The Groundsman

May 2012

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40 PRODUCT SHOWCASE Maintaining access to green corridors Alistair and colleagues use a 65RS, powered by a 49 HP VM emission controlled engine and with front wheel steering and 12 forward and 12 reverse gears. Also available are 46 and 56 HP and articulated versions, plus the option of reverse direction drive. There are 3,200 kms of public footpaths and other rights of way in East Sussex, and keeping the paths open and well maintained is one of the jobs of the East Sussex County Council's Economy Transport and Environment Department. Countryside Maintenance Ranger Alistair Wallis and his team use a Ferrari Cobram tractor and Seppi offset mulcher (both from Lamberhurst Engineering) to help them achieve the task. The four-wheel drive compact tractor was purchased for its manoeuvrability in tight areas and its stability on uneven ground. The low profile vehicle has a tight turning radius and is specifically designed for confined space work. Maxi-mum benefits The Massey Ferguson Sports and Social Club in Coventry, close to where the iconic tractors were once produced, is a reminder of Britain's great manufacturing heritage. But these days it also fulfils the important role of a community resource as well as providing leisure facilities for employees of AGCO, the multi-national giant that purchased Massey Ferguson in 1994. Bob Stretton has been Head Groundsman at the club since 2006, and there has also been a concerted programme of machinery investment and, he says, one of the most important purchases was a Sisis Maxislit. "The club is situated on a clay plane, with the clay just 6-8 inches below the topsoil in places," he explains. "When the water table rises in winter, it can be a struggle to get rainwater through the surface." Chosen to alleviate compaction and consolidation, the Maxislit also helps to move water through the soil profile through the winter sports season, helping to dry out the surface. With a working width of 1.8 m it makes light work of multiple pitches and comes with a choice of tines. Bob has enjoyed a long relationship with Sisis over his 25-year career as a groundsman. "I purchased an Auto Rotorake and a Tru level roller for another club, and was impressed by the product range. The club was happy to be guided by me, so we chose Sisis when it came to buying a slitter." The Maxislit played a key role in Bob being recognised by the FA when winning the national Groundsman of the Year award in 2008-9 for levels 5-6. The one being used in East Sussex is fitted with a fold-down protective roll bar. Its chassis, and that of all Cobram models, oscillates front to back about 15 deg, so work on uncertain terrain is made all the more easier and maximum traction is maintained at all times. Alistair says that previously this work was done using a less stable tractor with a flail unit in a fixed position rigidly behind the vehicle. It meant that passes had to be made exactly over uncut material with the consequence of regular punctures. The Seppi SMWA offset mulching unit is designed for awkward undulating, winding or sloping areas. the Groundsman May 2012 Turf standards rise Members of Letchworth Croquet Club say their lawns have never looked or played so well since a new Allett Tournament 24 took over the mowing. The precision fine turf mower is used to maintain a consistent grass height of around 5 mm, and ground maintenance manager, Duncan Hector, says: "We've seen a dramatic rise in turf standards thanks to the machine's excellent cut. This is assisted by its turf groomer attachment which lifts lateral grasses and dead material just ahead of the cutting cylinder," he says. "The result is a level and consistent finish." Having tested the surface speed at a 5 mm cutting height, the team found that the use of the groomer produced an increase in ball speed of between 10 and 20 per cent. Established in 1987, the croquet club is a thriving section of the Letchworth Sports and Tennis Club, playing league, cup and friendly matches on croquet lawns covering around 2,000 m2 . It has 90 members.

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