In May, Nick Dorney flew to Athens Georgia to carry out an ITGAP inspection training update and view some of the larger production farms of ITGAP certified turf products.
The International Turfgrass Genetic Assurance Program (ITGAP) is a quality assurance program that monitors production sites worldwide to ensure that turfgrasses are grown, inspected, and sold under a rigorous set of rules and guidelines.
Nick operates the AusGAP certification program in Australia and is the only registered ITGAP agent in the world. AusGAP oversees the production of TifTuf and Sir Grange Zoysia in Australia, two of the latest and most exciting grasses available in the Australian and world markets.
The visit involved a half day of paperwork in the ITGAP headquarters of Athens where the regulations were reinforced to ensure that pure lines of the ITGAP controlled grasses would be available in Australia for years to come. AusGAP, as the only registered ITGAP agents must ensure that the Australian growers meet all areas of compliance under the ITGAP guidelines.
The next phase of the training program involved a three day road trip through Georgia to large scale sod farms such as Super Sod, the worlds largest producer of TifTuf and NG Turf who have been producing Sir Grange (zeon) for more than over 10 years. Two of the most experienced turf grass inspectors in the world in Bill Carraway and Terry Hollifield were present along with leading turf scientist Dr Earl Elsner. Nick was shown the intricacies of detailed ITGAP field inspections checking for off-types and contaminants in mature and growing sod fields.
Nick was also given the opportunity to talk with the turf farmers themselves and get a good understanding of the required maintenance programs that allow these grasses to grow and thrive in an array of environmental conditions. This relationship with ITGAP gives the Australian AusGAP producers exclusive rights to the latest turf products from The University of Georgia, Tifton University and other leading grass breeders in the United States.
ITGAP has laid the platform for a new standard in turf product and improved production systems that will carry over to Australia through the AusGAP certification program. AusGAP certified turf products are guaranteed to be pure and clean with the all ITGAP standards upheld as well as additional business compliances in environmental stewardship, WH&S and customer service that have been introduced in Australia in addition to the ITGAP quality standards.