As smooth as a sewing machine and as fast as can be!
By Peter Driver
"As smooth as a sewing machine and faster than anything else on the market" is how Dave Harvey, Contracts Manager at Amenity Land Services describes the latest addition to his grounds maintenance fleet, the Wiedenmann Terra Spike XF deep aerator.
"It's the perfect machine from a contractors point of view", said Dave while visiting the Wiedenmann stand at Saltex recently. "Our new XF8 can aerate a complete football pitch in just 1 hour 15 minutes utilising a perfect square hole pattern and is extremely well balanced, providing a smooth ride for the operator.
Speed, comfort and reliability are prime considerations for contracting work resulting in higher productivity and the opportunity to increase income from the same man and machine unit. Getting across the ground quickly and efficiently, while providing the customer with value for money, is the ideal contracting philosophy.
"I originally saw the XF demonstrated at Reaseheath College and, apart from its speed, found it to be very operator friendly. It could be described as 'sewing machine' smooth", he added. "Also, I like the tine retention system. With other machines I've lost tines, especially in hard ground when the soil tends to grip the tine. Ground penetration is also superior to competitors due to the near vertical alignment of the crank, which is positioned directly above the tines as they enter the soil. This provides a huge down force and really pushes the tines into the soil. Finally, the simple and easily operated depth and heave adjustment also helps efficiency."
The XF costs around £20,000 and could be considered expensive, but the nature of contracting means that Dave works his equipment hard. He has calculated that with increased productivity he has paid for the machine in just two months.
ALS was formed in January 1988 with the aim of creating a specialist amenity horticulture supply company with high levels of professionalism and service for the sports turf and amenity planting and landscaping industries.
From the beginning 'supply and apply' contract services formed about one third of the business, with the other two thirds being the supply of products and advice.
ALS currently employs around thirty staff from a base near Telford in Shropshire, nine of whom are professionally qualified amenity agronomists with BASIS and NPTC qualifications.
Product supply falls into two main categories, namely sports turf products and planting products. Contract services are various and fall into three main categories, namely pesticide spraying, turf renovation services and turf drainage services. Spraying covers a wide area of operations from sports turf to highways and streets and bracken spraying to aquatic weed control.