Introduced in the September/October issue of Australian Turfgrass Management Journal, one of Australia’s foremost agronomic experts is now providing a regular update to AGCSA members. Peter McMaugh’s insight and knowledge of the turf industry is unsurpassed and he started by taking a look at the new certification scheme for turf producers called ‘TurfCert’ and what it means for Turf Managers in guaranteeing the quality paid for
To use the vernacular, there is a ‘new kid on the block’ – certification. The Board of the Australian Seeds Authority, which holds the Commonwealth Government licence for certification of all agricultural seed used in Australia, has seen a gap in the turf industry for the quality assurance of its vegetatively reproduced stock and has set up a new certification scheme for turf producers called ‘TurfCert’.
In its simplest terms ‘certification’ is a guarantee.
It guarantees that what you order is what you get, and that what you get is produced under tightly controlled conditions (rules) which are protected and enforced by regular independent inspection.
Readers of Australian Turfgrass Magazine are familiar with purchase of certified seed, especially bentgrass and ryegrass seed, from their reputable seed suppliers who many years ago adopted this guarantee of quality. The imperative to do this came largely from the fiasco many years ago of the dumping of non-certified Penncross bentgrass seed into Australia when things went wrong with production of that variety in the USA.
This was caused by contamination in the production crops in Washington and Oregon states in the USA and had to be addressed by wholesale crop destruction and replanting of new parent stock which had been reselected to meet the quality standards required by certification.
If you are familiar with the USA seed industry, they talk about ‘blue tag’ crops, referring to the blue coloured certification tags attached to fully accredited bags of seed.
If your first reaction from reading so far is a yawn, with the impression that we already have certification because you have seen something like this already well-advertised, then think again. To date, in Australia, there has been no genuine fully-fledged ‘true’ certification scheme for vegetatively propagated turfgrass varieties.