WCTA 2014 Turfgrass Research Update - $500k Milestone Reached


by Jerry Rousseau

A year ago, I stated that the importance of turfgrass research may never have been so obvious.  This fall, the WCTA surpassed the half million dollar funding milestone, reaching $509,927 in turfgrass research project contributions since 1997.  The highest dollar figure in any one year was $53,230 (2002) with an average of just under $27,000 annually.

Still, continued pressure to sustainably provide optimum playing surfaces, along with an intensely high level of budget scrutiny, increasingly challenges professional sportsturf managers in every sector in every location to a degree not seen previously.

The good news is, as an industry, we are poised to succeed.  One of the primary mandates of the Western Canada Turfgrass Association is to foster turfgrass research for the betterment of the entire sports turf and golf course industry.  And while problems don’t typically go away by themselves, the structure to help find solutions for the changing parameters we’re facing already exists.  Manufacturers certainly have a role to play in proving their products through research, but independently funded projects and initiatives will always be a critical part of the resolution generation process.


How we fund turf research

The dollar value available to the Research Committee any given year comes from 10% of annual WCTA member dues, 30% of any net operational profit left at the end of the previous year, member, allied and industry donations like the annual BC Golf Superintendents Association contribution and through all the on-going fundraising efforts like our Silent Auction, 50/50 draw and other campaigns like Peter Sorokovsky’s ‘Give Me 5 Buck’s’ initiative and the KPU Turf Club’s multiple efforts/functions that generate thousands of turf research dollars. 

Note that many research projects are jointly funded which helps to reduce the overall burden on one particular group.  For example, the Canadian Turf Research Foundation (CTRF) collects funds from several provincial groups like the WCTA, rolls it all together and distributes it on a national scale.

2014 Summary

Based on what was raised in 2013, the dollar value available to the Research Committee for 2014 distribution totalled $35,188.  The following projects were put forward by the Research Committee and approved by the WCTA Board:

Project Title: Canadian Turf Research Foundation Cooperative Funding
Past and current research is published at www.turfresearchcanada.ca
PROJECT LENGTH:   multiple projects / varies
TOTAL PROJECT VALUE: $231,000 over 3 years (2013 – 2015)

Project Title: Evaluation of Alternative Management Strategies to Reduce or Eliminate the Use of Fungicides for Control of Microdochium Patch, Oregon State University
More money is spent on fungicides to control Microdochium patch than any other turfgrass disease in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest United States. Turfgrass managers continue to be scrutinized when it comes to pesticide use for the control of problematic turf pests. This project will evaluate cultural practices as well as new alternative products that have shown potential to control Microdochium patch. Each component will be evaluated individually and upon completion of the two year research project be integrated into a complete management program for the control of Microdochium patch with the intent of greatly reducing or eliminating fungicide use.
CURRENT STATUS: An interim report was provided in April.  50% of funding has been disbursed.  Awaiting final report. 

Project Title: Investigation of the Okanagan Valley resident  Canada  goose sub-population to assist with strategic goose management
Our goal is to continue investigating the resident (i.e. non-migratory) sub-population of Canada geese that reside within the Okanagan Valley. Our study will help determine how geese use the valley spatially and temporally. In doing so we expect to discover a) if the population is closed (e.g. new geese do not immigrate into or emigrate from the population, and population growth occurs from locally nesting birds), b) if the goose population seasonally fluctuates due to migration patterns of non-resident geese (e.g. do migratory Canada geese that have nested in northern Canada boost the valley sub-population during spring and fall migration or winter?), and c) if the valley goose sub-population uses the entire valley or if geese restrict their movements to specific areas (e.g. do geese in specific communities use only the respective community region or do they migrate along the valley and to what extent?). Understanding these questions will be extremely advantageous to designing and implementing management techniques to alleviate conflict with resident Canada geese and reduce goose-related damage and management costs.
CURRENT STATUS:  a final summary report is expected to be printed in the Sept/Oct Turf Line News 

We would like to thank all of our Turfgrass Researchers and of course all Turf Research contributors, without whom our Turf Research program simply would not exist.  Please note that the Western Canada Turfgrass Association accepts no responsibility in respect to the opinions and data expressed in the editorial material or outcome of the research projects.  The views do not necessarily represent the views of the Association.