Turfing technology is a cut above

Ballymoney company Groundsman Industries is enjoying export success with innovative turf-cutting technology developed with the help of a £250,000 investment.

Invest NI contributed £80,000 of research and development support to Groundsman Industries for the development of its range of turf cutting machines and associated attachments.

Following the market launch of the turf cutters three years ago, over 80 per cent of the company’s sales are now outside Northern Ireland, with significant orders secured from Great Britain, mainland Europe and as far away as Australia, Israel and Libya. The machines now account for over 30 per cent of Groundsman Industries’ total turnover.

The turf cutters incorporate patented technologies and can perform a wide variety of functions, from extracting strips of turf for rolling and relocating, to laying cables or irrigation pipes beneath the grass surface. They have a broad range of landscape applications and are primarily aimed at customers responsible for maintaining extensive grounds and turfed sports surfaces, such as golf courses, football grounds and cricket pitches.

Proprietor and general manager of Groundsman Industries, Billy Warke, said that the turf cutter had opened up previously untapped markets. ‘We had already had significant success with our turf aerator products in Great Britain and Republic of Ireland, including contracts with major sporting bodies such as the All England Lawn Tennis Club and the England and Wales Cricket Board, but had failed to fully penetrate markets further afield,’ he said.

‘With Invest NI’s support we developed the turf cutters and attachments which, due to their versatility and ease of use compared with other turf cutting products on the market, have enabled us to target a wider range of customers.’