An MF 1547 compact tractor with push-button DynaQPS transmission has been selected as the principal power unit for the maintenance of 40ha of sports surfaces, play areas and ornamental grass spread across a high-profile school site located near Liphook, Hampshire.
One of five different tractors assessed last autumn by Highfield and Brookham School's groundstaff, the 46hp MF 1547 scored top marks for its compact dimensions, high power-to-weight ratio, responsive torque delivery and spacious cab, the latter having air-conditioning as standard.
"We were impressed also with the knowledge and enthusiasm of Tony Bowman, grounds care specialist at local Massey Ferguson dealer, Sendmarsh Tractors," commented Paul Harris, Estate and Facilities Manager at Highfield and Brookham Schools.
"As we had never dealt previously with Sendmarsh Tractors, Tony's positive attitude reinforced our belief that we were buying the right tractor from the right company and would be well looked after. The price was also very competitive."
Established on its present 70ha site since 1907, Highfield School started off as a purpose-built boys preparatory school of 32 pupils, all boarders. The school became co-educational in 1978 and was joined in 1992 by Brookham, a pre-prep school built within Highfield's grounds.
Today, the two schools have a combined total of 450 pupils and 180 staff, the latter including head groundsman, John Naylor, and three full-time and one part-time groundsmen.
Sport plays a major part within the curriculum, highlighting Highfield and Brookham Schools' commitment to 'Sport for All' which provides the opportunity for all pupils to discover and develop their sporting interests and skills. This commitment has given the school a strong sporting reputation throughout Hampshire and beyond, achieved through dedicated coaching and ample opportunity to compete against other schools.
"Our 13 winter sports pitches are in almost continuous use during term times, with games played every weekday afternoon accompanied by matches on Wednesdays and Saturdays," pointed out Paul Harris. "Soccer in the autumn is followed in the New Year by rugby and lacrosse, hockey and rounders. There is cricket and athletics in the summer and the school also has a nine-hole golf course where pupils can learn the basics of the game."
With grass surfaces at Highfield and Brookham Schools getting little term-time respite, the new MF 1547 tractor has a leading role keeping them in trim and ready for play with the help of a 4.7m Progressive trailed three-gang rotary mower.
When it's not powering the mower, the tractor is being used for turf scarifying, aeration, leaf blowing, leaf collection or trailer work, tasks which are all enhanced by Massey Ferguson's DynaQPS transmission option which enables clutchless, on-the-move changes between the four speeds in each of the gearbox's three main ranges.
"There's simply no peace for the Massey," stressed Paul Harris. "We needed a capable, reliable, economical tractor which could handle the more demanding jobs across the site without struggling. To date, the MF 1547 has done everything asked of it with ease, proving a willing work-horse and a pleasure to drive. Although we took a little time deciding on the best tractor to buy, everyone who uses the tractor feels that the right decision was made."
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