The TM749 is a seven-unit mower. It arrives on site fitted with Hayter MK3 250mm diameter, four-bladed, fixed cutting units. It’s a stunning sight; dark green livery with gold lettering. But already we notice a difference. The cutting heads on the TM749 are tidily wrapped over the mower body, making the whole machine remarkably compact and perfect for towing. Unfold the heads and we find the TM749 has attitude.
The mower is hydraulically driven from the tractor — it requires 60hp minimum —through a heavy-duty gearbox with direct-mounted hydraulic pumps driving the cylinders. A separate, independent pump takes care of the unit lifting and lowering functions, so power delivery to the cutting circuits is not interrupted. Each cutting head is 762mm wide, providing a total cutting width of 4.78m. Cylinder speed is around 1,050rpm.
Normally the cables and controls would be fitted into the tractor cab but with the Kubota ME9000 loaned to us by William Wheatley of Alton, Hampshire, our tester is asked to operate the mower from the the rear window frame. Nevertheless, it only takes him a couple of minutes to master the controls. One lever controls the five central units. The two outside units feature individual lift, so the machine can be adapted on the spot for mowing with either of the outer cylinders lifted. A fourth lever overrides the system to raise or lower all the units simultaneously — a brilliant feature.
“It’s a nice working width with all the heads down and, even with the dew, it is throwing the grass out,” says the tester.
We test the cut-off rate. We are told it is 20cm. “Looks as though the blades stop as soon as the cylinders leave the ground,” says another tester.
A ring hitch and wide-angle PTO maximise manoeuvrability in work and reduce shaft wear. One tester finds the big mower much more manoeuvrable than he expects. He flies down the field and loses no time on the turns.
“You can keep the blades going when you turn — that’s important because time is of the essence for a contractor. The last thing you want is to have to stop and start every few minutes,” he says.
Height is easy to set from 15mm to 80mm but requires a 19mm spanner. It takes two adjustments on each roller but a nice touch is the use of a spacer at the bottom to make sure the cylinders are never run on the bottom blade.
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