Two days of intensive turf-training took place last month to bring a team of quality auditors up to speed with the requirements of a newly developed national turf certification program.

The Australian Seeds Authority (ASA) has been putting the finishing touches to its TurfCert Turf Certification Program over recent months and in the final implementation stages has been working solidly with TurfPlus as well as Global Mark and their auditors in tying the program together.

The team from TurfPlus, in conjunction with Global Mark organised for a couple of back-to-back training days that covered turfgrass identification, weeds, pest and disease; both in theory and in on-farm practical presentations.

ASA’s Dr Lindsay Cook and Gary Kelly, Turfgrass Scientific Services’ Prof. Peter McMaugh and Living Turf’s David Worrad, were among a number of presenters that provided the sound technical background that helps make up the program.

Speaking on the training delivery, TurfCert Administrator Matthew Murphy thanked the presenters and hailed the exercise an outstanding success, with a great deal of knowledge gained and shared between participants.

“With eight participating auditors as well as the presentations from this range of turf industry experts, it certainly was a very full couple of days that gave some terrific insight into how this program can ultimately benefit the turf production industry and their customers,” explained Murphy.

The TurfCert System claims to be about capturing the essence of good Quality Assurance practices in Turf Production and Certification. It is said to provide clear rules and systems and control points and processes to ensure they are followed, documented and ultimately rewarded with certification.

“Bringing on board certification specialist Global Mark to facilitate the certification of TurfCert’s program has been an evolving project that is now ready to accept new turf varieties into the program,” says Murphy.

“Fundamental to the TurfCert system is independent assessment at critical points and this is where Global Mark and their Auditors come in.”

According to Murphy, Global-Mark is one of Australia’s leading Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs), currently working with over 4,000 certification clients.

“Global-Mark specialises in the delivery of various forms of certification. ASI, ISQua and JAS-ANZ have accredited the company to local and international standards, and industry codes of practice,” he says.

Bringing together Turf Breeders, Turf Growers, Assessors and others is a complex undertaking and managing their interactions while keeping audit trails and documents necessary could be an unruly exercise.

TurfCert’s web site, however, and the administration provided by Murphy helps to streamline all these requirements using the latest online automated workflows, user inboxes and notifications, personal history access, and simple action forms.

The TurfCert program has now been opened to Turf Breeders to register their ready-to-release varieties online to start the certification process rolling and interested parties are invited to notify their interest at www.turfcert.aseeds.com.au