Thursday, January 29, 2009

Green Options at the Golf Industry Show

Regular readers of goforethegreen know that I rarely mention products by name, and that I prefer to refer to management techniques that use less man-made, non-renewable inputs. Recently I was reviewing some products and services that will be showcased at the upcoming Golf Industry Show in New Orleans, and I happen to come across a few examples of products and technologies that stay within the realm of goforethegreen's mission. So over the next week I'll be showcasing some of the products with strong green attributes, and contribute to the overall sustainability of the golf industry.

As our industry strives to become more efficient, for environmental and economic reasons, I enjoy seeing products that aim to achieve both of those results. I recently had a brief email conversation with Kevin Davies of Nutrient Technology Partners, makers of NutriLife - a fertilizer meta-catalyst, which enables a higher fertilizer efficiency rate of 25% or more.Davies says "In very quick terms, we allow the nutrients in fertilizer to be made more available to the plant – in this case turf – and therefore the user can actually reduce the amount of nutrients (fertilizer) they need to use. This use less approach is in itself the very beginning of being more environmentally responsible, but with our product they still get high quality turf. Our ability to increase the amount of nutrients that get into the plant by 50 to 75% allows superintendents and lawn care companies to trust this ability to reduce the amount of nutrients they put in the soil. In addition to using less, their is a nice economic reward to the user as even with the price of our product added to the cost of the fertilizer they save money – i.e. spend less. This is key as some of the “Greener” approaches cost too much money for the users to adopt, even if it is better for the environment they can’t afford to make the change, or they don’t deliver the quality the user is looking for. This combination of using less, and getting more into the plant gives us the environmental benefit we are all looking for – leave less".

I like the "use less", "spend less" and "leave less" approach.

Davies makes a very interesting point, it is hard to adopt some of the green options when they cost more, especially during a recession. I think in the mean time products like this have a very good place in the market.

I did notice in some of NutriLifes promotional materials that a study at Auburn University revealed that the NutriLife fertilizer significantly out-performed untreated fertilizer in a recent study. The researchers applied catalyzed 18‑5‑9 fertilizer to bentgrass at 4 pounds/1,000 square feet, and conventional 18‑5‑9 fertilizer at the same rate. Bentgrass treated with the NutriLife fertilizer had 37-percent greater average root diameter, 91-percent higher fresh root weight, and 105-percent higher fresh shoot weight.

All of that is great, but I couldn't help to notice a few other characteristics of this product that interests me. Studies have shown that NutriLife helped reduce the total amount of salt found in soil tests at Texas A&M extension service, a reduction greater than 60%. In addition, and this one I really like, Nutrient Technology Partners claim that in a Arise Research and Discovery study, NutriLife was shown to have a 48% reduction in nitrates at 12" depth, 57% in nitrates at 30" depth and decreases Phosphate leaching by 37%. The later interests me because every where I look (Michigan, Westchester, Canada) I see bans on Phosphate and calls to reduce applications of fertilizers that contain it.


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