It's a mower. No, it's a scarifier. If you have an Etesia ride-on mower with hydraulics to the front, then you could fit a number of attachments - one of which is this nifty scarifier. Others include brush, blower and snow or dozer blade.

It makes sense to use a power unit you already have in your armoury to power other equipment, and this is a perfect example. We take the Etesia 124DN - a very good ride-on mower in its own right - and add Etesia's quick-attach scarifying unit. No special tools are required to fit the MSC scarifier on the PTO - the three pipes simply plug in. Installation is quick.

The big advantage of doing this is that not only is it a wide working width but the material generated during the process can be collected in the mower's collector, making the process speedy and efficient.

In fact, you can run this combination - powered by the 124DN's 25hp water-cooled Lombardini diesel engine - at speeds of up to 16kmph. Then you can tip the material from the collector straight into a trailer, truck or skip. When emptying, this high-lift unit has maximum height clearance of 1.8m.

With a working width of 1.25m, the MSC scarifier comprises two separate floating heads designed to follow ground contours and leave a quality finish.

Driven off the machine's hydraulic system, the units have a series of 2mm blades with variable depth adjustment. The twin units can be lifted for transport and are retractable for passing through narrow entrances.

"It's not a purpose-built machine but it is taking advantage of hydraulics you already have - and the bonus is that the debris pulled out of the sward is collected," says Ekin. But you do need the right conditions for this operation.

Test day was scheduled at the end of a rain-ladened week. The ground was saturated and as a result the mower/scarifier combination did leave marks. Ekin adds: "The operator needs to judge the conditions and we've had too much rain, but the operation itself is ideal because you are scarifying and collecting in one pass."

Working width: 125cm
Engine: Powered off Etesia 124DN's hydraulics
Blades: 2mm
Cutting depth: Adjustable
Collector: Material collected in 124DN's 600-litre high-tip collector
List price (ex VAT): £2,430
Contact: Etesia on 01926 403319


Etesia 124DN

Efco AG50 H60

Imants Rotoknife

Husqvarna DT22

Verti-Drain 7621


- Robert Pinion, groundsman, College of West Anglia, Milton Campus, Cambridge

- Alan Mitch, machinery workshop technician, College of West Anglia, Milton Campus, Cambridge

- Tim Jellis, head groundsman, College of West Anglia, Milton Campus, Cambridge

- Mark Ekin, programme area manager (horticulture, agriculture and countryside), College of West Anglia, Milton Campus, Cambridge

- Dave Roberts, grounds manager, Charterhouse School, Surrey

The tramp of feet and the weight of maintenance equipment is enough to cause compaction in most soils. With the air squeezed out and water unable to penetrate, the roots suffer first and then the effect is seen above ground.

Aeration and scarification are essential. We look at two aerators - the Rotoknife at Charterhouse School in Surrey and the Verti-Drain 7621 in a waterlogged part of Milton Campus near Cambridge.

At Milton, we also try out two pedestrian scarifiers and a unit that mounts to an Etesia ride-on mower. How will they cope when ground conditions are wet and sticky?



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