A record-breaking SALTEX 2019

SALTEX (Sports Amenities Landscaping Exhibition) once again proved to be the industry’s showcase event with over 500 brands on display and a record-breaking 9,104 visitors in attendance.

As soon as the doors opened on the first day of the show there was an electric atmosphere with groundscare enthusiasts swarming into the NEC halls eager to see the latest and most technologically-advanced innovations in grounds management.

The record-breaking 9,104 visitors consisted of those working in or involved with groundscare, sports turf, amenities, estates and green-space management. The show not only attracted visitors from the UK but also a high number of overseas visitors due to the venue’s easy access to national and international transport links.

In fact, SALTEX 2019 saw visitors attending from 49 overseas markets. Many attendees made the journey to the NEC from Europe, Asia, America and Africa – underlining the fact that SALTEX truly is an international event.

The SALTEX College Cup competition, sponsored by Toro and Reesink, demonstrated just how well young groundscare students are being academically prepared for careers in the industry. The Myerscough College team saw off competition from four other colleges to win this year’s trophy and can now look forward to a visit to Real Madrid’s Bernabéu Stadium where the winning students will get the opportunity to learn from Paul Burgess, director of grounds and environment for the Spanish footballing giants.

The competition was just a number of show attractions and the new Eco Village indoor demonstration area made a storming debut. In a dedicated area on the show floor the Eco Village featured a programme of daily product demonstrations which featured cutting-edge sustainable technology by Fleet Line Markers, STIHL UK, Overton UK, Avant Tecno, Cub Cadet, Linddana, Husqvarna, Allett Mowers and Sherriff Amenity in front of a large crowd of show attendees.

Indeed, there was something for everyone on the show floor and this year’s SALTEX Innovation Award certainly caught the eye. With the entries submitted and rigorously evaluated by an independent panel of judges, it was decided that there were three stand-out innovations – the Forza 360° football goal wheels from Net World Sports, the BU50 grow lighting system from SGL and the INFINICUT SM34 rotary mower from MTD Specialty Turf Products.

The three finalists were given a final opportunity to impress the judges as they took to the stage and the INFINICUT SM34 rotary mower was pronounced the overall winner. Second place went to SGL and third place went to Net World Sports.

An increasing number of manufacturers on the show floor were also showcasing eco-friendly products. As well as those demonstrating in the Eco Village, exhibitors such as Pellenc, John Deere, Ego, Ryetec, Demon International, AMS Robotics, McConnel and Dennis Mowers all used SALTEX to launch new robotic and battery-powered products.

“These innovations have low vibrations, are environmentally friendly and great for health and safety – all things that help people on the ground like me. It’s great to see so many of these machines in one place,” says John Ryan, founder of the Lawn Care Legends online networking community.

Reflecting this trend, the IOG incorporated dedicated seminars which further explored these topics into the expanded Learning LIVE free-to-attend education programme. Chemical-free sports pitch management, and environmentally-friendly turf maintenance were just some of the 57 free-to-attend CPD accredited seminars.

Many visitors also benefitted from free one-to-one turf management advice in the Ask the Expert feature; received career advice in the Job Clinic and had their soil samples assessed in Pathology and Soil Science LIVE- as well as specific technical advice gained from industry experts on the exhibition floor.

All eyes now turn towards SALTEX 2020 the exhibition’s 75th anniversary and CEO Geoff Webb is already looking forward to the celebratory event.

“SALTEX has moved from a horse racing track in Windsor to the National Exhibition Centre in the middle of the country and the fact that we are now gearing up for our 75th annual show next year is testament to the community of the sports turf industry and how it has grown.”

SALTEX 2020 will take place at the NEC, Birmingham on 4 and 5 November. For more information please visit www.iogsaltex.com

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