AusGAP and the turf harvesting process
AusGAP Certified turf varieties are harvested in a way to ensure a quality product is delivered to you. Regulating tensile strength, pallet temperature and harvesting colour, results in consistent and quality turf. Explore the industry standards we set for harvesting turf and how they ensure a genetically pure and healthy product for your project.
Why do we set harvesting standards? What do they mean for the end-user?
Every step in the production of AusGAP certified turf is monitored and audited by our AusGAP Certified Representatives and Program administrators including the harvesting. This ensures that the turf that is delivered to your site is healthy and ready to be installed.
Prior to harvesting we want to make sure that when the product is ready, it is genetically pure and true to type. AusGAP’s standards stipulate that to achieve certification, all stock must pass a pre-harvest test. Turf must be visually free of disease, weeds, and pest damage, be true to type and free of any other foreign varieties at the time of harvest.
How do the producers of AusGAP Certified turf achieve this?
Turf harvesters and mowers move between varieties in the paddocks during every stage of turf production. To ensure cross contamination does not occur, equipment and machinery is decontaminated in designated machinery cleaning areas.
If cleaning of the harvesting equipment is not undertaken it can result in off type development and weeds appearing in the paddock. It is important to maintain AusGAP’s stringent set of standards and during pre-harvest to ensure the product is of the highest standard possible for your desired situation.
AusGAP Certified turf can be purchased and laid year-round. Growers must make every effort to maintain an acceptable harvest colour. AusGAP Certified turf is harvested as green as possible. This ensures a quality product is available for your project site.
In cooler climates you might notice your grass entering dormancy or losing its colour. Growers are able to maintain an acceptable harvesting colour during these climates through the use of frost blankets or applications of an organic grass colourant.
There are many reasons turf temperature must be observed. Especially during summer and in the northern states of Australia if turf exceeds 47.5°C when palletised or during delivery, the colour of the turf can change and can ultimately kill the turf.
How is temperature regulated?
Fertiliser application is minimised prior to harvesting to reduce the incidence of the pallet core heating up. Methods of cooling such as icing can be applied at the time of harvest to aid in reducing pallet burn.
All turf is to be harvested within a reasonable time frame for the local climate to ensure it will not overheat during delivery.
Controlling these small environmental factors are instrumental in providing healthy and quality turf.
When harvested and palletised, the turf must meet the following standards:
• Turf is to be visually free of other turf varieties, weeds, disease, and pest damage.
• Turf tensile strength must meet minimum AusGAP standards: turf rolls and slabs can be picked up with two hands without separation and remain in one piece when installed.
• Turf must be cut to consistent lengths and methods must be in place to avoid product mix-ups on sale or delivery.
Fulfilling and accomplishing these standards is an importance piece in the puzzle of receiving AusGAP compliance. AusGAP monitor and audit these standards and many more to ensure that the customer satisfied that they are making the best decision for their project.