Kubota compact gets top marks

Jane Carleyin Machinery & Mechanics

With 22 acres of school grounds and gardens to care for at Hazlegrove Preparatory School in Somerset, Kings Bruton Foundation Head of Grounds Graham Kitley needs productive, reliable machinery. This is why he chooses Kubota, and he says: "I wouldn't even consider another brand of tractor."

With five rugby pitches, four cricket squares, plus six additional pitches marked out for girls' cricket, an astro turf pitch for hockey, tennis and cricket and six hole golf course, sport is an important part of the curriculum at Hazelgrove Preparatory School, which educates 360 pupils from nursery age to year eight. Standards are high, with regular competitive fixtures against other schools.

The latest addition to the school's Kubota fleet is a 26hp B2261, which has become the workhorse for pitch maintenance and renovation tasks in a short time.

With the sportsfields overlying clay soil which can go from very wet to dry and cracked, minimising compaction is key.

"We have an L5240 which has offered long and dependable service and is ideal for work such as vertidraining, but I was looking for a lighter tractor to carry out a wider range of jobs," explains Mr Kitley. "Andy Frost from our local dealer EG Coles suggested that I try a Kubota B2 series and I was really impressed by the ability of such a compact tractor to handle implements."

With lift capacity of 970kg and an independent 540rpm pto, Hazlegrove School's B2261 is equally at home teamed with a fertiliser spreader, Quadraplay, topdresser, scarifier and even a rake to groom the gravel forecourt to the historic Hazlegrove House.

"It's a really nimble, manoeuvrable little tractor but still has the capacity to lift an 8ft Quadraplay," he notes.

The light tread is complemented by Kubota's exclusive BiSpeed Turn, which increases the speed of the front wheels to achieve extremely tight turning circles at steering angles above 35deg. It offers faster working and reduced tyre wear while protecting the ground.

"There's no scuffing on turns when working around trees, for example, and you can get into some really tight spaces," says Mr Kitley.

A major advantage over the previous compact used by the school is the B2261's four-post cabin.

"We're out working in all weathers, all year round, so it's a big improvement. It's quite spacious for a cab on such a small tractor and all the controls are well-laid out and easy to reach. You can see that Kubota is continually making improvements - the cruise control clicks neatly into the chosen position, so it's easy to set the same speed for jobs that require it. But the tractors remain straightforward and easy to drive which is so important for groundcare."

And if he needed any further reassurance that the tractor will be a dependable member of the fleet for years to come, Mr Kitley can look to another of his machines, a Kubota G26 ride-on, which was purchased in 2012.

"It does everything from mowing roughs to tidying lawns and collecting leaves. We put some hours on it, and it has been unfailingly reliable."

"I've got every confidence in my new tractor, and the support and advice we get from Andy Frost at EG Coles is an invaluable part of the package - if I want to try a new implement with the tractor, his knowledge of Kubota is such that he can advise on the right combination without having endless demos."

He concludes: "With this B2261 tractor, Kubota has kept it simple but hasn't compromised on lift capacity or power. It's the machine to do the job."

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