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It is proposed to hold a Turf Production “Study Tour” in September 2013 to Dubai and Italy.

This ‘Study Tour’ will be undertaken in conjunction with the European Turfgrass Society (ETS) who is keen to hold a joint “European/Australian Turfgrass Workshop” in Italy followed by visits to Turfgrass sod producers in the area.

It is also planned to visit Dubai to investigate the export potential of the country from Australia, and the various production and maintenance methodologies utilised in such a dry, sandy environment.

This e-mail is to gauge the expression of interest of the number of people who may be interested in undertaking the ‘Study Tour’ to a different part of the world other than the USA.  We would anticipate approximately 10-12 people.

As such could you please advise your intentions at this stage and the numbers who may register for this ‘Study Tour’.  Obviously we need to submit to various areas for financial support and backup from various state and federal government departments and Horticulture Australia.

Could you please advise by Friday the 28th of September (or before) of your interest.


A brief outline for the Queensland Turf Production Industry is:

  • Industry Size: Queensland government’s Department of Treasury has established the GDP in 2009 was $160 million. There are 150 Turf farmers in Queensland split approximately 50-50 between Southeast Queensland and regional Queensland. Turf Production is mainly centred on the East Coast of Queensland and is based in all major cities from Cairns to Brisbane.
  • Current Industry Status: Over the past 10 years the industry has gone through drought and continued to innovated through that time of low water availability to remain sustainable. Over the past three years there have been cyclones and floods and extremely heavy rain events. The current economic climate has seen construction come to a standstill which reflects badly on the turf production industry demand, seeing it reduced to levels of around 40% to 50% of where it was in 2009.
  • Queensland’s Turf Production “Competitive Advantage”: without a doubt the Queensland Turfgrass industry is recognized for its development and production of quality warm season grasses.  The industry’s competitive advantage is definitely the world-class quality of Turfgrass production and the knowledge within the industry.
  • Export Status Currently: Queensland has exported quality natural turfgrass to many countries especially those in tropical and subtropical climates. Places such as Hawaii for example have imported grasses from Queensland along with its sand due to the fact that it is lava rock-based. The South Pacific islands and many countries in Asia have also been recipients of natural turfgrass from the State. Currently the levels of the export is low.
  • Export Readiness of the Farms and Production Facilities: The Queensland Turf production industry is export ready. Biosecurity and the exporting of Turfgrass requires washing and the removal of dirt prior to shipment. Quarantine inspection before packing in refrigerated containers is also standard practice. A number of larger turf farms have this facility available to them and have exported in the past.
  •  As stated the Turf market of the Middle East (Dubai) is of interest due to its sand base and hot climate, they also import all their turfgrass.
  • It is extremely important to continue our growth in innovation to ensure efficiencies that will provide sustainability in the future and as such automation is critical. This is the reason that a visit to places like Italy will be undertaken to visit turf farms.
  • The European Turfgrass Association is keen for us to hold a “Europe-Australian Turfgrass Workshop” at which presentations will be done by both sides.


Jim Vaughan

Chief Executive Officer


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