Technology and Turfcare
Toro Distributor Reesink Turfcare’s Irrigation Manager
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Inside Technology and Turfcare
The world of smart technology is evolving exponentially, and it is thought by 2020 that over 200 billion devices will be talking to each other and sending data on the web*. From buying a cup of coffee to controlling our thermostats, smart devices are continually putting more convenience and control at our fingertips.
With computer software, hybrid and all-electric equipment and even autonomous mowers being innovated and launched by forward-thinking companies, technology is helping turfcare businesses to better manage resources and helping workers to complete tasks faster. And as we all know speed combined with accurate information are critical in today’s business world and thanks to technology, business is now conducted at the speed of thought and at the click of a remote button.
Using technology and connecting certain elements of turfcare management online can help golf course professionals and groundspeople maintain the perfect playing conditions every day by providing actionable data to help optimise turf management decisions.
The Toro Company has identified a virtual ecosystem of products and services such as irrigation control, fertiliser and pesticide application, turf and soil monitoring, equipment performance monitoring, and technical support that when connected online help reduce operating costs, enhance safety and more.
The key is that these information sources not only connect to the internet to send and receive data, but will even connect with each other in the future, providing smarter, more integrated solutions that deliver increased value. The ultimate benefit is a big-picture perspective that delivers more insights about managing turf.
Technology has brought us accurate and easily accessible information and data is one of the biggest things helping industries to manage resources better and complete tasks faster. The more we know, the more solutions, tactics and plans can be implemented.
Turfcare professionals don’t have time to wade through data; they need to be out getting the job done. Delivering connected information on one platform brings easy access to all aspects of the turf, showing how it all comes together to enable decisions to be made that maximise the performance of the crew, the equipment and the turf instantly.
With systems on the market able to wirelessly transmit data on everything from the weather to nutrients in the soil, for the first time accurate information on all aspects of turfcare management is available to turfcare professionals from one access point.
We all know that whatever your surface – football stadium, golf course, cricket ground or rugby pitch – effective irrigation is vital to the healthiest grass and to affect the playability.
Advances in technology mean that where once turf managers were reacting to conditions in order to care for turf, they can now formulate more specific plans based on accurate data. By being able to prepare and implement what the turf needs in advance, rather than trying to fix issues after the fact, the quality of the playing surface can be maintained to the highest standard ensuring the best playability for customers.
When it comes to irrigation, accuracy is key. Having access to information, such as how much water your turf needs, gives turf managers the ability to implement the best course of action which can result in huge reductions in water used and significant cost savings. Which is why smart irrigation control systems that effectively utilise modern technology are so beneficial. The difference between irrigating for a minute versus 55 seconds might not sound big, but with the volume of water being used by sprinklers it quickly adds up, so having the ability to recognise the exact amount your turf needs and implementing that should not be underestimated.
Being able to access irrigation information in real time from any mobile device with an internet connection is vital in this day and age and possible thanks to products such as the Lynx Central Control system. Now, the touch of a button is all it takes to make changes to your irrigation plan, and with additional extras such as the weather station, you can adapt in response to changes in the weather, no matter where in the country you are.
As well as giving you the ability to monitor and change your irrigation, advanced software systems also allow you to access all the information you need from one place. Having all the information you need readily available and combined into a single intuitive interface gives you greater control than ever before.
Toro Lynx Central Control can be accessed using a smart phone.
Turf and soil monitoring
One of the best ways to get accurate information on the turf you maintain is to invest in a soil monitoring system. With systems out there that can track soil moisture, salinity and temperature on a daily basis, it’s never been easier to make turf management decisions with pinpoint accuracy.
Traditionally, turf managers are taught ways to improve water absorption or how to care for turf when it’s worn out. While it’s still valid to learn this today, with the role that technology now plays, decision making for many turf managers is now more down to the analysis of data. How to interpret that data and implement the best course of action is where the challenge now lies.
The Toro Turf Guard Wireless Soil Monitoring System, for example, accurately monitors soil conditions, allowing turf managers to access the essential soil information they need, when they need it. The Turf Guard sensors instantly track soil condition in real time and can support up to 500 sensors per course or grounds.
Fertiliser and pesticide application
There are a wide range of products applied to turf by spraying, from products that help deliver essential nutrients, to those which protect it from diseases and weeds. Whatever the purpose, ensuring uniform coverage and the correct volume of application is vital to maintain high quality turf conditions.
The increasingly sophisticated options on the market for computer-assisted mechanical sprayers is helping to protect playing surfaces by allowing turf managers to apply products with extreme precision over larger and more irregular terrain.
Toro’s GeoLink Precision Spray System is an example of one of the systems that can help you to achieve a more accurate spraying application, utilising GPS technology to help guide operators and ensure even coverage.
Toro's GeoLink Precision Spray System
Equipment performance monitoring
When it comes to the core elements of turfcare management, having the best cutting edge technology will help to improve profitability and playability. And this is certainly true when it comes to the management of turfcare machinery. Perhaps one of the biggest investments a turfcare manager can make, ensuring the proper use and maintenance of machinery is vital and made all the more accurate and easier with technology.
With the capability to monitor fleet health, order parts and schedule service activities, easy to use software which tracks your assets improves staff efficiency, lengthens the life of equipment and reduces overall maintenance costs. And with Toro’s myTurf Pro web-based asset management system, you can access real-time data for all your assets.
Whatever technology you invest in backup support is vital. Just as you would have IT support for your office computers and laptops, you need it for your turf technology. Making things even easier on that front Toro has created the NSN technical support, a web-based customer portal which provides customers with a knowledge-sharing database, online chat and remote central connectivity and monitoring. So you can get support whenever you need it, wherever you are.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
First coined by the philosopher Aristotle the phrase ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ aptly defines the modern concept of synergy, as we know, together everyone achieves more. This is the approach of the Internet of Turf™, Toro’s umbrella term for how it connects the multiple aspects of turf management we have discussed here.
Using the internet, it brings together five of Toro’s key technological products Lynx Central Control System, Turf Guard Wireless Soil Management System, GeoLink Precision Spray System, myTurf Pro Asset Management System and NSN Technical Support, to make a whole that brings even more benefit than its parts for customers.
When managing all aspects of turfcare, there are many different elements to consider, and the biggest benefit technology provides is ease of access to information. With the use of software systems that can be accessed via the internet, you can now find the information you need for your irrigation, machinery, soil and more in one easy to find place.
For the first time, turf managers can completely bring together irrigation and machinery, and with a comprehensive overview of all the elements of their role, less time is spent manually collecting data and more time is left for the important tasks.
With technology advancing almost constantly, having access to all the information technology can garner will only become more useful as its application in turfcare continues to evolve.
*Source: IDC, Intel, Aberdeen