The turf industry in Australia has developed rapidly over recent years with growers seeking and embracing new technologies to make their businesses more efficient and viable. The industry has also faced challenges emanating from drought and subsequent water shortages. Other problems include declining industry profitability, increasing production costs and water supply concerns; product variability and consumer sustainability concerns; increasing environmental concerns; urban encroachment; a trend to smaller housing plots, gardens and lawn and; a public perception that turf is a high water and fertiliser use product.
For some years the turf industry has funded a research and development (R&D) program through Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) with voluntary contributions paid by producers, sports turf associations, the turf maintenance and landscape sector and allied suppliers. Prior to the levy introduction there had been no marketing and promotion (M&P) program funded by the industry.
The main focus of the R&D programme to date has been on turf variety and seed evaluation as well as pest, disease, nutrient, chemical and weed concerns. More recent research has targeted water use efficiency, using recycled water, sustainable turf production and environmental issues including fertilizer usage and leaching. HAL has funded 65 turf R&D projects to the value of $6.6 million up until 30 June 2004.
In 2006 Australian Turf Producers elected to support the introduction of a horticultural products levy for Research & Development and Marketing. A Turf industry strategic plan has been developed to guide how the levy funds can be best used to benefit the industry.
Turf Producers Australia Ltd (TPA) is the representative body of the Turf industry comprising levy paying turf producers and individual members Australia wide. The TPA's signature brand 'Turf Australia' is the face of the TPA and is working to highlight the benefits of turf to the broader community through the new 'Grow Green' message.