There has been significant discussion around the latest usage trends in how to expand the usage of current natural turf fields and how to maximise sustainability of the fields. Historically this challenge has embraced broad-based benchmarks, something between 20 hours to 30 hours of play per week. It does not take into account key considerations such as:
- Field quality – is it irrigated, drained well, does the growing medium have the nutrients needed for optimal growth
- Grass type – that has the durability for the seasons at the sport is being played
- Intensity of play – the type of sport, age group, type of usage (drills/training v’s match) and the numbers using the space
- Rest – each field needs time to be renovated at the end of season, and summer sports used to allow this to happen, but with the expansion of winter sports into summer the natural grass fields are struggling to regenerate themselves
Technology has been embraced and with hybrid turf now being used in high-wear areas, this is extending playing hours from 20/25 hours to 25/30 hours, all with good maintenance and end of season renovation. For usage in excess of 40 hours per week, there really is not many options with synthetic technology allowing up to 80 hours per week.
All these different approaches are considered as part of this year’s NSC focus on the sustainability of sports fields.
See the full program here https://nationalsportsconvention.com.au/program/