Golf Course Management

OCT 2013

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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gcm ex t ra In NTEP trials, turfgrass quality is rated by university scientists on a scale of 1-9, where scores of 8 or 9 refect a deep, rich color, high density, excellent mowing quality and fne leaf texture. The NTEP Policy Committee, essentially NTEP's board of directors, provides the governance of NTEP. The committee is composed of academicians, representatives of user groups and representatives of the turfgrass seed industry. The committee includes one member from each of the four regional turfgrass research regions in the U.S. and members representing the Lawn Seed Division of the American Seed Trade Association, Turfgrass Producers International, the USGA, Turfgrass Breeders Association, GCSAA, Oregon Seed Trade and Pacifc Seed Associations. Pay to play Before the initiation of each trial, seed companies and turfgrass breeders are notifed of the upcoming test and asked to submit entries — new experimental lines or established cultivars currently in the marketplace. A fee is assessed for each entry, usually $2,000 per year for a fve-year trial. Therefore, for a cultivar currently in the marketplace, seed companies or turfgrass breeders are assessed $10,000 for a typical fve-year 74 GCM October 2013 trial to see how their cultivars perform against all other entries. If a seed producer has several potential entries, this can be a signifcant investment. "We may have several experimental and commercial cultivars that we'd like to enter into NTEP tests," says Pat McClain with Burlingham Seeds, an NTEP Policy Committee member representing the Oregon Seed Trade Association, Pacifc Seed Association and others. "We realize the value of NTEP testing, and we participate regularly. However, especially during hard economic times, at $10,000 for each cultivar for a fve-year test, we have to be very selective in our choices of trial entries. It's a signifcant investment for most companies." In an effort to reduce upfront costs to seed producers and turfgrass breeders, the NTEP Policy Committee recently restructured the entry fee schedule to include a $1,000 per year fee for experimental turfgrass lines that have yet to be named as an offcial cultivar. If the experimental line performs well in the trial, and the seed company establishes it as a named cultivar within one year past the end of the trial, the company is required to make up the entry fee difference from the standard $2,000 per year rate. "The NTEP Policy Committee changed the fee structure to encourage more experimental entries into the trials," says Kevin Morris, NTEP's executive director. "The committee felt that the original mission of NTEP was to be a means to test promising experimental entries, but because of tough economic times and no assurance that an experimental entry will ever make it to the marketplace, a change in fee structure was necessary. NTEP decided to reduce the fee for experimental entries by 50 percent to spur interest in submitting new and interesting experimental lines." Having more entries in a trial enables the trial to be conducted at more locations, which is an important facet of any trial. That is because a specifc cultivar of Kentucky bluegrass, for instance, may perform well in Minnesota, but perform poorly in Massachusetts. Scientists call this "genotype by location interaction," and it is useful information for seed companies. Cultivars that perform well in a spe-

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