A new John Deere 1500 Series TerrainCut front rotary mower supplied by dealer Frank Sutton Ltd of Raglan in Monmouthshire is helping to keep Wales' premier showground in tip-top condition.
Frank Sutton has had a long association with the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS), which is based at Llanelwedd near Builth Wells in Powys. The dealership has taken part in the Royal Welsh Show for the past 40 years, during which time it has exhibited livestock - founder Frank Sutton is a past chairman of the Longhorn Cattle Society - and provided support machinery for the show in the form of John Deere tractors and Gator utility vehicles.
The 72in cut 1580 model outfront mower with collection system is the Society's first item of John Deere equipment, and is in almost daily use during the grass cutting season, from the end of April to the end of September. Its main job is to prepare and maintain to a high standard of presentation the grass in the main ring at the Builth Wells showground, as well as the high-profile public grassed areas, which take up some 12 acres of the 150ac site.
"Our old mower, which we still have as a back-up, was due for replacement and we knew we wanted a similar type of machine but with more horsepower and a bigger chute to improve throughput," says RWAS estate manager Andrew Crockett. "We also needed a high-lift collector, as all the grass clippings are discharged straight into trailers and removed for composting."
The Society did its research and the 36hp John Deere 1580 4WD ride-on rotary mower was the machine that met its criteria. In addition to being a well-known and respected local company, Frank Sutton came up with the best package in terms of both price and after-sales parts and service back-up. The deal also included a two-year service agreement.
"We have proven equipment and a wide range of parts in stock," says Frank Sutton's turf equipment manager Gareth Beck. "Andrew has to know that if there is a problem on a Sunday afternoon, the support will be available; Frank Sutton shuts for only two days a year. We are very successful at selling commercial machines into local authorities, and we were delighted to have the opportunity to place John Deere at the heart of Welsh agriculture."
This level of dealership back-up has already been demonstrated in practice. "We did have a part failure one weekend and Frank Sutton had the machine fixed by the Monday night," says Andrew Crockett. "Other than that the mower has been reliable and has performed well, with a clean cut and collect."
Image: Frank Sutton's turf equipment manager Gareth Beck (right) hands over the new John Deere 1580 front rotary mower to RWAS estate manager Andrew Crockett.