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Inside Multifunctional Machinery
Reesink considers how to get more from your machinery.
The combination of site diversity and the growing needs of the groundsman or greenkeeper to be able to operate efficiently has brought about the need for multifunctional machinery.
The sheer scale and size of some of the sites the turfcare industry is tending now demands a range of mowers and tractors that provide value for money, versatility and a wide range of attachments to further expand the use of the machines in the shed.
It’s always been important to get value from your machinery, but now probably more so than ever. There’s no escaping the impact of the past year. Many places have smaller teams or budgets under pressure, and this has changed not only the way many machines are being used but also the considerations taken into account when choosing new machinery.
Here Alastair Rowell, UK sales manager – turf equipment from Reesink Turfcare, considers how you can get more from your machinery.
Tractors are the long established workhorse in the industry, capable of carrying out a wide range of tasks. From transporting and loading materials, to hedge cutting, mowing, tilling, pulling, towing, shredding, scarifying, aerating and various other specialist works including drainage and earthmoving works to name a few, a tractor is equally invaluable on the golf course and sports field, as it is at the racetrack, cricket ground, tennis club, school grounds, public parks, gardens and private estates.
It is without a doubt, the most versatile and multifunctional additional to any shed, but how can you make sure you choose the right one?
When buying a tractor, it’s worth factoring in a number of things. First consider your current needs and how they might they change in the next few years. Is there a possibility that you may need to use larger attachments or perhaps work in tougher conditions in the foreseeable future? This will help you decide whether you would be better ‘hedging your bets’ and buying a tractor with slightly more horsepower than you currently need rather than opting for something that’s right on its limit for your current needs.
You may also have other restrictions that need to be taken into account, are you restricted on storage space? Do you have weight limitations on towing or have narrow access sites to deal with? Equally height may be an issue, do you work in areas with trees and low hanging branches? Perhaps the tractor is stored in a limited height shed for example. This height restriction may limit or negate your need for a cabbed tractor but can be overcome with an open station tractor with a folding ROPS. Tractors come in all sorts of different frame sizes and working out the size that is right for you is key to any purchase.
And once that’s taken into account, there’ll be no stopping your productivity with the right spec tractor on hand. There are multifunctional benefits to all tractors, from the smallest horsepower to the biggest. For example, TYM’s T194 maybe small, but it brings productivity and versatility in huge amounts that belie its small stature, being as it is purpose developed by TYM to straddle the demands of a sub-compact ride-on mower with the power and versatility offered by a compact tractor.
Of course, a tractor wouldn’t be able to deliver anywhere near as much of its potential without attachments. This has to be the easiest way to bring multifunctional capabilities to your shed without breaking the budget or taking up too much valuable storage space.
What you need depends on what you need to do, but you’re more than likely going to start with a loader, you’re only getting half the productivity available from your tractor without one of those. And from there on, you can get specific.
From finishing mowers, flail mowers and wide area mowers to rotary tillers, blowers, collectors and backhoes, rear- or front-mounted; it’s an extensive list and there’s something for every tractor, every job and every season.
For those whose budget is stretched, an aerating attachment is a good option and saves buying or replacing a standalone aerator for now. How attachments pair up with existing products such as Toro and TYM tractors is something we at Reesink have thought carefully about and we’re confident we have a good range of good quality attachment brands with extensive warranties for our customers to choose from.
It wouldn’t be a feature on multifunctional machinery if we didn’t mention the workhorse to beat all workhorses – the dependable utility vehicle. It’s more the case of what this machine can’t do rather than what it can, and I think we’d be hard pushed to find a turfcare venue without one of these trusty favourites.
There are some, like Toro’s Workman GTX, which bring literally hundreds of configurations to the table. They can double as people carriers with bench or bucket seats, the options are endless, and they last, so are a wise investment.
Then there are a couple of machines that cross over categories, they defy convention with how multifunctional they are. The Toro Outcross 9060 is a utility vehicle, a tractor and has a range of attachments to fit and turn this into a multifunctional powerhouse. Of course, something that can handle so much is a significant investment but if you have a project coming up something like the Outcross would provide its weight in gold.
A cross between a tractor and utility vehicle, with this machine you can spread fertiliser, load sand and haul pallets, as a tiny snapshot of its capabilities. Golf courses who have any building or renovation works in the offing would benefit greatly from having something like this on hand. And there’s an attachment that makes this a dual-purpose machine – the Groundsmaster 1200 pull behind makes it a rotary mower too.
For most, mowing is likely to be the top job and having a range of mowers for all the different areas that require cutting will be unavoidable. So, with that the case, are there any ways to bring in extra value with a mower?
Yes, of course there are! You can, for example, bring close trimming to a large ride-on, negating the need for a separate alternative such as a pedestrian mower or strimmer, by choosing a ride-on with a Sidewinder.
This is one nifty bit of innovation. Available on the Toro Reelmaster 3100-D small area mower and Groundsmaster 3500-D rotary mower, the Sidewinder system allows you to move all three cutting units 12 inches (30cm) right or left from their centre position — on the fly — for a full 24 inches (61cm) of travel.
It means you can get under trees and other hard-to-reach places and bring precise control to delicate jobs such as trimming around sand traps, water features, tee boxes and greens edges on the golf course.
It means too that more junior members of staff can perform expert edging, trimming neatly and closely around sensitive areas while keeping the mower’s wheels a safe distance away. This is especially handy around bunkers where you want a close cut and want to keep the tyres back from the edges at the same time.
But it’s not just golf courses that benefit from how versatile it can be, landscapers, sports venues and local authorities do too. In fact, the way a Sidewinder is able to transform an easy maintenance rotary mower into a precision cutting cylinder mower is what really puts it in another league for getting more from your machine. It means there’s no need to sacrifice quality of cut for the productivity required to maintain large green spaces with longer cutting cycles.
By having one efficient machine for areas that typically require two different machines saves time and money in the long run. A classic example of this is another cross-over whereby adding an attachment can take a machine from a powerhouse triple flail mower to a fine-cut cylinder; perfect to meet the challenges of increasing demands presented by longer cutting times and cutting both long and short grass. This innovative solution to tough budgets can be seen in the Toro LT-F3000 triple flail mower with cylinder attachment.
What you should always be looking out for is the most amount of productivity from one purchase.
For landscaping customers with large areas to mow grass collection is a must, or for those on a parkland golf course with plenty of leaves and debris to clear, having a mower that can collect can save an inordinate amount of time and effort, space and money.
Look for a truck bed so there’s no need for a separate utility vehicle and a high lift system which makes it easy to empty the clipping straight into the truck bed, as well as a large capacity hopper which means the job keeps going for longer.
Collection doesn’t just apply to leaves, grass and debris either, you can get ones that can collect the cores after aerating too. One machine that can mow, collect cores and take care of big piles of leaves provides not only the utmost convenience from one machine but adds value throughout the year.
John Quinn, course manager at The Mere Golf Resort, has the following to say about Toro’s ProLine H800 direct collect rotary mower:
“I’ve used a cut and collect machine before, but not one with enough capacity and power to pick up large piles of leaves, which was no issue for the ProLine. It will serve us well for core collecting after aerating and is agile enough to easily manoeuvre while cutting in and around the trees.”
Budgets may be tighter and teams may be smaller, so it’s time to ask your machinery to do more.
Reesink is available to help you decide which machines will work best for your specific requirements and budget. There are always flexible finance deals available with deferred start dates, subsidised rates or that can be aligned to peak income months to help manage cashflow, too. It only takes a conversation. Make contact online at via reesinkturfcare, by phone on 01480 226800 or by email at email@example.com.
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