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Genetically Modified Turf Grasses - Nothing New Here.....

StriOops, someone has pressed his buttons again! 'The mass development of genetically modified crops risks causing the world's worst environmental disaster', The Prince of Wales has warned the media yesterday.

I agree with his royal comments of the larger crop breeders squeezing out the small local farmers who are pressurised to buy the large crop breeders' crop protection chemicals such as fungicides at highly inflated prices. Still the EU are not exactly supporting British Farmers, preferring our EU Partner Countries to produce arable food crops instead.

In Turf Culture, we have been genetically modifying Turf Grasses for years so the concept is not new in our industry....

The Sports Turf Research Institutehas a long successful and world renowned history of investigating the biology and performance of turf grasses. Indeed the first grasses trial for golf was sown in the Institute trials grounds in Bingley, West Yorkshire in August 1929. Today the work of this division is fairly wide ranging but can largely be grouped into three activities; Turfgrass Species and Cultivar Evaluation, Turfgrass Protection and Ecology.

Without the research into Turf Grasses, we would still be looking at really muddy Premiership Football Pitches on Boxing Day. Each year the STRI produce their Turf Grass Seed Booklet. The purpose of Turfgrass Seed is to report comprehensive results of available varieties in trials designed to test suitability for: Use in winter sports pitches, such as football and rugby fields, and municipal recreation areas (Sports Uses Trials) Use in lawns, summer sports pitches, tennis courts, turf and general landscaping (Lawn Landscaping, Summer Sports and Turf Trials) Use in the intensive management seen on golf and bowling greens (Greens, Close Mown Trials)

Their research into breeding methods and in situ trials includes classifications of grasses with the greatest resistance to Red Thread Disease and Rust Disease as well as freedom from Leaf Spot Disease and Winter Hardiness and Colour. Their ecology trails detail the minimum amount of Nitrogen fertiliser a Rye Grass can live on each annum, they simulate the wear generated by 22 football players on a football pitch each week for a season and the ideal mowing heights that separate grass species and cultivars can sustain or not being mown at all

Gm_protest_2All in all, jolly important research that allows professional Turf Managers total choice and also ease of mind when installing and maintaining Sports Pitches under his/her control - for the benefit of all users. Without access to this information there would not be so much global sport played on natural turf on the television and the vast leisure industry that has been generated around it.

If food crops were not genetically, and to be honest we have been doing it for hundreds of years until it became 'trendy' by those that have nothing better to do with their time than dress up in coveralls and masks and gloves and run through GM crops trashing them, we would not get the yields at harvest and the said protesters would go to bed hungry. Farmers in Third World Countries do not always have access to seeds of crops that once in the soil growing, are able to withstand disease and tolerance to drought and insect damage. They go hungry.

Perhaps the GM protesters will stop watching sport played on a natural turf surface if they feel that strongly about GM crops and use their spare time, often at the tax payers expense on a gaining worthy science degree. There may be more debenture seats and season tickets available to those that do not give a GM Turf Sod!

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