BLEC SR3H pedestrian rotor rake

The BLEC SR3H pedestrian rotor rake is the machine to place your trust in if the site can't be accessed and worked by the tractor-mounted BLEC/Harley power box rake. We test it in the glasshouse border soil at Wisbech College.

The SR3H has been designed specifically to attach to power tillers such as the Honda F720 or F810, and does a three-in-one job to level, grade and rake the soil into a condition ready for seeding or accepting turf. It beats hand-raking and will save a lot of time and effort. BLEC sells the rake already fitted to the F720 or on its own for fitting to your own power tiller or some two-wheel tractors such as BLEC, BCS, Agria and SEP.

The design is simple but remarkably effective. The hydraulically powered rake, bearing all-steel tines, is mounted to a heavy-duty frame with adjustable rear castor wheels. The rotor teeth penetrate soil - even heavily-compacted soil - and fork out stones and debris. At the same time, the contra-rotating tines also level and grade the surface. The adjustable rear castor wheels control the depth

Setting up the machine is straight-forward and angling the rotor is controlled hydraulically - just nudge the lever. With the Honda power unit equipped with high- and low-speed PTO, you can make the rotor work at slow speed for initial raking or high speed to give the desired finish. Steering the machine is simple thanks to slewing clutches fitted to the power unit.

What we especially like about the BLEC rotor rake is the smoothness of running. It doesn't take long to master the controls and, attached to a Honda power unit, we find it is easy to manoeuvre into position. Taking the rake off takes seconds to allow access through gateways. Other attachments, including rotary brush and spring-tine rotor, further extend the use of this kit.

The review panel

Rob Pinion
, grounds person, College of West Anglia, Wisbech

Barbara Welbourn
, assistant grounds person, College of West Anglia, Wisbech.

Carrying out a test of cultivation equipment in December was always likely to be plagued by the vagaries of the British weather. That is why we chose to test the equipment in the eastern part of the country. But even at Wisbech the rain can be torrential - so much so that the normally free-draining soil became saturated.

Although the conditions for testing could hardly be further from ideal, we were able to look at six items of cultivation equipment. In the pedestrian section we chose the Husqvarna CRT51 as an example of a wheeled rotary cultivator. It turned out to be a surprise when it came to coping with sticky, waterlogged soil.

The Husqvarna T200 compact and Mantis tiller were selected as examples of small, narrow-width rotary tillers, while the Efco MZ2090R is a full-width tiller. Finally, we looked at two machines from BLEC. The BLEC/Harley power box rake is a tractor-mounted, PTO-driven unit for preparing seedbeds and the BLEC SR3H pedestrian rotor rake is a walk-behind unit for use with Honda power tillers.

The rains eased for the duration of the tests but the soil remained saturated throughout this time. The wind was a cold easterly.

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