Improved productivity and presentation - two of the benefits the groundstaff at Loughborough Endowed Schools are taking full advantage of since they purchased a Trimax Striker rotary mower.
When Head Groundsperson Chris Parry was appointed in 2011 he began a process of upgrading the schools' kit with a range of new and used machinery to improve efficiencies, make maintenance tasks easier, and to enable the majority of renovation work to be carried out by his six-strong team who maintain four football and six rugby pitches which double-up as cricket outfields at the schools' two sites.
The cricket outfield, maintained at 21mm from April to July, is allowed to grow to a height of 30-35mm from the end of the summer term in late-July through to March.
After end of season renovations, groundstaff struggled to cut the area with cylinder fairway mowers, and had to use a 4ft wide tractor-mounted rotary deck.
"Even with new blades fitted, it didn't produce the standard of presentation I was looking for and mowing the pitches was a lengthy process," Chris explained. "I'd used a Trimax ProCut at my last workplace and had been impressed with the quality of cut from a rollered rotary mower, so I contacted my local dealer, Henton & Chattell, for advice."
"From the point of first enquiry, the customer service I received was first class. I was contacted the same day by Paul Stewart, Area Sales Manager for Trimax.
With the dealer, we discussed the benefits of both the ProCut and the Striker, and it was clear that the Striker best met our needs. Its cutting width and light weight was ideal for use with our 43hp compact tractors. It's also easy to maintain and parts are readily available and crucially, the machine also came in under my budget of £5,000."
"Three days after my initial enquiry, Henton & Chattell staff had been to the school with a demo machine, plus a brand new one, so once I'd seen it in action, delivery was instant. They fitted the machine to our tractor with the correct PTO length and we were able to start cutting straight away."
Chris and his team all agree that the Striker is a great addition to their fleet.
"We can cut our pitches more quickly, evenly and cleanly," he confirmed. "The front and rear rollers stripe the pitches nicely and no tractor wheel marks are left after mowing. We can also mow with confidence when the grass is wet, knowing that it doesn't clog the machine up.
We will also use the Striker for light rolling of grassed areas to complement our cylinder mowing regime. Changing the height of cut takes only a matter of minutes and you have easy access to the belts.
As well as doing a great job, the machine is also a sound investment as the Striker will certainly save us money on servicing and fuel costs."