Turf maintenance: IoG Saltex 2012 preview

The latest cylinder mowers with cassette systems will be one of the highlights on show at next month's IoG Saltex, writes Sally Drury.

Allett C-34 has improved cutting unit visibility - image: Allett Mowers
Allett C-34 has improved cutting unit visibility - image: Allett Mowers

Versatility is the focus of manufacturers displaying turf maintenance kit at this year's IoG Saltex, with no less than four companies showcasing cylinder mowers with cassette systems to cover all needs.

Allett Mowers has upgraded its C-34 pedestrian cylinder, with improvements to the cutting unit visibility, weight distribution and manoeuvrability - all designed to appeal to professionals engaged in sports ground and pitch maintenance.

In addition to its capabilities as a sixor eight-bladed precision mower, the C-34 can be fitted with quickly-interchangeable cartridge heads suitable for scarifying, verticutting or rotary brushing. This makes the machine a cost-effective tool for budget-conscious owners and operators across the public and private sectors.

The most obvious change on the C-34 is the repositioning of the Honda GX200 engine to the centre, a move intended to improve both weight distribution and balance. Further weight enhancements have been achieved by the introduction of a new, lighter grass collector with redesigned mounting, making box removal and replacement easier and faster.

And in response to requests, visibility of the mower's front roller has been improved by reducing the height and altering the angle of the stainless steel guard enclosing the shaft supplying drive to the cutting cylinder and rubber-covered rear roller.

Along with wider handlebars, these changes are complemented by a 56 per cent increase in the diameter of the front roller to 89mm and a reduction in the height of the curved throw plate immediately behind the cutting cylinder - both measures improve visibility of the cutting unit when mowing, while also enhancing delivery of grass into the collector. Expect to pay £6,148 + VAT for the eight-bladed version of Allett Mowers' C-34.

Aggressively priced, the new Protea cassette system can be viewed on Rivendell Products' stand. The Heavy Duty series has been further developed to permit the use of a variety of reels and extend the machine's applications to scarifying, verticutting, aeration and brushing.

Football by-product

The system was initially developed as a special project for the World Cup in 2011, when 87 Protea 914HD 36in cylinder mowers were supplied to football stadia throughout southern Africa. For the 2012-13 season, the range comprises an eight-bladed cutting unit, a verticutter, two versions of the scarifier with straight or offset blades and a brushing unit. A sorrel roller will be added in spring next year. The 30in system costs £3,400 + VAT for the motor unit and just £750 for each cassette.

ATT's refined INFiNiCut pedestrian mower, which is a mower and turf refinement cassette system, comes under the spotlight on The Grass Group's stand. Energised by INFiNiPower, the unit can be powered by battery for those areas close to buildings, and then switched to the hybrid energy/generator for locations further away - all in the field without the need to return to the workshop.

This year's rainfall has demonstrated the importance of eliminating compaction in the reduction of standing water and waterlogging. Deep aeration is demonstrated on Terrain Aeration's stand, where directors Lynda and David Green will be celebrating 20 years of working with the Deep Drill. This machine has become a proven remedy for waterlogged and poorly aerated bowling greens and cricket wickets.

Complementing the Deep Drill, Terrain Aeration will also show the Airforce Terralift machine. Available in the UK since 1985, the machine uses a JCB road breaker hammer to drive a probe one metre into the ground before blasting with high-pressure air to fracture and fissure the soil.

Aeration and removal

High-speed aeration comes under the spotlight on Charterhouse Turf Machinery's stand as the Surrey-based company plans to introduce the high-output Redexim Verti-Drain 1527.

A big brother to the 1513, the new model has a working width of 1.76m and will work down to depths of 150mm to give a pan-shattering "forced heave". Yet, weighing just 520kg, the equipment can be operated from a suitable 28hp tractor.

Fraise mowing or removing the top layer has become a popular method of pitch renovation. This removes weeds, thatch and shallow-rooted grass, such as Poa annua, from the playing surface to leave the deeper-rooted grass plants to flourish. Completing such a task, the new Redexim Turf-Stripper 1200 is introduced by Charterhouse Turf Machinery. A smaller version of the 2000, the 1200 has a working width of 1.2m and is capable of removing 50mm of the surface.

The turf is removed by 14 discs with four cutter knives on each. The unit has a side arm conveyor to transport debris to a trailer running alongside. PTO-driven with a recommended tractor of 30hp to 40hp, the Turf Stripper can also be fitted with scarifying knives.

The Multivator, a multipurpose unit capable of a wide range of tasks, will be on show on BLEC Global's stand. Decompacting, soil recycling and top dressing in one pass, the Multivator has quick hook-on rear attachments, an easy-change blade system and heavy-duty reversible-drive system. Other options include verticutter, stone burier, soil screener and turf lifter with side elevator.

Demonstrated alongside the Multivator will be the GKB Sandfiller, a tractor-mounted scarifier and sand slitter designed to remove and collect spoil and fill the grooves with sand in one pass.

Landscape machinery specialist Tracmaster will attend IoG Saltex with an extended range of attachments for its Commander and BCS ranges of two-wheel tractors. Among items likely to appeal to those tending turf and lawns, a new scarifier offers a 75cm working width. Its floating head avoids scalping while the heavy-duty reversible blades can be set to work at various depths.

A combination spreader/sprayer is to be launched by Broadwood International. Powered by a 200cc Honda engine and benefiting from two-speed transmission, plus reverse, the new TurfEx machine has a 0.085cu m hopper and a 64-litre tank. Spreading and spraying widths are variable up to 3.4m and there is a stand-on, anti-fatigue sulky to improve efficiency and aid operator comfort.

- The latest machines for synthetic surfaces

Dennis and Sisis engineers have worked closely with end users to ensure that the upgraded versions of the Sisis ride-on brush system meets expectations. The system consists of a pair of mid-mounted oscillating brush units for periodic aggressive maintenance and three-rear mounted brushes for more regular maintenance. The new 2012 version has a more modern design, more responsive manoeuvrability and features to make it more operator-friendly.

Meanwhile, the new Redexim Verti-Top 1200 has a 1.2m working width to make it suitable for confined spaces. Weighing 360kg, this latest offering from Charterhouse Turf Machinery requires a 25hp tractor with 400kg lift to remove, clean and redistribute the infill material in synthetic pitches.

Among the new products introduced by Wiedenmann UK is the Terra Clean 160, which combines a sieved separation system with a cyclone dust extraction system to filter and remove fine dust particles. An entry-level, budget-priced version, the Terra Clean 100 artificial pitch cleaner, will also be on display.

- Active Lawn Weedkiller will be shown for the first time by DJ Turfcare. Formulated for application via a watering can, it is said to control a wide range of broad leaved weeds in lawns, including daisy, creeping buttercup, plantain and white clover. Two lawn seed mixtures have also been added to DJ's portfolio.

Bourne Amenity, which has been involved in the sports turf business for more than 30 years, develops sports dressings from United States Golf Association root zones to Sports Turf Research Institute-approved cricket and bowls dressings. The company's grounds care division builds and maintains natural surfaces, but also offers equipment to boost the longevity of artificial surfaces.

Inturf, established in 1985 and a founder member of the Turfgrass Growers Association, offers a wide variety of landscaping turf in conventional square metre rolls or in big roll format for speedy installation. It will feature its top soil and bark products, and promote its installation service, at the show.

Landscape20 sandy loam and Sports10 top dressing for soil-based winter sports fields will feature on British Sugar's stand, along with LandscapeCL, a heavy-textured soil said to have good water and nutrient retention capacities.

A hand-powered pedestrian greens mower, introduced by RT Machinery, can be viewed next to the new RTM Sportster gang-mowing system.

Those spraying pesticides in amenity areas and wishing to update their skills should note that the City & Guilds National Amenity Sprayer Operators Register will be launched at IoG Saltex. Staff on the stand can also provide information on qualifications available.

The new Core Recycler from Wiedenmann UK is a self-propelled pedestrian machine for clearing cores from greens following hollow coring operations.

For seeding equipment visit the BLEC Global stand. On display will be the heavy-duty Disc Seeder, Multiseeder, Cultipak Seeder and Star Seeder. The BLEC Turfmaker Seeder will also be on show.

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