and on the golf course have shown this improved retention of soil water deep in the root zone can improve the efficacy of irrigation and efficiency of water use - leading to better plant health and colour.
Targeted use of Qualibra could help greenkeepers make better use of irrigation resources, as well as minimise effects of dry patch to maintain better turf quality
The root zone activity works to prevent hydrophobic areas forming within the soil profile and allows soil particles to hold soil moisture more efficiently. The unique Qualibra formulation, developed by Syngenta, ensures the water holding capacity can be retained for up to six weeks, ensuring continuously high levels of performance between applications. The fully non-ionic design has proven extremely safe to turf.
Move surface water down:
Retain soil moisture at depth:
ü Keep the surface firm
ü Maintain putting speed
ü Achieve a clean cut
ü Reduce conditions conducive to disease
ü Maintain water availability
ü Lower plant stress
ü Optimise irrigation
ü Enhance rooting potential
ü Minimise effects of Dry Patch
Speaking at the BTME launch, Syngenta Technical Manager, Dr Simon Watson, reported trials have shown that even with just one application, Qualibra treated soils retain moisture more effectively in the root zone and can make better use of irrigation resources. After 10mm irrigation on a hydrophobic dry soil core of a typical sand-based green construction, soil moisture content was 50% higher with Qualibra, compared to the average achieved with existing wetting agents tested - which offered little improvement over untreated.
"Furthermore, Qualibra got the hydrophobic soil back to optimum moisture content after 19mm of irrigation - over 25% better performance than other wetting agents tested. In fact, with some other wetting agents over 50% more water would have been required to get the soil back to desired moisture content," he added. Additional studies have shown that on non-hydrophobic soils Qualibra facilitates good water movement and poses no risk of excess retention or water logging.
Dr Watson (above) highlighted that Qualibra has also been shown to encourage greater root mass and deeper roots. "Healthier rooting helps turf make better use of both rain and irrigation water resources. It can also help utilise available nutrients more effectively and recover faster from periods of stress. Stronger plants maintain better playing surface quality."
Glenn Rayfield, Head Greenkeeper at Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club in Suffolk, has already experienced the benefits of Qualibra in trials. With typical rainfall of less than 50cm (20 inches) a year, he has hitherto relied heavily on twice a week tee-to-green irrigation to maintain turf quality through the dry summers.
"The recovery rate after irrigation on the two Qualibra treated fairways was very quick, and the water uptake noticeably more efficient than the rest of the course," he reported. "On the evidence of what I have seen, using Qualibra would mean I may only need to irrigate once a week - a big saving in time and money.
"Whilst the other fairways looked like they were ready for more water within days, the two on the trial looked fresh and green and stayed that way. The appearance was unquestionably better than elsewhere."
Mr Rayfield said it had changed his whole view on the economies offered by wetting agents, certainly as far as irrigating the fairways are concerned. "I never thought a wetting agent could be a cost saving factor, but the signs are it could be a real money saver for us."
Qualibra will be supplied in the fully recyclable Syngenta Spac, with recommendation for application at 20 l/ha every four to six weeks. Click here for full details and application information.
A recent Syngenta survey of over 300 golf players from clubs and courses across the UK revealed that the occurrence of brown Dry Patch areas was the greatest area of dissatisfaction in greens quality. Rod Burke of Syngenta added: "We clearly saw that smooth ball roll was rated as the most important factor in players' assessment of greens quality. Using Qualibra to minimise the effects of Dry Patch and maintain healthy turf is an essential part of greenkeepers enhancing the playing experience.
"Improving water use efficiency of an increasingly scarce and expensive resource is likely to become ever more important for turf mangers and golf clubs in future years," he added.