Going green and "mowing for less" are two major themes highlighted by companies attending this year's IoG Saltex.
Green credentials receive a boost at the show with several companies showing off machines fitted with new low-emission engines, but, going one step further, Amazone Groundcare is launching a bio-fuel variant of its Profihopper ride-on mower. This latest model has a bio-ethanol engine and bio-hydraulic oil system.
"We are responding to customer requests for more environmentally friendly equipment," explains Amazone Groundcare product manager Joe Weston. "The impetus for many customers, especially councils, is the reduction of their carbon emissions - but with rising diesel prices and uncertainty over supply, the economic arguments are increasingly coming to the fore."
The advantages of the Profihopper flail mower relate to the way it cuts. The 1.25m-wide flail system, combined with the auger collection system, means the machine performs well in wet conditions and it copes with foreign objects, such as drinks cans. It also leaves a quality finish and can even stripe lawns in high-profile areas. A new "big bag system" - enabling the operator to empty the hopper into a bag for collection later by a truck with hoist - should appeal to those councils with a cut-and-collect policy.
Recognising that pressure is increasing on contractors to reduce costs year on year, JCB Groundcare is introducing its first out-front mower - the FM30 - to cut costs and improve performance on a variety of mowing applications from banks and verges to sports pitches.
Powered by a low-vibration, low-noise and low-emission diesel engine, the new mower features an all-steel body, four-wheel-drive operation, two-range hydrostatic transmission, a three-diff-lock system to prevent scalping and a choice of cutting decks.
There are 1.5m and 1.8m rotary decks, but more interesting is the 1.4m twin-flail, where the front flails cut the grass and the rear ones reprocess the grass into fine mulch and force it back into the sward to eliminate the need for clipping collection. This twin-flail deck was also found to cut up to 30 per cent quicker than a 60' (1.52m) rotary equivalent.
"The multi-purpose machine successfully cuts and/or mulches anything from sports turf to shrubby vegetation so one machine, one operator and one attachment can handle a wide variety of grounds maintenance tasks," explains JCB Groundcare general manager Paul Hartshorn.
Helping end users to combat rising prices when buying new machinery, Etesia is launching an "economy" high-tip ride-on rotary at this year's show. At £16,779 ex VAT, the 1.24m-wide 124DH mower is fitted with a 25hp Lombardini diesel engine and provides emptying of the 600-litre collector at a height of 1.8m. The anti-clog rotary, with hydraulic drive, has a top working speed of 16km/h and is able to collect in forward and reverse.
The choice of machines for working quickly in confined spaces, such as housing estates and cemeteries, has grown with the launch of a compact Gizmow Formula. This is the only commercial, ride-on zero-turn with a steering wheel, and the new mid-sized 48' (1.22m) rear-discharge model is shown by Parts Depot UK, alongside the 61' (1.54m) version. The new Gizmow is powered by a three-cylinder 23hp diesel engine.
The line-up of roller mowers from Major has been extended further this year with the introduction of two models with power requirements down to 35hp.
The Major 11000GR and 15000GR, with cutting widths of 3.2m and 4.6m respectively, come equipped with a four-point pivot system to ensure constant contact with undulating ground and enable cutting heights from 150mm down to 12mm. The machines also offer a choice of front- or rear-mounting. Slip clutch and over-run on the PTO are supplied as standard.
Trimax Mowing System is taking the covers off the much-anticipated Pegasus Series 3 Elite. This model offers new features to reduce downtime further and optimise cutting performance. Changes to the mower deck construction have improved cut-height accuracy, which is supplemented with new easy-to-read height indicators. Options include a remote transport lock-release system, anti-bounce skids and all-new rigid roller scrapers.
Mulching is the theme on Tracmaster's stand as the company highlights a range of grounds-care and conservation machinery that includes the new BCS Professional Mulching Mower. This unit has an 80cm mulching deck and is intended for heavy-duty cutting and clearing tasks on difficult terrain. For safety, the machine has an automatic blade brake and two retractable pivoting castor wheels at the front.
For cutting through thick vegetation, such as that alongside motorways or railway lines, Greenmech has developed the Multi-Task 120. This powerful ride-on brushcutter is built around the principle of SAFE-Track, using stabiliser legs with 60cm of travel on each side to allow the chassis to remain level on a 30 degs slope. In addition, the operator can remain level on angles beyond 35 degs by electrically swivelling the seat 20 degs either way.
At the business end of the Multi-Task 120 machine is a 1.5m-wide mulching head, capable of processing standing timber up to a thickness of 10cm. To make even more use of the 120hp Deutz engine, the mounting plate is designed to take implements from skid-steer manufacturers.
Tracks are also a feature of the new S426TR shredder from Timberwolf. Like the road-tow version introduced in January, this machine can process a wide range of materials, including green waste, pallets, cardboard and packaging, but has the go-anywhere ability of a tracked machine. The in-feed is 426mm x 230mm.
Last year distributor KOB Groundcare attended Saltex to launch the LS Rio (28hp, 36hp and 50hp) and LSU Series (43hp, 50hp and 60hp) tractors. This year KOB returns to show the expanded range and backs its offering with a variety of finance and lease packages plus a specialist spare-parts service.
At the sub-compact end you can expect to see LS models with 20hp, 23hp and 27hp Mitsubishi three-cylinder engines. Transmission in all cases is two-stage hydrostatic. At the other end of the scale, and completing the LS range, the Plus Series is shown for the first time. Again there are three models - 71hp, 79hp and 87hp - each powered by Iveco Tier 3 engines and offering manoeuvrability with a 55 degs steering angle.
Continuing a trend towards larger compact tractors, Landini is unveiling the 6544 model with an attractive, all-in specification that is usually the preserve of high horsepower equipment. The newcomer is designed to complement the existing Compact 40 Series (28hp to 47hp) and bridges the gap to the full-size Landini Powerfarm utility model. It should attract attention from the grounds maintenance industry. "I think this tractor will have widespread use for grounds care work," confirms Landini UK sales manager Adrian Winnett. "The standard specification for a tractor of this size is excellent and it's well put together."
The Landini 6544's 2.5-litre Mitsubishi four-cylinder engine develops 57hp and drives through a 32x16 synchro-shuttle transmission with creep ratios included as standard. For operating implements there is a three-speed PTO system providing 540rpm at standard engine rpm, or at a slower speed for greater fuel economy, but at the flick of a switch 1,000rpm can be obtained for more demanding equipment.
Twin double-acting valves increase the versatility of the tractor and with a lift of 1,750kg. It should be able to handle plenty of kit. Air-conditioning, adjustable steering column and hydrostatic twin-ram steering for 55 degs turning are also standard features on the 6544.
The new-look 2008 Mitsubishi Compact range can be inspected on the stand. The range currently extends to nine models and is built around five engine capacities (18hp, 20hp, 26hp, 30hp and 35hp), all powered by a three-cylinder water-cooled, diesel unit and with the option of manual gearbox or hydrostatic transmission.
Promising to take utility-vehicle performance to new levels, the Groundhog 4x4 debuts on JCB Groundcare's stand. The four-wheel drive intends to open up a vast range of potential applications in the landscaping and estate and golf course management sectors. The top speed is 50km/h and it has a 26hp diesel engine.
Saltex is also the place to visit for the latest sprayer technology. Martin Lishman is offering a new tractor-mounted compact sprayer in five capacities from 200 to 600 litres. Part of Lishman's Midi-Spray range, the new models have an integral hygiene tank as standard and a circuit-rinse clean water tank conveniently placed at low level for easy filling. The larger tanks have an induction hopper and in-cab electronic controls fitted as standard.
Martin Lishman is also offering compost tea systems made by Growing Solutions in the US. The firm believes compost tea can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to expensive fertilisers.
Contractor Complete Weed Control (CWC) is offering improved accuracy of chemical treatment because of heightened sensitivity on the Mach 3 Weed-IT machine for which CWC has sole user rights in the UK. The company will also announce a programme of roadshows for 2008 at the show. "Weed-IT delivers the most accurate spot treatment available," says CWC technical director Alan Abel. "Our mission with the roadshows is to inform those managing weed control programmes of the value of the technology in limiting the quantities of pesticides that contractors apply to pedestrian areas, enabling organisations to comply with the EU sustainable use of pesticides strategy."
Now that cleansing is often included in grounds maintenance contacts we are seeing a greater number of blowers entering the market - including models with advanced features. Boasting low decibel ratings, yet providing airflow values of up to 354cu m/min, the AgriMetal tractor-mounted leaf and debris blower makes its debut on JSM Distribution's stand. This four-model range, featuring aluminium impellers to reduce energy requirement and loadings, suits tractors from 16hp to 45hp and includes a 180 degs hydraulically controlled deflector as standard.
For handheld blowers, be sure to visit the Stihl stand, where the company is launching four professional models. The new "86 class" units combine four of the company's latest technologies: a new engine with stratified "scavenging", new long-life air-filter system, new anti-vibration system and new simplified start up. Also appearing on the stand are enhanced hedgetrimmers, three new lightweight chainsaws and the latest line-up of Viking mowers - including two roller rotaries due out next spring.
Swindon-based Bunce displays a solution for the removal of moss, mud and snow - a 1m-wide rotary brush fitted to an SEP two-wheeled tractor. The sweeper can be angled left or right, has height-adjustable castors and can be supplied with wire, polypropylene or a wire/polypropylene brush. Wire sections are said to be effective against moss on paved areas, while polymer sections enable the brush to be used on synthetic pitches.
The growth in synthetic turf facilities is reflected by the increasing number of manufacturers and suppliers offering equipment for the maintenance of sand and rubber-filled surfaces. New from Thornton Sports is the TG3 Groomer - a machine designed specifically for rubber-filled synthetic pitches. The TG3 is available in two sizes and is coupled via the three-point linkage to a tractor or towed by a suitable vehicle in order to decompact, clean and restore synthetic turf.
New on Eric Hunter's stand is the French-manufactured YVMO artificial-turf sweeper. It will sweep, collect, roll and brush sand and rubber crumb into artificial surfaces. At the front is a removable spring tine unit to decompact pitches. A rear-view mirror allows the operator to monitor work while working at a forward speed of 5.6km/h.
The 1.4m-wide YVMO has a minimum power requirement of 18hp and is three-point-linkage mounted.
Offering groundsmen a new, cost-effective solution for cleaning and maintaining sand and rubber-infilled synthetic sports surfaces, Charterhouse Turf Machinery is highlighting the Verti-Top Vac.
Part of the growing range of synthetic turf maintenance equipment from Charterhouse, the Verti-Top Vac is tractor-mounted to enable more regular use to improve playing quality and prolong the life of what can be a substantial investment.
The Verti-Top Vac uses a large rotary brush to sweep the surface and collect material from within the carpet. The material is then placed on an oscillating sieve to separate debris from the infill, which is then returned and brushed into the surface. Large pieces of debris are deposited into a hopper while lighter pieces such as hair and skin are collected into a bag on top of the hopper. Adjustable tines at the front of the machine loosen and decompact the surface ahead of the brush for optimum cleaning.
The Kersten stand is also offering a range of artificial sports maintenance machines for clearing and presenting sand and rubber-filled surfaces. Kersten says that its latest machines have been deliberately designed to damp down vibrations, allowing workers to use them for a full eight-hour shift.
NEW HOLLAND - NEW RANGE
New Holland is entering new sectors and markets as it launches its most comprehensive product range to date and capitalises on the growing popularity of the brand.
Tractors remain at the heart of New Holland's expertise. A new series of compacts takes centre stage at Saltex. The Boomer Series is in the 21hp to 45hp bracket and uses New Holland's established high-tech features, such as the Supersuite cab and Supersteer steering, as well as introducing options such as Superspeed CVT transmission.
In contrast to the premium Boomer Series, New Holland has also added value-for-money compact tractors - the T1500 range - at 30hp and 35hp. Groundsmen and contractors can also get their first look at the T5000 utility tractor that offers increased power from new Tier 3 emissions-compliant engines delivering power from 76hp to 106hp.
The latest mowers in the New Holland portfolio include the G6000 diesel out-front with Tier 3 engines. For heavy workloads, power on the largest model has been boosted to 36hp. A 31hp version also makes its debut. And for the first time the firm is offering high-quality finishing mowers. These come in cutting widths from 1.2m to 5.72m. Five zero-turn units complete the mower line-up.
Expanding the professional range further, New Holland is also unveiling its first utility vehicle. The Blueline Husky UTV is suited to golf, ground care and estate industries.
A selection of popular Honda quad bikes will be the focal point of Saltex's off-road ATV course at Windsor. In a specially constructed course marshalled by Honda staff, the Fourtrax 250 and 420 models, as well as the Forman 500, will be available for visitors to test-drive. The vehicles are Honda's core utility products for the grounds maintenance and open- space management sectors because of their price-performance ratios.
City & Guilds NPTC is launching revised full-time horticultural qualifications. The Level 3 Advanced National Diploma in Horticulture is a new development and offers a two-year course of study. Also new is the Level 3 Advanced National Certificate in Sports & Amenity Turf Management, developed in conjunction with the Institute of Groundsmanship.
New courses starting at Myerscough College include a Foundation Degree in Sportsturf and Golf Course Management, and an Introductory Diploma in Sports Turf. Sports turf machinery maintenance, cylinder grinding and introductions to turfgrass and golf course agronomy are among the latest short courses for the industry.
Are you aware of the funding and training available for you and your business? How do you feel about training and skills issues facing the industry? Visit the Training & Business Development stand - sponsored by Lantra - to find out more.
With models for trimming round obstacles or clearing rides through woodland, the range of DR wheeled mowers is displayed by Rochford GM. All models benefit from big go-anywhere puncture-proof wheels plus a safety brake/clutch system.
Bernhard & Co, well-known for its comprehensive range of sharpening systems for golf and sports turf mowing machines, is venturing into debris clearance with the launch of a range of tractor-mounted turf vacuums and engine-driven leaf blowers.
X-Torq is one of Husqvarna's concepts applied to the company's latest chainsaws, trimmers, leaf blowers and brushcutters. The new engine gives 60 per cent lower emissions and saves 20 per cent on fuel.
A petrol-engined version of the Premier mower makes its debut on Dennis' stand. With a choice of 76cm or 91cm cut, this heavyweight cylinder mower has a three-section rear roller and steering brakes for manoeuvrability. Powered by a Honda engine, the petrol Premier is quieter and has less vibration.
New for 2008 from Central Spares is a range of chipper shredders from the UK and Germany, together with the latest arboricultural products such as the Petzl Sequoia advanced arborist harness.
The Lawn & Garden Division of EP Barrus is launching two Cub Cadet "out-front" cutter deck tractors (above). Model 42RD has a 15hp single cylinder Courage engine and 107cm width of cut with rear discharge, while the 50SD is powered by a 22hp Kawasaki engine and has a 127cm mulching deck with side-discharge option.
A sample of the new Kaaz Professional lawnmower can be viewed on Danarm's stand. The design features a new anti-vibration system, larger-capacity grass bag, single-height adjusters for front and rear, integral bumper and new drive and blade levers.