Australian Sports Turf Consultants (ASTC) provides independent inspections and reporting of turf farms, sports fields and commercial installations as part of Quality Control work for clients. This may include, but not limited to, turf certification, turf quality and suitability reporting, inspections for contamination, weed, pests and diseases, DNA and supplementary analytical testing.
Turfgrass Certification: An example of a certificate that is provided to the Client or Principal Contractor following an independent farm inspection conducted by ASTC. Documentation of this nature is often requested by their organisation or client for Quality Assurance purposes.
The Turf Certification "Turf Rating" (0.6 to 5 stars) is based on the following information and criteria:
- Turf Quality Rating - Rating of 1 to 9, with 1 being poor or dead, 6 being acceptable and 9 being perfect or ideal. The weighting Turf Quality has on the Turf Rating is 55%.
- Contamination: Rating of 1 to 9, with 1 being high, 5 being moderate, 7 being few and 9 being none. The weighting Contamination has on the Turf Rating is 25%.
- Weeds: Rating of 1 to 9, with 1 being high, 5 being moderate, 7 being few and 9 being none. The weighting Weeds has on the Turf Rating is 10%.
- Pests and/or Disease: Rating of 1 to 9, with 1 being high, 5 being moderate, 7 being few and 9 being none. The weighting Pests/Disease has on the Turf Rating is 10%
For current Clients:
To find out background information on your turfgrass variety visit TurfFinder.com. To review a report or download a turf certification certificate following a recent inspection, please enter your link below provided by ASTC and press the submit button.
For prospective Clients:
ASTC staff thoroughly inspect turf paddocks to identify undesirable active growing turf species present within turf species where quality and ‘true-to-type’ plant material is important. ASTC provides the client with a comprehensive independent report on the observations made during the inspection and lists recommendations in order to control contamination, limit future incidents and maintain quality control of the desirable turf variety.
Reports of this nature are often requested by turfgrass breeders/owners, turf farms, high profile facilities, or councils and/or construction companies involved in (re)turfing of sports facilities or public spaces to monitor quality control of the turf to be supplied for the project.
For turfgrass breeders/owners in particular:
The quality and reputation of your product is important in marketing your turf to the consumer. High quality turf varieties, particularly those protected by Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR) need to be quality controlled. This may include turf certification, the implementation of a genetic assurance program and morphological-agronomic variation identification. ASTC staff work with turf breeders and licensees of PBR protected varieties to help maintain standards and purity of their turf variety growing on Australian and international turf farm(s). This service provides quality control, increases standards within the turf production industry, but most importantly, it protects your brand, reputation, customer satisfaction and future sales. Contact us to find out more.
Contamination in Turfgrass
In recent years numerous discussions have taken place between turf farm owners, breeders, consumers and/or IP Australia (who administrate Australia’s intellectual property (IP) rights system, including Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR)) regarding turfgrass contamination. ASTC Director Matt Roche asked the Chief of Plant Breeder’s Rights Mr Doug Waterhouse the following question regarding quality control and contamination within PBR protected turf varieties.
Q. “If contamination is found within a PBR turf variety growing on farm, is this considered unacceptable and can the turf farm or breeder be in breach of the PBR Act [Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994]?”
A. “There are many elements to this question, not all of which are PBR; for example, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (formerly known as the Trade Practices Act 1974) adequately deals with mendacious variety declarations. Thus if a grantee sells turf as one variety when it is actually another, recourse is through normal competition law. Accordingly both seller and buyer should establish the purity of the material on offer.
In addition, PBR accepts that varieties have some “contamination” usually by way of “off types”. This is the “uniformity” standard of which you are aware. There is also the “stability” standard, though for asexually reproduced varieties, this is of lesser importance.
In relation to uniformity, there comes a time when the material is so un-uniform that it no longer complies with the variety’s description – and therefore is arguably not the variety anymore. Obviously this does not apply to (deliberate) admixtures which fall within competition law as outlined above. Grantees are responsible to ensure that their varieties remain true to their description when grown in the relevant environment" (D Waterhouse 2013, pers. comm., 12 September).
Of significant note is Mr Waterhouse's comment in relation to "Accordingly both seller and buyer should establish the purity of the material on offer." This should be in the form of independent turfgrass inspections and turf certification.
ASTC staff are specialists in the identification and management of the following warm-season turfgrasses species:
- Cynodon hybrid and green couch (Cynodon spp.)
- Buffalo grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum)
- Blue couch (Digitaria didactyla)
- Zoysia grass (Zoysia spp.)
- Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum)
- Paspalum (Paspalum spp.)
- Marine couch (Sporobolus virginicus).
Recent inspections have been conducted by ASTC for:
- 2018 Commonwealth Games - Carrara Sports Precinct (training field and main arena)
- Eagle Farm Racecourse redevelopment
- Townsville Racecourse redevelopment
- Local councils.
Turf breeders or production companies who are utilising the services of ASTC to assist with Quality Control include:
- AusGAP and Lawn Solutions Australia (LSA) growers
- HG Sports Turf
- Hancey's Turf
- Grand Prix green couch being grown at Tinamba Turf and previously at Turf Force.
- Tinamba Turf growers of Wintergreen green couch.
- New Frontier Brands Pty Ltd the Licensors of New Frontier (TBLL) buffalograss.
- Oz Tuff Pty Ltd the Licensor of OZ TUFF green couch.
- Cervadon Ltd the owner of AgriDark (AGRD) hybrid green couch.
- Ozbreed Pty Ltd the (former) owners of Zoysia varieties Empire and Nara, and buffalograsses Palmetto and Sapphire.
ASTC is also the 3rd party independent auditor for the Turf Queensland's Turf Accreditation Program (TAP).