October 2014

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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10 SportsTurf | October 2014 Field Science Pesticides The other area where technology has really helped me conserve is pesticide application. Living in the land of corn and soy beans, I was seeing GPS technology being used everywhere. Why not on our fields? was the question we asked. So we built a sprayer (with John Deere's help) that is GPS-equipped. The outside booms are their own single zone and are automatically controlled by the GPS controller. This doesn't allow any overlap which means we never double apply anywhere and can closely monitor flow rates and application rates from the seat of the sprayer. The other bonus that I didn't expect is that we can know apply at twice the speed we used to and are far more precise. Using this technology shows that we are committed to applying chemicals responsibly and as accurately as possible. It could also lead to pesticide reduction if you have vast areas that you're spraying or struggle with small overlap areas. GPS technology is not available to all sports turf managers due to costs, but thinking about ways to reduce overlaps and making sure application rates are correct is an important part of being a conversational- ists. It is our responsibility to make applications as accurately as possible. Fertility Another practical area for conservation is fertility. Regular soil tests and plant monitoring is absolutely necessary. Soil tests don't have to be done every year, but they should be done often enough for you to know what's going on with your soil. Fertilizing to specific soil needs is not only going to save you money, but it will also save on nutrient fate in the environment. Each year is different with rain, temps, and field use. Thinking about all components of what the soil, environment, and field playability will help you justify fertility needs. If you are doing this before fertilizing then you are conserving when you maybe didn't know it. cultural Practices Cultural practices are another way we act as conversationalists when we may have not realized. If you are keeping sandy and native soil fields free from compaction and consistent throughout the soil profile you are giving the plants an environment to grow healthy with fewer inputs. If the plants can grow roots and respire more efficiently you will have a healthier grass stand that may need fewer inputs like fertilizers and pesticides. So keep poking holes, pulling cores, and slicing the fields you have. It may save you from disease and other issues that arise when the soil profile is compromised. Conservation, many of you are already doing it. My hope in writing this article was to share some of the things we do at Iowa State University to help conserve the environment we have. Many of you already conserve, don't be afraid to share those details with your superiors. The general population needs to know that managing natural grass fields is a very specific science and we as sports turf managers take it very seriously. Sharing that we are con- versationalists could help change the perception that some people have toward our industry. ■ Tim VanLoo, CSFM, is manager of athletic turf & grounds for Iowa State University and the Higher Education representative on the Sports Turf Managers Association Board of Directors. The outside booms on this sprayer are each their own single zone and are automatically controlled by GPS. This doesn't allow any overlap and closely monitors flow rates and application rates from the opera- tor's seat. Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

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