Wide Area Mowing with 50HP
When mounted on a compact tractor, the 4m Major Swift trailed roller mower delivers performance, efficiency and reliability for the dedicated team of groundskeepers at Blundell’s School in Devon.
If you were to look back through the annals of history, at the time of the passing of Queen Elizabeth 1st, just before Guy Fawkes was condemned for trying to blow up Parliament and, when the now famous ship – the Mayflower, first set sail for Plymouth, well that’s about the period when Blundell’s School in Tiverton, Devon, was founded. Today, Blundell’s has a renowned, strong and solid reputation for schooling, educating and preparing students for their role in life. Over 400 years of educational history provides a foundation in life, that is the envy of many other establishments. They have a school mantra that states; ‘There are two gifts we can give our children: one is roots and the other is wings.’
Blundell’s nestles in a beautiful, rural parkland area of Mid Devon and its estate occupies 110acres. An important part of the school curriculum revolves around sport and Blundell’s boasts some nine cricket squares, ten rugby pitches, five football fields and two astro turf facilities for hockey and tennis. Maintaining these facilities to the highest standards is Head Groundsman Graham Cox with his team of eight professional ground staff including two gardeners for the gardens and formal lawns. Instead of Blundell’s taking the contractor route for grounds care, they have their own team of highly qualified and capable grounds keepers because they are dedicated to ensuring the entire facilities, are maintained to the highest standards for their pupils on a daily basis.
Commented Graham Cox, Head Groundsman, “We are fortunate that the school management team at Blundell’s understands and appreciates the need for investment in quality equipment to enable us to provide the very best grounds and sports facilities for our pupils. We have recently made a significant investment in new machinery that includes two new Iseki TG6495 fifty horsepower (50hp) compact tractors and a Major 4m Swift trailed roller mower. We chose what we consider the best for our purposes – not necessarily the cheapest, but equipment that gives greater performance, efficiency and reliability. These pieces of machinery will reflect quality in the end result on our various sports pitches and amenity areas. Above all, our aim is to maintain a level of unmatched quality in everything we do.”
Graham, together with his deputy, Richard Hutchings, always include their team members when deciding on what equipment to buy, after having demonstrations at their own facilities before making a decision.
Added Graham, “We include our ground staff in our machine choice decision-making, because we appreciate the knowledge and feedback that evolves as a team decision. We had a demonstration of the Major Swift, trailed roller mower, and we also tried similar styled products from other manufacturers. The Major Swift performed much better in wet conditions. We liked that the Swift was gear-driven and there were no belts that would need adjusting and having a number of specification benefits including a three-year guarantee – the team decision was to choose the four-metre Swift model.”
Since taking delivery of the Major Swift Mower it has proven to be it has been the right choice for the team at Blundell’s School. “Because of its excellent output and reduced maintenance times, we have seen our mowing times reduce from five days a week, right down to two or three days a week, which means much greater efficiency of manpower and releases one man for up to three days a week for other duties. The cost saving have been significant,” explained Graham.
The Major Swift is a 4m trailed roller mower with a transport width of only 2.4m, folding wings and road lighting. Its lightness is down to the construction using high-performance Strenx™ 700 MC structural steel, which is lighter but stronger than ordinary steel and therefore the reduced weight minimises ground compaction and, fits to a wider range of compact tractors because of its lighter weight. Rollers at the front and rear of the cutting deck means that it leaves a clear striped finish in all conditions from its six cutting rotors and twelve cutting blades.
“This year, even with the wet conditions, we have been able to get onto the grass, six to eight weeks earlier than historically because of the Swift being lighter and trailed – so there’s another big advantage that’s difficult to value, but it’s a very big positive for us. The Swift gives us a really high quality finish, pretty much the same as you would get from a cylinder mower, but without the maintenance and high repair costs” commented Graham.
Blundell’s School local dealer MST, were very supportive in helping Graham and his team to choose the right equipment. The entire investment package has proven to be the right choice and with the dealer back-up, Blundell’s School can always provide the ultimate in pitch and grounds preparation for their pupils.
“There are a lot of pressures on the grounds staff in-season with lots of fixtures and senior school events following day-after-day. However, with the new Iseki tractor power and the mowing capability that we now have from the Major Swift, we are on top of all the jobs without cutting corners or losing time. The feedback from our school and the pupils regarding the quality of our playing fields and pitches has been excellent and it means we are motivated and very capable as a team to making sure the job is done right, on time, every time, with minimal fuss.”