WCTA 2016 Turfgrass Research Update

12.01.11-WCTA-in-PullmanWA200from Jerry Rousseau

One of the primary mandates of the Western Canada Turfgrass Association, along with many of our allied groups, is to foster turfgrass research for the betterment of the entire sports turf and golf course management industry. 

The scientific process has been a critical component in the evolution of our industry and continues to drive us forward, operating in the background, advancing the field and providing solutions to everyday challenges.  As the industry finds itself increasingly engaged in advocacy efforts, there is great need to detail and quantify all the good things that turf does for us.


Since 1997, The WCTA has invested $537,427 into turf research projects.  The highest dollar figure in any one year was $53,230 (2002) with an average of just under $27,000 annually.  The money comes from 10% of all member dues, 30% of any net operating profit at year end, but mostly, from the contributions made by those in the industry and the hard work of many individuals over the years directed at fund-raising initiatives. 

The WCTA would like to thank and recognize those individuals, groups, companies and institutions who have contributed generously to turf research project funding so far this year. 

2016 Silent Auction contributors - $5211
Kwantlen University Turf Club raffle proceeds - $4010
BC Golf Superintendents Association - $1250
Irrigation Association - $150
Olds College - $150
Jeff Hoyem - $100

At the time of writing, $21,756 has been raised and we're closing in on last year's total of $24,614.  Any help achieving our goal of $25,000 is highly appreciated!  Money raised in 2016 will be put toward 2017 projects. 

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.

15.08.05-thatch.collapseResearch Priorities
Current priorities for WCTA turfgrass research funding are as follows:

-Nutrient and fertility management, best management practices 
-Soil and root-zone management, best management practices 
-Evaluation of alternatives to pesticides 
-Irrigation and water use issues (water quality and reducing water usage) 
-Investigations into the biology, ecology and management of current and emerging pests 
-Alternative cultivar and species for new turf construction, integration and conversion into existing turf areas 
-Species/cultivar evaluation and improved management practices for areas of heavy traffic and wear tolerance

2016 Turf Research Funding Summary
Based on funds raised in 2015, cash available to the Research Committee for 2016 projects was $13,599.  With disbursements totalling approximately $17,000 (the difference will come from long-term investments), the following projects were put forward by the Research Committee and approved by the WCTA Board for 2016 funding:

Project Title: Canadian Turf Research Foundation Cooperative Funding
The CTRF collects and distributes research monies much like the WCTA but on a National Scale.  We have contributed to this collaborative approach to research funding annually since 1992. 
PROJECT LENGTH:    multiple projects / varies
See http://www.turfresearchcanada.ca/current-research for list of current research projects

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.
PROJECT LENGTH:    2 years
WCTA COMMITMENT:   $7500 USD or approx. $10,500 CDN 
*total commitment from Canada = $15k USD.  OTRF also putting forward $7500 USD

Project Title: Investigation of the Okanagan Valley Resident Canada Goose Sub-population to Assist with Strategic Goose Management
Our goal is to investigate 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.

Update on Previous Research
We have received an interim report from Dr. Eric Lyons, University of Guelph for the project titled ‘Economic Analysis of Natural and Synthetic Sportsfields’.  Half of our $15,000 commitment to this 2 year, $22,500 project has been fulfilled.  Project completion is expected in March, 2017.

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.

If you wish to contribute to turf research through the WCTA, please contact Committee Chair Peter Sorokovsky at peter.sorokovsky@burnaby.ca