Midlands Turf on a roll

Business profile

By Garth Johnstone

Anyone living in the greater Midlands area will likely have seen a Bobcat with the name Grevin on the back. No, that’s not the name of the Bobcat, it’s the name of its owner, Grevin Price, who heads up Mildands Turf and is a well-known businessman in the area.

Grevin Price.

Grevin started the company back in 2010 with a business partner, growing and planting Kikuyu plugs to establish pastures for farmers. They leased land on which the grass was grown to supply customers, either in seedling or roll-out form.

Big projects and small, Midlands Turf has done it all, including landscaping, drainage and the rehabilitation of areas of indigenous grasses, with erosion control.

Big and small projects, Midlands Turf can handle them all. Pictures: Supplied

One of the biggest projects Grevin has undertaken, dating back to before Midlands Turf was established, was constructing Gowrie Golf Course, where he and his father had the huge task of shaping, establishing fairways, digging bunkers and building the green complexes.

Cold-climate grass

He explained that Kikuyu is the go-to grass in Nottingham Road, where his business is based, due to the climate. “It is a cold-climate grass that can survive the frost and establishes itself more quickly than others,” he said.

But Midlands Turf does not only work in the Nottingham Road area. It travels far and wide to lay the green stuff. “We have supplied grass to properties as far afield as Kokstad and Ladysmith, and are happy to travel,” he said.

The company prides itself on its expertise and competitive prices. Understanding the pressures of a difficult economy, they have not increased their rates for the past three years and will not do so until the end of this year.

Rehabilitation

“We have been very fortunate to have been involved in some major rehabilitation projects,” said Grevin. These include Rosetta’s Spring Grove Dam and the Spring Grove water-transfer project, from Spring Grove Dam to Michaelhouse, in Balgowan.”

The latter was a huge project involving construction companies WBHO and Group Five.

The team prepares to lay down grass strips after transport to site.

There is no limit to the size of the project Midlands Turf will undertake – the business has supplied up to 30 000 square metres of Kikuyu. To move the grass to site they have two bakkies, a four-ton truck and an eight-ton truck.

“We still plant pasture and, in terms of return, a farmer would get his money back within two seasons,” said Grevin.

Increased carrying capacity

This is realised through increased carrying capacity – an increase in the animal units per hectare once the grass is properly established.

Kikuyu is valued as a domestic and pasture grass because it is extremely versatile.

“It is one of the only grasses that maintains a relatively high protein content in the winter – its grazing value remains high, especially compared to veld.”

Grevin said while the domestic side of the business had been challenging in the past few years, the pasture business was moving very well.

“What sets Midlands Turf apart from the competition is that we are very cost-effective. As far as I understand, there are very few people planting pasture in sprig form.”

Business principle

Midlands Turf charges R18 per square metre for turf off the farm. The cost of transport and labour for planting depend on the size of the job, said Grevin, adding that the company never turned down smaller jobs as these often led to bigger things.

“My business principle has always been that you need to keep everybody happy, big or small. You can’t get sucked into a big contract and forget your smaller clients.”

Contact info: Tammy at 082 771 8238; Grevin 082 896 3688. Email: tammy@wildfly.co.za