Major Swift offers more than just beautiful cutting results
Sports field managers and groundskeepers should consider a Major Swift rotary mower. It delivers the same finish as a cylinder mower and the tractor can be used year-round.
Purists swear by cylinder mowers because they give the best look, but this group is quickly dwindling. The management of sports fields and public green spaces are now the domain of managers and pragmatists who go by the numbers. With the MAJOR Swift rollermower, Major Equipment manages to find a good balance. “One of the reasons why I like the finish of a cylinder mower is because it uses two blades to cut the grass,” says Johannes Ballast. Major Equipment uses the same principle in its grounds care machinery. “The patented double-chop blade system in the MAJOR Swifts runs at very high speeds, so the grass leans back before it is cut.” The mowing pattern is comparable to a cylinder mower but at a fraction of the price. “What makes the Swift extra attractive is the total purchase price of a tractor and mower is comparable to the cost of one cylinder mower. The cylinder mower can only be used during the mowing season, while the tractor used to power the Swift can also be used for other activities,” remarks Ballast.
For this reason, Evert Van Dijk of Stichting Wijksport in Wijk bij Duurstede says this is the best investment they made in the last two years. “We purchased both a 40-hp Iseki TLE3400 tractor and a MAJOR Swift rigid deck roller mower in 2.4m working width. We can use the tractor for leaf blowing or brushing the artificial grass field so we hit two birds with one stone.” In fact, Van Dijk has knocked out an entire nest. “Compared to the cylinder mower that we had before, we can start mowing earlier in the morning because it leaves less clumps in the field, even if the grass is still a little dewy.” Van Dijk says that he does not see any clumps if he has to mow longer grass, which is why he also uses the MAJOR Swift to mow the surrounds around the sports park in Wijk bij Duurstede.
Work at speed
In addition to getting more uses out of the tractor, Van Dijk also praises the speed of working. “I estimate that we need 15 to 20 minutes less time to mow an entire football field. If we assume we save 15 minutes per field and we have six fields, we save an hour and a half each time. We mow on average 40 times a year. A quick calculation tells me I save 60 hours per year.” That translates to two full weeks of savings per year. “Because the mower only has four lubrication points, it is faster and easier to maintain. With the cylinder mower we had to lubricate at least 15 points at a time. And the best of all, we can take the mower on public roads at speed. This will certainly lead to additional savings if we are to manage the football pitches in Cothen and Langbroek Kootwijkerbroek.” A tractor with a Swift cutting deck can drive 40 km per hour on public roads.
Eddie van der Stappen from Weeer XL shares Van Dijk’s enthusiasm. Weener XL is the work and development agency of the municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch that offers employment services and resources to meet the needs of the region’s business and workforce. It offers Grounds and Greenskeeping services to the community. “We maintain 54 natural grass fields and 24 hectares of green spaces. We invested in a MAJOR Swift 1.9m front-mounted mower and a 4.0m rear-mounted three point linkage mower. We now have more hours for other work.” For Van der Stappen, easy operability and maintenance are more important considerations. “Just like many landscaping companies, it is difficult for us to find good drivers for the mowers. The MAJOR Swift is very forgiving and can be easily adjusted. Almost anyone who has the required papers can drive this mower. As long as you lubricate the mower properly, you run much less risk of wear.”
The tractor driveline directly powers MAJOR mowers, which is transferred almost entirely by the PTO shaft to the blade. “A good hydraulically-driven mower with cooler still has a 15 percent loss of efficiency, while a mower with an electric engine loses around 40 percent of work-up power,” notes Johannes Ballast. This is one of the reasons why Eddie van der Stappen is not in favour of electric mowers. “The other reason is that an electric mower always keeps running, even when the speed is lower. The finished cut is less impressive.” Where electronics and hydraulics require specialist knowledge, a hammer and a wrench can accomplish much on a MAJOR Swift. Fortunately, neither Van der Stappen nor Van Dijk has experienced any problems. Johannes Ballast expects that it will be a long time before that moment arrives. “Most self-propelled mowers have a life span of just 6,000 hours, but for a tractor, 6,000 hours of working means that only the head is just finished.” Ballast is convinced that a tractor in combination with a MAJOR Swift will last at least three times as long as the old techniques.
These were the reasons the grounds managers in Ameland purchased a MAJOR rollermower. “It is inconvenient for us to purchase a machine that regularly has to go back to the supplier for maintenance,” says Siprian de Jong of Ameland Municipality. “The maintenance works consists largely of cleaning and lubricating. We can perform this work ourselves.” More specifically, the MAJOR Swift only requires that the blades are sharpened and that the roller bearings and roller scrapers are replaced. The frequency of this depends on the usage. In addition, the gears, driveline, and PTO must be lubricated regularly. The municipality has its own technician especially for this type of work so the machine does not have to return to the shores. “Until 2017 we also mowed with flail mowers on Ameland. We then had a cylinder mower on trial for a few months. The finish was impressive and the MAJOR Swift comes very close that. We hesitated between the cylinder mower and the MAJOR. But the purchase price and maintenance costs of the cylinder mower were so much higher we firmly decided on the MAJOR Swift. We have no regrets about that choice!”
Flexible and versatile
In addition to the simple maintenance, De Jong also praises the machine’s versatility. “In addition to mowing the sports fields, we also use the tractor for other work on the fields such as aerating and fertilizing. The tractor is also used for work outside the sports fields. Smooth set-up and dismantling were important for us,” he continues. Attaching and detaching the cutting deck takes less than five minutes. The MAJOR Swift lives up to its name in that respect. “You spend more time cleaning and adjusting the cutting height,” acknowledges De Jong. However, the cutting height is only adjusted a few times a year on Ameland.
The MAJOR Swift does what a cylinder mower does, but much faster and easier and for a fraction of the price. The MAJOR Swift is therefore a major step forward in all respects.
The article appeared originally in Field Manager in Dutch here.