Ten years after purchasing its first Allett pedestrian mower, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council's fleet has grown to 33 machines being used to maintain 12ha of ornamental grass, eight bowling greens, two cricket squares and two croquet lawns managed by the Borough.
Selected initially for its ease of use, uncomplicated maintenance and rugged build quality, the Allett mower has become a byword for reliability among Dudley MBC's managers, operators and engineers.
"The machines have proved a really first-class investment over the past 10 years," commented Russell Norton, Technical Manager of Green Care, the in-house contract division responsible for the maintenance of all Dudley's green spaces. "I commend also the excellent technical support provided by Allett and by Oakley's Groundcare of Shrewsbury who supplied the mowers."
Numbering 25 machines, the mainstay of Dudley's Allett fleet is the 5.5hp Buffalo 27, a rugged general-purpose mower equipped with a 200mm diameter six-bladed cylinder giving a cutting width of 686mm.
Set at a 20mm cutting height throughout the growing season, the mowers are used primarily to maintain high-visibility grass areas around ornamental borders, flower beds and on traffic islands. The Buffalo 27 is complemented by three narrower Buffalo 24s, a 610mm cut mower dedicated to smaller areas and those with restricted access.
The total area of ornamental grass cut each year by Dudley MBC's 28 Allett Buffalo mowers is around 3.6 million sq metres spread over 30 separate cuts. Added to this is more than 12,000 sq m of fine sports turf looked after by five Allett C-20 mowers equipped with interchangeable cartridge heads.
Fitted with 10-bladed cutting units throughout the growing season, the C-20s are mowing eight bowling greens, two cricket squares and two croquet lawns up to three times a week. For turf renovation programmes, the cutting heads are removed and replaced in seconds by powered scarifying heads which effectively remove thatch and lateral growth ahead of hollow coring, top dressing and re-seeding operations.
Summing up, Russell Norton pointed out that the Borough's choice of Allett walk-behind cylinder mowers had been made initially following competitive demonstrations of
a number of contenders that had been selected by Russell and his assistants during their annual visit to September's IoG SALTEX exhibition..
"After a close look at the various purchase and running costs, and with useful input from our operators and engineers, the decision was made to move to Allett," he said. "Looking back, that decision has been totally vindicated by the virtually trouble-free operation of the original mowers and their replacements over many seasons' hard and extended use. In a nutshell, the machines are extremely reliable, produce an excellent finish and the staff finds them easy and satisfying to use and to maintain. You can't ask for much more than that."
Allett Dudley 1: Allett Buffalo 27 mower cutting ornamental grass within Dudley MBC's Mary Stevens Park, located in the town of Stourbridge at the Borough's south-west corner.
Allett Dudley 2: Scarifying one of Dudley MBC's eight bowling greens using an Allett C-20. The machine can be equipped with interchangeable cartridge heads for mowing, scarifying, brushing, slitting, verti-cutting and surface aeration of fine turf.
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