Power Equipment Australasia

Print Post Approved PP 100002231 INSIDE Budget and beyond Attention turns to turf A guide to maintain your generator www.power-equipment.com.au Volume 44 No. 4 July - August 2023 The worlds fastest battery charge Longer service life. Twice the power

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Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia are pleased to provide the articles contained in this publication to keep its subscribers up to date on issues which may be relevant to their businesses. This publication is supplied strictly on the condition that Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants are not responsible for any deficiency, error, omission or mistake contained in this publication, and Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants hereby expressly disclaim all liability of whatsoever nature to any person who may rely on the contents of this publication in whole or part. Published by GLENVALE PUBLICATIONS A.B.N. 31 218 591 688 11 Rushdale St, Knoxfield VIC 3180 PO Box 50, Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Fax: (03) 9543 1150 Editor: Elaine Sharman Phone: 0411 550 808 Email: elaine.sharman@glenv.com.au Sub Editor: Jackie Joy Journalists: Jackie Joy John Power Gary Fooks ADVERTISING Alastair Bryers Email: alastair.bryers@glenv.com.au Mobile: 0498 555 085 Elaine Sharman Email: elaine.sharman@glenv.com.au Mobile: 0411 550 808 ACCOUNTS Melissa Graydon Email: melissa.graydon@glenv.com.au SUBSCRIPTIONS Melissa Graydon $60.50 – 6 issues subs@glenv.com.au ART, PRODUCTION AND ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS Justin Carroll PageSet Australia Phone: (03) 9544 2233 PRINTING Southern Impact Pty Ltd 181 Forster Road,Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 8796 7000 EDITOR’S COLUMN Winter has hit the southern states with a vengeance and we are experiencing unseasonal rainfall and temperatures in the single digits with the odd warm day or two. My roses are completely confused and still blooming in the middle of winter, so are the pomegranates that are throwing the odd bloom even now. With winter at our doorstep, heaters get switched on so that we can go about daily tasks in comparative comfort, either at home or work. With ever-increasing utility hikes, I wonder how our readers are coping with the increased rates, and hope you are not feeling the pain too much with the increase in electricity bill rates. Hopefully, by now everyone is solar-savvy and are using more sustainable, cost-effective options for their businesses and homes. With winter storms, increased stress on the grid comes with blackouts and power surges. With this in mind, we have devoted this issue to generators and the different options available in the market. Gary Fooks has written about how the Federal Budget benefits will affect our industry in particular on pages 16-17. We would like to thank Kohler for their advice on how to store and maintain generators for optimum performance on page 22. Jak Max has shared with us the various generators they carry in the RATO range regarding suitability for various tasks and applications in Tech Talk on page 20. Gary Fooks has pulled a rabbit out of the hat and introduced us to solar-powered, portable power stations on page 27. Positec who have launched and distribute Kress battery-operated OPE, that charges in eight minutes (it’s a miracle!) invited me to their launch event. Sadly, I could not attend as I was in the first week of my post-op knee replacement. However, Harry Rabiee and Christine Bannister who represent Australian Hardware Journal were kind enough to attend in my stead and cover the launch. Go to pages 15-16 to read all about it. With all of this unseasonal wet weather, John Power has spoken to Joe Rogers from Lawn Solutions Australia on best practice turf management strategies on pages 12-14. Kress has introduced their KC711.9 60V 51cm Self Propelled Lawn Mower which can be used on wet grass lawns; read about the features and benefits on page 24. Our friends at STIHL are sharing their expertise on how best to store wood for winter and maintenance of garden tools on pages 30 and 31 as well as all battery operated OPE in the cenntrefold spread on page 18 and 19. Aussie Pumps have introduced us to their Ag sprayers and the different applications they are used for on page 26. Thank you, Stephen Fairbrother from Biscount, for your ‘Computer Guru’ contribution. Followed through by our usual regular features. On this note, it’s a wrap for the July/August issue. All the best for now. Elaine Sharman Editor

REGULAR FEATURES COVER SPECIAL FEATURES JAK Max - your complete forestry parts supplier TOLL FREE sales@jakmax.com.au P: 1800 604 281 www.jakmax.com.au F: 1800 199 758 ARCHER’FY your dealership today! l Display stands l Ready to hang accessories l Easy to read packaging Become a JAK Max dealer today to gain access to our growing range of products across the chainsaw, lawnmower, brushcutter and finished units sectors. Exclusive to JAK Max PrintPostApprovedPP100002231 INSIDE Budget and beyond Attention turns to turf A guide to maintain your generator www.power-equipment.com.au Volume 44 No. 4 July - August 2023 The worlds fastest battery charge Longer service life. Twice the power Kress has landed in Australia. With a highly regarded global reputation for advanced German engineering spanning 93 years, Kress is introducing true transformation to the landscaping sector with unrivalled battery technology. The new Kress CyberSystem™ promises an eight-minute charge time, significantly higher power output, longer battery life and lower operating costs longer term. Attention turns to turf......................................10 Kress reinvents OPE..........................................14 Budget & beyond...............................................16 Aussie’s War on Weeds......................................26 Essential Winter Steps......................................30 Editor’s Column...................................................4 News........................................................................ 5 Tech Talk..............................................................20 Computer Guru..................................................23 Research & Development.................................28 New Products......................................................33 Diary Dates..........................................................34 JULY - AUGUST 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 5

INFUSION BUSINESS SOFTWARE AND NETVALUE LTD JOIN HANDS Infusion Business Software Ltd and NetValue have announced that they have merged their companies, creating a powerful player in the Australasian accounting software industry. The merger will create new opportunities for innovation and growth, as the combined company leverages the strengths of both organizations as it continues to develop new solutions that address the evolving needs of businesses in the digital age. Infusion Group Ltd is the new company with the merger taking effect from the April 1, 2023. Founded in 1993, Infusion Business Software Ltd is a leading provider of innovative and reliable accounting software solutions to businesses of all sizes throughout New Zealand and Australia. The company is headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand with support offices in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, South Canterbury, and Cairns. NetValue, established in 2004, is a leading provider of web services, design, development, and infrastructure for cloud-based solutions. The company is headquartered in Hamilton, with a focus on delivering high-quality solutions and excellent customer service. NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION FUND TO HELP BOOST ADVANCED MANUFACTURING News of the Australian Federal Government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) has been welcomed by business leaders across all industries, with the local manufacturing sector in particular set to receive a major boost from the funding. $1 billion has been allocated to the advanced manufacturing sector, with a further $1.5 billion for medical manufacturing and $1 billion for investment in critical technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and robotics, both of which form a core part of advanced manufacturing. “This investment will help to ensure that Australia remains a world-leader in innovation and manufacturing,” said Marie Kinsella, CEO, International Exhibition & Conference Group. Ms Kinsella and the IEC Group are organisers of the Modern Manufacturing Expo, an event that brings together key manufacturing decision-makers and industry-leading suppliers who want to explore advanced manufacturing techniques. “The Modern Manufacturing Expo is uniquely placed to understand the perspectives of both local manufacturers and the government. Our event brings all the key players in the manufacturing sphere together under one roof to strategise and share ideas for moving the industry forward,” she said. The 2023 Modern Manufacturing Expo will take place in Sydney at the Sydney Showground from September 20-21. According to the government’s official release, the NRF will provide finance to projects in priority areas to leverage Australia’s natural and competitive strengths. The funding will be distributed in a number of different forms, including loans, equity investments and guarantees. To ensure that the funding is allocated as efficiently as possible, the government will work closely with industry to develop co-investment plans that identify high-level investment opportunities in the manufacturing sector. “The reality is that while many local manufacturers are interested in moving from traditional to advanced manufacturing techniques, the technologies involved require a significant financial investment that may be prohibitive to smaller manufacturers,” Ms Kinsella said. “We believe that the NRF has the potential to accelerate this transition, by providing the funding necessary to invest in new technology, equipment and processes, as well as to upskill workers. This will help manufacturers to increase their productivity and competitiveness and create new employment opportunities within the sector.” AFPA WELCOMES ROLLOUT OF KEY FORESTRY INITIATIVES The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the Albanese Government’s continued support of the forest products sector with the ongoing delivery of key funding commitments in the Federal Budget, Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Joel Fitzgibbon said. The 2023-24 Budget continues the rollout of key forestry initiatives including the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) and plantation establishment and innovation grants. The Budget also includes $1 billion over four years to strengthen biosecurity. NEWS Federal Government MP Meryl Swanson addressing audience at 2022 Modern Manufacturing Expo 6 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | JULY - AUGUST 2023

OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… Kress has landed in Australia. With a highly regarded global reputation for advanced German engineering spanning 93 years, Kress is introducing true transformation to the landscaping sector with unrivalled battery technology. The new Kress CyberSystem promises an eightminute charge time, significantly higher power output, longer battery life and lower operating costs longer term. The full line of quiet Kress professional outdoor equipment includes commercial-grade backpack blowers, grass trimmers, edgers, chainsaws, and hedge trimmers as well as heavy-duty walk-behind mowers. MORE INFORMATION Kress www.kress.com/en-au/ Print Post Approved PP 100002231 INSIDE Budget and beyond Attention turns to turf A guide to maintain your generator www.power-equipment.com.au Volume 44 No. 4 July - August 2023 The worlds fastest battery charge Longer service life. Twice the power OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… NEWS “Australia’s forest products sector is crucial in Australia’s battle against climate change and for the country to meet national emissions reduction targets. The sector also provides employment for tens of thousands of Australians and creates essential and sustainable everyday products we cannot live without. We welcome the Government’s recognition and support for the sector,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. In the previous Budget, the Government committed $100 million for a Launceston headquartered NIFPI, $86 million for plantation establishment grants, $113 million for wood processing innovation grants, $10 million for skills and training and extended funding for Regional Forestry Hubs. “Like the broader agriculture and primary industries sectors, effective biosecurity is essential to protecting the integrity of forestry and forest health. We welcome the Government’s plans to strengthen the national biosecurity system. However, we are watchful of plans to increase biosecurity costs for the sector through increased levies. We will work closely with the Government on the design of the reforms. “I look forward to continuing work with Minister Watt, Prime Minister Albanese and other members of the Government to ensure that Australia’s forest product sector thrives to fight climate change, create essential, sustainable products and provide ongoing and secure jobs for thousands of Australians,” Mr Fitzgibbon concluded. CQU INITIATIVE INSPIRES STUDENTS FOR AG CAREERS Thousands of Australian school students are seeing agriculture careers in a new light, as an innovative CQUniversity research and development project reaches its end. Funded by the Australian Government’s National Careers Institute, EXCITED 4 Careers in Agriculture (EXCITED) is a joint initiative between CQUniversity and industry partners across Australia, for students from kindergarten to grade 10, in regional and rural communities. The two-year project delivered the last of its school outreach across April and May 2023, with activities across the Clare and Barossa Valleys, Darwin, Gippsland, Proserpine, and Central West NSW. CQU Agriculture Lecturer Dr Jaime Manning who led the activities in South Australia, said young people were excited to get their hands dirty as they uncovered wine industry careers, testing soil, assessing grapes, and exploring a winery. “When we’re face-to-face and delivering activities, nothing beats the students’ joy in getting to try new things and think outside the square. And most importantly break down some of those stereotypes about what a career in agriculture looks like,” she said. “We’re engaging with both primary and secondary school students and getting them to explore both their career interests and strengths, and how they might translate into a career in agriculture,” Dr Manning said. During 2022 delivery of the project, 90 per cent of students said they enjoyed St Joseph's Clare students participate in CQU's EXCITED 4 Ag Careers project JULY - AUGUST 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 7

the activities, and 71 per cent said they had a better understanding of agriculture career options after being immersed in activities and agricultural site visits for a day. EXCITED is delivered by CQU’s Agri-Tech Education and Extension team, that develops innovative programs to increase the skills and knowledge of the current and next generation agricultural workforce in tech-driven tools and systems to encourage them to aspire to a career in the sector. BIG FOUR COME TOGETHER TO DEVELOP HYDROGEN-POWERED ENGINES Kawasaki Motors, Suzuki Motor Corporation, Honda Motor Company and Yamaha Motor Company have jointly announced that they have received approval from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to form a technological research association called HySE (Hydrogen Small mobility & Engine technology) for developing hydrogen-powered engines for small mobility. Small mobility includes construction equipment, motorcycles, Japan-originated small vehicles, small marine vessels and more, the press release stated. “To realise a decarbonised society, a multi-pathway strategy to address various issues in the mobility sector is necessary, rather than focusing on a single energy source. Against this backdrop, research and development targeted at the commercialisation of mobility with engines powered by hydrogen – deemed a next-generation energy source – is gaining momentum. However, the use of hydrogen poses technical challenges, including fast flame speed and a large region of ignition, which often result in unstable combustion, and the limited fuel tank capacity in case of use in small mobility vehicles. In addressing these issues, the members of HySE are committed to conducting fundamental research, capitalising on their wealth of expertise and technologies in developing gasoline-powered engines, and aim to work together with the joint mission of establishing a design standard for small mobility’s hydrogen-powered engine, and of advancing the fundamental research endeavours in this area. “The members of HySE will continue to deepen their collaborative relations to provide a variety of small mobility options to users and meet their diverse needs, thereby contributing to the realisation of a decarbonised society.” In addition to the full members (the four aforementioned motorcycle manufacturers), Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Toyota Motor Corporation will support the association as special members. Kenji Komatsu, Chairman nominee of HySE and Executive Officer of Technical Research & Development Center, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., said, “There are many challenges in the development of hydrogen-powered engines, but we hope to see the association’s activities advance the fundamental research in order to meet those challenges. We are committed to this endeavour with a sense of mission to preserve the use of internal combustion engines, which epitomise the long-time efforts that our predecessors have invested.” CSIRO TO BUILD AUSTRALIA'S FIRST MOVABLE HYDROGEN GENERATOR Australia needs hydrogen to help reach net zero emissions by 2050, and ground-breaking new technology could help reshape the nation’s energy landscape by safely generating hydrogen at off-grid locations. A new project led by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, will develop an easily deployed device to produce hydrogen directly at the point of consumption, in an Australian first. CSIRO scientists will build a demonstration unit based on patented technology to efficiently generate hydrogen from liquid carriers, supported by a $10 million investment over six years from research and innovation provider Advanced Carbon Engineering. The use of a liquid carrier enables hydrogen to be safely and efficiently stored and transported in tanks from where it is produced – like a remote solar or wind farm – to where the energy is to be used. CSIRO’s Deputy Hydrogen Industry Mission Lead, Dr Vicky Au, said the project will be the first unit using Australian technology to produce hydrogen from a liquid carrier, and addresses some of the key challenges to the growth of the hydrogen sector. “Australia has the potential to become an energy superpower through hydrogen, but we need to find better methods of safely transporting and storing it at scale,” Dr Au said. “To get the hydrogen industry moving, we need to be able to get hydrogen where it will be used by the consumer. This generator unit will do just that, and will be compact enough to move to where it’s needed – whether that’s a farm, a festival, an industrial facility or, a mine site.” CSIRO Researcher Dr John Chiefari said CSIRO’s patented catalytic static mixers would be central to the development of the new hydrogen generator. “Catalytic static mixers are special tools that mix fluids to speed up and better control chemical reactions without any moving parts. This level of control allows the process to be highly scalable without the technical challenges that this usually entails. This gives us a key advantage over the current packed bed reactor technology,” Dr Chiefari said. “The technology to add hydrogen to a carrier fluid is already established. Now this hydrogen generation system will enable hydrogen to be produced locally and on demand from the carrier, with the added advantages of the carrier fluid being safely stored in a similar way to diesel or petrol.” “This would be a big step forward with a goal to be able to store the fuel in standard tanks and manage it using existing diesel or petrol infrastructure.” NEWS (Left to Right) CSIRO’s Deputy Hydrogen Industry Mission Lead, Dr Vicky Au with CSIRO research scientists Dr Christian Hornung and Dr John Chiefari holding CSM rods. 8 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | JULY - AUGUST 2023

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TURF CARE Attention turns to turf With spring just around the corner, many curators and facility managers are making plans for turf renovation or replacement programs. JOHN POWER talks to JOE ROGERS from Lawn Solutions Australia about practical new developments in turf research, and tips for correct turf care and selection. Turf care can be a challenge at any time of year, but it is especially problematic for grounds managers at the onset of spring – the growing season – when time-critical decisions and actions can affect the quality of turf surfaces for the following 12 months and beyond. Major decisions include: Should we replace old turf with new turf? If we opt to try out a new turf cultivar, which variety is appropriate? Is climate change likely to affect the performance (or selection criteria) of cultivars in our specific locality? What day-to-day maintenance regimes can enhance turf quality, particularly during wetter-than-normal periods associated with lingering La Niña conditions? Is oversowing an alternative to full turf replacement? These questions, often complicated by tight budgets and limited workforces, are crucial. Fortunately, research designed to bring the best possible turfgrasses to market has been proceeding at great pace over the last decade. Turf propagation expert Joe Rogers, Commercial Manager at Lawn Solutions Australia (LSA), says turfgrass research is an extremely dynamic and competitive industry, with new cultivars being tested continually in different Australian locations in an effort to propagate superior grasses to suit our conditions. (LSA, a collective representing 45 turf growers throughout Australia, maintains commercial relationships with 180 resellers and runs one of Australia’s leading turf research facilities. Visit lawnsolutionsaustralia.com.au) The goals of turf breeding and testing programs, Joe says, are self-evident: improved drought and disease tolerance, improved winter colour, and reduced fertiliser requirements. All these qualities contribute to lower ongoing maintenance costs, higher-quality performance, and more predictable seasonal behaviours and efficiencies. The entire research process, Joe concedes, is lengthy. The LSA research facility was established 12 years ago, and only now are many 10 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | JULY - AUGUST 2023

Aussie Pumps Australian Pump Industries 02 8865 3500 aussiepumps.com.au Distributor enquiries welcome TURF CARE research projects reaching fruition. Most test cultivars are sourced from US research partners such as Texas A&M University. “One of the frustrating things about what we do is this: once you breed a new turfgrass, you can’t know everything about it instantly,” Joe explains. “You’ve got to propagate it, which takes time, and then you’ve got to analyse it and determine things like shade wear and drought tolerance – so we’re just starting to see the fruits of our labours now.” One of LSA’s most interesting research trends has been to concentrate almost exclusively on warm-season varieties for applications in all Australian geographical zones, including Tasmania, with a special emphasis on zoysias and soft-leaf buffalos. The reason for this preference, Joe says, is simple: cool-season grasses are not seasonally sustainable due to their traditionally heavy water consumption. Zoysia grasses, he concedes, have not yet gained great traction in Australia’s southern areas; nevertheless, Joe says international research is delivering zoysia cultivars with applications across the entire Australian continent. “If you take a big turfgrass breeder like the University of Georgia, US, about 60% of their whole program now relates to zoysia grass because the genus is so diverse. Our thinking is that over the next years and decades, zoysia grass will slowly become more prominent, and it will eventually become the dominant species in Australia purely because of the diversity in its breeding.” When Joe speaks of diversity, he refers to differences between separate cultivars relating to growth patterns, appearance, hardiness, water requirements, etc. “They [US research laboratories] are breeding strains that have better cold tolerance, and we’re starting to see them come to Australia… but it’s a slow burn,” Joe notes. “But there is zoysia already getting sold into the southern states of Australia, and with new cultivars coming out that’s only going to increase.” MEETING MARKET DEMANDS According to Joe, the adoption of new varieties like zoysia is a direct response to market demands. Long-term customer requirements still include drought tolerance, notwithstanding recent and ongoing La Niña conditions, as well as good colour throughout winter months. Therefore, turf breeders are trying to produce grasses that enter winter dormancy later and emerge from it earlier. “So, we’re trying our best to minimise that dormancy window.” Similarly, turf producers have their own ‘wishlist’ ambitions for their cultivars, notably improved disease resistance. One of the main concerns facing growers of buffalo grasses, for instance, is the prevalence of ‘buffalo yellows’, which refers to a conglomerate of diseases most likely linked to a sugar cane mosaic virus. Disease tolerance, therefore, is a major preoccupation of turf breeders as well as end users. IS ‘ONE TURF’ STILL POSSIBLE? Most grounds managers have spent their careers looking for single optimal turf solutions for specific applications on their property. However, as climate change leads to more extreme fluctuations in conditions at individual locations, ranging from drought to flooding in the span of just a few years, is ‘one turf’ still a feasible goal for any given property? Or should managers prepare to switch turf varieties every few years to allow for increasingly extreme climatic conditions? ‘I don’t think we’re going down that path just yet!’ Joe says, stressing that it is still sensible to seek the ‘right turf’ for long-term use. “I think the goal here is to find varieties that can handle extremes better than the current ones do. Certainly, I know people are reluctant to change their turf varieties, but with changing conditions we think it’s important to at least consider new varieties, even if they’re not going to be perfect during the height of either La Niña or El Niño events. All imported cultivars must undergo a stringent quarantine process before local analysis can begin in earnest. JULY - AUGUST 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 11

TURF CARE PRACTICAL HINTS & TIPS After selecting and rolling out new turf (warm-season turf is typically applied via rolls; fertile seed is not produced during propagation), or taking steps to rejuvenate existing layouts, there are plenty of ongoing maintenance actions that managers can perform to keep surfaces in the best possible condition: • D rainage: Joe advises curators and grounds managers to be very mindful of the importance of good drainage. “Ensuring you have adequate drainage is everything when it comes to turf craft. Turf hates wet feet, and the bulk of your issues – whether its weed infestation, disease, insect infestation, etc – they normally come back to a lack of drainage.” At a structural level, he recommends that managers ensure drains are clear and include strip drains, if necessary, to combat pooling. • A eration: Always make sure turf surfaces are well aerated, especially if wet periods are forecast. This can be achieved through coring, which will aid water absorption, promote faster drying out, and mitigate the onset of disease. • M owing: Many grounds managers fear close and regular mowing, particularly before wet weather, because they assume this will stress the turf and make it more vulnerable to water damage. The opposite is true: regular mowing is crucial. “Always keep turf as low as you possibly can during wet periods, the reason being that the longer the grass is the longer it takes to dry out. It’s an issue when you leave too much leaf on surfaces. It’s actually shading out the soil and stopping the water from evaporating. Keeping sports fields as short as possible over the growing season – whether there’s rain or not, but more importantly when rain is coming – is super important.” As a mantra, Joe adds: “The more you mow the better the surface will be in general.” Not only will regular mowing create a ‘tighter’ turf surface, i.e., a denser leaf canopy, but it will also minimise space for weed generation and allow for swifter repair from wear and tear. • T op dressing: If you’ve got adequate draining but you’re still worried about your soil profile, open it right up with coring and then add a washed sandy top dressing. This will aid aeration, prolong the beneficial effects of coring, and help to break up clayey soil profiles. Top dressing is always highly desirable in early spring. • Oversowing: Many managers assume the secret to a premium year-round turf is frequent oversowing, mainly in a bid to enhance winter colour and fill in worn-out patches. “What we’re trying to do by improving the winter colour of our new cultivars is to negate the need to oversow, because the main reason you oversow is to improve colour,” Joe says. Managers may also oversow in order to achieve different turf effects. For example, at a golf course a superintendent might oversow roughs to increase grass density. Again, Joe says the beauty of zoysias, in particular, is that a single cultivar can satisfy multiple applications, including clearly demarcated roughs on a golf course, simply by varying turf height. “We think these new cultivars will reduce the need to use more than one kind of turf in any particular instance.” • I rrigation: Fixed underground sprinkler systems with pop-up heads are great for applying water to grass leaf surfaces. However, managers should be aware of the tremendous drought tolerance of the latest turfgrasses, which, in some cases, might remove the need for permanent sprinkler systems. • F ertilising: “Fertilising is also very important, but you can’t beat regular mowing,” Joe notes. “The more you mow the more you train your grass to grow laterally. So that’s super important no matter what application you’re dealing with.” YEARS OF SERVICE Most new turf varieties are only released to market once they demonstrate clear, significant improvements over existing cultivars. Therefore, it pays to assess new releases regularly to make the most of genuinely enhanced performance. A popular turfgrasses like TifTuf Bermuda grass, bred 15 years ago, remains the cultivar of choice in the southern US; prior to that, Tifway 419 was the preferred Bermuda for almost half a century. However, in general terms, Joe suggests that a typical cultivar will have a functional lifespan of 10-15 years before science replaces it with a better solution. With such timeframes in mind, it is important to consult closely with your local turfgrass provider before finalising turf selections. The Lawn Solutions Australia research facility in Berry, NSW. 12 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | JULY - AUGUST 2023

EVENTS Chopping up a storm It was an unforgettable birthday for Poland’s Szymon Groenwald as the young ace produced a stunning display, setting a new world record in both the Underhand Chop and Single Buck to snatch first place from Australia’s Curtis Bennett to the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS ® Rookie World Championship. After a powerful opener in the Underhand Chop, which set a striking new world record time of 13.64 seconds, Groenwald overcame adversity following a disqualification in the Stock Saw to set another stunning world record with a time of 9:01 in the Single Buck to claim the title. Curtis Bennett closely followed, showcasing his extreme power on route to a second-place finish, while New Zealander Sam Bellamy secured the final podium place. The Rookie World Championship starred 12 of the finest young talent in the world of TIMBERSPORTS ® across the renowned five disciplines – Stock Saw, Underhand Chop, Standing Chop, Single Buck and Springboard. The athletes went neck-and-neck to stake their claim as the best Rookie on the planet. Standing proud, marginal-tournament favourite Curtis Bennett chopped up a storm in the first two disciplines, setting a personal best in both the Underhand Chop and Stock Saw to cement his place in first position in the standings. The opening disciplines saw six athletes set new personal best times in the Underhand Chop, including Belgium’s 16-year-old prodigee Kamiel Van Raemdonck. Speaking after finishing runner-up, Curtis Bennett, said: “The competition was okay, probably not as good as I wanted it to be. Szymon is obviously a very good competitor. It was good to have that sort of competition, but unfortunately today he was just better.” USA’s Erin LaVoie destroyed the Underhand Chop world record to beat Canada’s Allison Briscoe in spectacular fashion to capture the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS ® International Women Cup, with Aussie Jodie Beutel completing the podium in third. LaVoie achieved the fastest time in two of three TIMBERSPORTS ® disciplines including a mind-blowing world record time of 30:67 seconds in the Underhand Chop. The American finished four points clear of Canada’s Allison Briscoe, whilst Australia’s Beutel powered through to take the last podium stop. Contested across three iconic TIMBERSPORTS ® disciplines – Stock Saw, Single Buck and Underhand Chop, 12 elite female athletes went toe-to-toe in the adrenaline-pumping logger sports competition to determine who would be declared the winner. With the pressure on moving into the final discipline, the Underhand Chop, Briscoe gritted her teeth to achieve a personal best time of 52:63 seconds, pipping Chopperoo Beutel to second place. LaVoie surged forward, chomping to a new world record with a sensational time of 30:67 to take home the title. An overwhelmed Jodie Beutel, who finished third on the podium commented: “To get to the podium at this competition is just amazing. All the ladies are just fantastic. For me personally, I’m very proud of myself for making it that far. And getting on the podium with the best of the world.” JULY - AUGUST 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 13

EVENT Kress reinvents OPE with unprecedented battery power and innovation. The German-made Kress brand has just launched a world-class range of commercial grade, outdoor power equipment (OPE) that’s expected to revolutionise battery powered garden and landscaping equipment forever. The official Australian launch of the game changing OPE range and revolutionary battery platform was held on the Sunshine Coast in early June. The launch saw many of the industry key stakeholders, including specialist dealers from around Australia in attendance. Not only were attendees impressed with the high-power, state-of-the-art features presented within the new Kress range, but also the launch of the Kress CyberSystem™ that can charge from zero to full capacity in just 8 minutes. The new CyberPack™ battery also allows for up to 10 times more charges than current lithium-ion battery technologies. While also producing power that meets or exceeds comparable small combustion engines. The revolutionary CyberSystem™ is specifically designed so there is no downtime for professional users. Ultimately allowing for more productivity and profits. The innovative CyberSystem™ is backed with a core equipment range that includes push and self-propelled lawnmowers, line trimmers, brushcutters, lawn edgers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws, backpacks, and handheld blowers, as well as a full range of robotic mowers and a comprehensive pipeline of new products to come. The Kress commercial range also includes a 5kWh CyberTank™ portable power station which allows users to recharge CyberPack™ batteries directly at the worksite in as little as 8 minutes. According to Kress, by transitioning from petrol-powered equipment to the innovative Kress range of battery-powered products, a standard landscaping business can recover the full cost of its investment within a single year. This is made possible due to the current price of fuel, oil, and maintenance of conventional petrol-powered products, and the exceptional ROI (Return on investment) offered by Kress for commercial users. The Kress program is built on the fundamental principle of delivering significant returns on investment. Battery-powered equipment has not been a practical alternative for professionals in the past due to the lack of power and the expense of multiple battery packs, the hassle of overnight charging, and the excessive cost of replacing dead batteries. But now - due to a unique patented cooling system developed in conjunction with a Canadian University over the past decade - the new Kress CyberSystem™ can charge a CyberPack™ battery to 80% capacity in just 5 minutes. AUSTRALIAN LAUNCH Positec Group Chief Executive Officer, Don Gao, along with Positec’s Group Executive Senior Vice President, Ben Daziel, and Senior Vice President Alex De Courcy, all led the Kress team at the Australian launch of the new 8-minute CyberSystem™. Weeks after the recent launches into North America and Europe, Kress has already received an exceptional response from dealers and garden professionals. Since launching into the global market, Mr. Gao said dealers and end-users often ask him “what the catch is”, because they believe that Kress cannot deliver all this power, durability, and an unprecedented charging system to a professional outdoor power equipment platform without some compromise. “There is no trade-off here – everything is included. The normal charging time for a smaller 4.0Ah hour battery is 34 minutes but this does not include the cooling down time. To my understanding nothing comes close to the 8-minute charging time offered by the new Kress battery platform,” Mr. Gao said.

“This is the only commercial product where you can make the switch – say as a landscaper – without compromise. So, no compromise on power, no compromise to your business or to your health, and no compromise to your financials,” Mr. De Courcy said. The Kress program is perfectly placed to support government and commercial organisations making the switch to more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives and solutions, including those that have already set deadlines to that change. Mr. Gao said landscaping and gardening professionals are still primarily choosing petrol because battery products are often not powerful enough to complete a professional landscaping or gardening project. “The durability and run time of the new Kress products is like nothing that has ever been launched before. All Kress commercial products have a 5-year commercial warranty because they are built to such a high standard, along with an added 8-year warranty for the new CyberTank™ and CyberPack™ batteries. This is in comparison to the standard sixmonth warranty issued with petrol products that usually have a life span of two to three years if properly supported,” Mr. Gao said. Kress has already evaluated the products for the past eight months in Australian conditions by allowing two Jim’s Mowing franchisees to use and compare the products to their petrol powered equipment. Both crews said they did not want to switch back to petrol products because of the added cost and time it took to continually re-fill and support petrol equipment, as well as time constraints on those products in noise-sensitive areas. The franchisees said the power of the Kress products was unprecedented, “with the new Kress backpack blower often clearing wet leaves in a council garden in record time”. The newly launched backpack blower is often described as the biggest game changer within the range because users never expected to see such power or run time in a battery powered blower. Mr De Courcy said, “Jim’s Mowing teams found that the productivity of the Kress blower in comparison to a 70 CC backpack petrol blower was over 50 percent more productive.” “This is for two reasons. The volume of air that is delivered is impressive, but mostly they found that the power of the blower is immediate. When using the Kress model, they only had to blow the leaves off a driveway once and then move on to the next house, however using a petrol blower often required them to go across that driveway 2-3 times to achieve the same removal of debris.” “Not only is the Kress blower significantly more productive but it also never runs out of power. It is also better for the employees because there is less noise, less emissions, and less vibration as well. When we talk about this whole idea of this product launch being a game changer, this is why this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment in the industry, and again why there is no compromise,” Mr. De Courcy said. DEMONSTRATION DAY A demonstration day was held during the Australian launch which saw every Kress battery product tried and evaluated by dealers from around the country. While all were impressed by the power of the products, most were captivated by the new Kress lawn mowers which boast a 6.4 kilometre an hour maximum self-propelled speed, as well as the chainsaw, which proved its powerful 24m/s chain speed, particularly when the commercial battery was in use. Dealers said it was exciting to see a battery-powered product on the market that did not force the user to compromise on how hard they worked while also delivering a great level of excitement in the industry. When it comes to switching from petrol to battery-powered products, Mr. Gao said even if garden professionals already have a full petrol setup, it is still worth their while to switch to the full battery platform at once. “Every day you do not make the change will cost you money. You can pretty much put all your petrol equipment into whichever recycling department you like and work with our staff so you can start putting money into your pocket at this moment. Every day that you do not make the change costs you money.” “When you use our system, the running cost is unbelievably cheap because you are only using electricity for power. But when you are running petrol products the cost is high because there is not only the cost of petrol but also the cost of oil, servicing and supporting the products as well. The time and money needed to use petrol-powered products is substantially higher than if you use battery-powered products,” Mr. Gao said. For now, marketing the power and durability of the new Kress OPE and battery platform is all about getting commercial users and garden professionals to use the products so they can feel the power for themselves. “We will run demonstrations and aid dealers in presenting demonstration days so end-users can try the products for themselves. By doing this we will most certainly gain a good reputation in the industry for how dependable and powerful new Kress products are,” Mr. Gao said. To learn more about the launch of the game-changing battery platform and coinciding OPE range visit: www.kress.com/en-au/ JULY - AUGUST 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 15

OPINION Budget and Beyond Each May there are thousands of words published on the Federal Budget. Now, as the dust has settled, I want to pick out the items that mean the most to the power equipment sector. Instant Asset Write Off - the party is over: For the past five years, small businesses have been able to write off the total value of every asset purchased, up to the value of $150,000. That fuelled the purchase of imported 4WDrives, doing little for the Australian economy. Not enough was spent on assets that supported jobs and delivered the business long term benefits like a 100kW solar system. The scheme is still in place but now there is a cap of $20,000 for any one purchase by a small business (turnover less than $10m p.a.). That could be good news for this industry. Business customers will stop flirting with expensive cars and turn their purchasing toward power equipment up to $20,000. Doctors and Aged Care to get a boost: Labour always loves Medicare Bulk Billing, which had almost disappeared, so don’t feel bad if you forgot what it is. This budget will see $3.5bn spent to resuscitate Bulk Billing by tripling the bulk billing incentives paid to doctors. After the Aged Care Royal Commission, there has been a lot of first aid given to the sectors, but as the Minister explained to the Press Club in June, now she plans to move forward. The first step is to increase funding and address staff shortages by delivering Aged Care workers a 15 per cent pay rise. Scammers beware: A national anti-scam centre will be established at a cost of $58m. This is not enough when you consider that Australians lost $3.1bn to scams in 2022 (up from $2bn in 2022). It’s a start, when you consider that currently no department wants to know if you’ve been scammed. The only conclusion is that we all need to stay alert for the foreseeable future. You may not fall for the scammer’s tricks, but what about your staff? Electricity Pricing: Around the time you are reading this column you may have been shocked by first electricity bill of 2023-24. I have seen advance contracts with a 40 per cent price rise. Many residential and small business accounts with go up by 25 per cent. The Treasurer has tried to soften the blow for residential consumers and for small businesses. Your business can get bill relief under the Energy Bill Relief Fund depending on the rules in your state. You don’t need to apply; your business will automatically receive bill relief on your electricity bills from July 1, 2023. I suggest that you look out for it in the bill, and check if they got it right. If not, call your supplier as a first step. To qualify, your business must be on a separately metered business tariff with your electricity retailer, and your annual electricity consumption must be less than 40MWh in Victoria; 50MWh in Western Australia; 100MWh in the ACT, NSW, and Queensland; 150MWh in Tasmania; 160MWh in the Northern Territory and South Australia. So how much will you get? $325 in Victoria and $650 in NSW, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, or Western Australia. The clean energy sector has referred this budget as: “Finally delivering genuine action to harness the benefits of renewable energy and grow our economy through investing in Australia’s cutting-edge smart energy industry.” (John Grimes, Chief Executive, Smart Energy Council). A $2 billion fund to establish an Australian Renewable Hydrogen industry is a game-changing investment and will place our nation ahead on the frontier of this energy advancement. Small Business Energy Incentive program: Confirmed budget commitments for the recently announced scheme: - A 20 per cent bonus tax deduction for businesses with annual turnover of less than $50 million on spending that supports electrification and more efficient use of energy. - T o help small businesses make investments like electrifying their heating and cooling systems, upgrading to more efficient fridges and induction cooktops, and installing batteries and heat pumps. - U p to $100,000 of total expenditure will be eligible for the incentive, with the maximum bonus tax deduction being $20,000 per business. - Eligible assets or upgrades will need to be first used or installed ready for use between 1 July 2023 and 30 June 2024. $1 billion for Clean Energy Finance Corporation to provide green finance subsidies via major banks for residential home electrification and energy upgrades, including provision for landlords to support rental housing. The Labour Government has been in Canberra for just over a year, working on a budget they inherited. When Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down the budget on May 9, it was the first clear statement of the direction that Canberra is heading. 16 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | JULY - AUGUST 2023

Electric Vehicles: It is a combination of direct subsidies and fuel efficiency standards that have driven EV growth in countries like Norway where EVs accounted for 79 per cent of new passenger car registrations in 2022. In Australia, fuel efficiency standards and updated vehicle emissions standards have been pushed back by the lobbying from the car industry, and the fact that Australian refined petrol has too much sulphur. World standard unleaded petrol contains a maximum 10 parts per million of sulphur rather than the 50ppm for premium unleaded and 150ppm for regular unleaded allowed in Australia. That in turn means car manufacturers cannot ship us their cleanest, most fuel-efficient models. If you look up a VIN decoder for any European car you will see that one of the codes refers to “low-grade fuel”. Good cars but we are getting dud variants. This situation was addressed with $2bn in subsidies to the two remaining Australian Refineries and they are on target to deliver 10ppm fuel in 2024. States have a mixed mess of incentives for EVs, and Victoria also has a special road tax, based on the Klm driven. They negated this with a subsidy, which is likely to be dropped. Federally, the incentives are even better, but not available to everyone. As simply as I can put it, the ATO gives an exemption for Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) for new cars that staff are allowed to drive home. i.e. a Fringe Benefit. Next, we need to look at a Novated Lease. That is an option when I want to buy a car for personal use, but I get my employer to get all the GST deductions, as the company “own” the car, pay the FBT because they “lend” me my car and then take the net monthly payments out of my salary – pre-tax. (If I leave the company, I take over the payments and it’s transferred to me – automatically). Sounds like smoke and mirrors? Yep, that’s tax planning for you. These Novated Lease companies like RemServ won’t deal with small businesses and a Novated Lease is not available to the selfemployed. They only deal with large businesses and Government departments, both State and Federal (including the ATO staff). Has it dawned on you yet dear reader? Put all this together, and you will find that with the new Government rule you can get a super deal on an EV, if you are an employee of the ATO (who designed the rule). Fun Fact: Canberra has the greatest penetration of EVs, reaching 12 per cent of overall sales in some quarters, more than double that of any other state. Gary Fooks is chair of the Blue-Sky Alliance. Gary has been working on small engine emissions standards since 2005 and was announced as the Environment Minister’s Clean Air Champion in 2015. OPINION JULY - AUGUST 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 17