Featured Speakers of the Month

Each month speakers presenting at the 2019 National SFMA Conference and Exhibition in Phoenix, Arizona will be featured. Don’t miss the educational opportunities offered at the conference!

Kristie Walker, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at University of Minnesota Crookston in Crookston, Minnesota. On Wednesday, January 23, she will be presenting Agronomic Assessment for Sports Fields: Future Implications for Risk Assessment.

The most difficult turfgrass area to manage is sports fields due to traffic they receive by players. Sports played on turfgrass can result in injury to players due to diminished field conditions. We will explore the agronomic properties that should be included in field maintenance assessments to reduce player injuries.

After attending this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Develop a sports field assessment that measures agronomic fundamentals related to soil and plant health.
  • Determine the impact agronomic field improvements identified by the assessment have on player injury.
  • Determine if coaches, players, and grounds staff found the agronomic assessment beneficial to improving overall field conditions.

Adam Thoms, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. On Wednesday, January 23 he will be presenting Plant and Soil Interactions for Athletic Fields with Dr. Nick Christians.

This presentation will explain what your soil tests mean and how much of each nutrient is needed for healthy turfgrass. It will cover both macro- and micro-nutrients and what those nutrients do in the plant. Soil and tissue tests will be reviewed.

After attending this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Read a soil test report for what they need to apply.
  • Discuss various soil tests and how to add nutrients.
  • Explain which nutrients are needed for turfgrass growth.

On Thursday, January 24 Dr. Thoms and Dr. Christians will also be presenting Development of a Topdressing Program for Athletic Field Managers.

Proper topdressing and cultivation of athletic fields can greatly impact athletic field performance of both native-soil and sand-based athletic fields. This presentation will cover many of the basics of what type of cultivation methods to use and when, as well as how much sand topdressing is necessary to keep athletic fields performing at their highest level.

After attending this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Maintain or improve the water infiltration of athletic fields through proper cultivation and sand topdressing.
  • Calculate how much sand topdressing is needed at various times of the year.
  • Determine what cultivation methods will help to maintain a safe playing surface.