Turfgrass program gets cash boost

The Olds College turfgrass research program should enjoy a growth spurt, thanks to a $2.3-million injection of money.

The Olds College turfgrass research program should enjoy a growth spurt, thanks to a $2.3-million injection of money.

The college announced on Monday that the program has been awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grant, with the money to be provided over five years. The Olds College Centre for Innovation, along with its industry partners, had submitted a funding proposal entitled “Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Canadian Prairie Provinces.”

One of those partners is the Alberta Turfgrass Research Foundation. Its president, Daryl Asher, said the money will provide a boost to the work being done through the program.

“We will now be able to move forward on our plans to expand our research program in Alberta and western Canada.”

This includes hiring a lead scientist and a research associate, with those individuals to join existing program members Darrell Tompkins, Ken Fry, Jason Pick and Jim Ross. They’ll focus on reducing winter injury, soil stress management, recreational turf and lawns, selecting for alternative turf uses, and water quality and conservation.

“The goal of the research program has always been to develop information on emerging issues for the turfgrass industry,” said Ross, who is the program’s research manager. “This funding will contribute to a significant expansion of our research and this information will be passed on, not only to the industry, but also to students within the turfgrass program.”

Asher said industry support for the turfgrass research program was a factor in it receiving the grant. Partners consist of the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation, Eagle Lake Turf Farms Ltd., Alberta Golf Superintendents Association, the City of Lethbridge, the Alberta Turfgrass Research Foundation, LANTA-Sod Growers Commodity Group, Manderley Turf Products, and Glendale Golf and Country Club.

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