Throughout our history, we have thrived on innovation. This constant focus has fueled creative solutions to improve productivity, increase efficiency, and help customers better care for their outdoor environments.
This includes products powered by propane, hybrid, advanced battery, and electronic fuel injection systems – along with LED technology, GPS-supported solutions, and agronomic mapping to manage resources and other inputs more precisely.
In addition to developing many industry-leading irrigation solutions that help apply water more efficiently to turf, landscapes and agricultural crops, we were honored to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2020 with the WaterSense® Excellence Award. The award recognizes companies for promoting water efficiency and developing products that are independently certified to use less water. This was the fifth consecutive year that we received a prestigious WaterSense award.
Have you ever wondered what new technologies Toro is working on for the future? Are you curious about where we get our inspiration for new products and features? You may be surprised to find out we have a team dedicated to supporting and facilitating research and development, and we’re always evolving right along with our customers and markets.
Today, that team is known as Toro’s Center for Technology, Research & Innovation. The name is new, but our commitment to development goes back to The Toro Company’s beginnings in 1914. That’s why this story about the future wouldn’t be complete without a look back at our past.
Finding better ways to solve customers’ challenges has always been part of the fabric of Toro’s culture. An important chapter in that legacy started in 1952, when turf industry legend James R. Watson, Ph.D., joined The Toro Company as director of agronomy.
Around that time, Dr. Watson began leading a team of researchers in conducting studies on a variety of grasses and soils to ensure best management practices in fertilization and water usage, as well as approaches for controlling unwanted grasses, disease and pests. (Fun fact: The area where these studies took place was once the only research center of its kind in the world. It’s now known as the “Dr. James R. Watson Research and Development Proving Grounds” and it is still being used today at The Toro Company’s world headquarters in Bloomington, Minn.)
During his 46 years at The Toro Company, Dr. Watson was a pioneer in turf and water management research, and used the results of his studies to educate Toro employees and the industry at large. Dr. Watson was more than an agronomist, he was a customer advocate — and golf courses, parks and sports facilities around the world frequently sought his advice whenever they faced difficult turf challenges.
Building on Dr. Watson’s groundbreaking research, an advanced engineering group emerged within Toro’s Commercial Business in the 1980s. Over time, this team expanded to include both residential and commercial equipment, as well as irrigation, evolving into the Center for Advanced Turf Technology in the late 1990s.
Since then, The Toro Company’s product offering has grown substantially — and our research and development efforts have evolved to match. Although turf science and agronomy are still very much a part of our work, we have broadened our efforts to include other non-turf areas that impact our customers. Today, the Center is a resource for every Toro business, from underground and construction to snow and ice management to micro-irrigation for agriculture.
You can learn a lot about the Center for Technology, Research & Innovation simply by looking at the name. Each keyword captures an aspect of their work at Toro:
Toro’s Center for Technology, Research & Innovation team is passionately focused on solving customer problems — from the challenge of finding, training, and retaining qualified labor, to dealing with the demands of “doing more with less,” the team focuses on problems rather than products. It all comes down to understanding the challenges you face and delivering real solutions.