A Massey Ferguson 1540 compact tractor has joined the machinery fleet looking after the 32-ha main campus at the University of Surrey, Guildford. The new tractor may be called on to assist also with specialist work on and around the University's sports fields, research park and student village.
Selected by Nigel Hodge, the University's Horticultural and Landscape Manager, following extensive research and comparative demonstrations, the 38hp tractor satisfied all requirements with regards to power output, dimensions, weight and, in particular, noise levels, a very important factor when working close to accommodation blocks.
However, the deciding factor, says Nigel, was the information and support provided by Massey Ferguson and its local dealer, Sendmarsh Tractors, for whom he reserved special praise.
"To be honest, we took some time to decide which make and model of compact tractor should replace an aging 25hp tractor used on the site since the early 1990s," he explained. "Sendmarsh Tractors were very patient and gave us all the help, advice and time that we needed to make the right decision. There was no pressure to sign the order form."
Having started off looking at a number of different compact tractors between 25hp and 32hp, Nigel decided to move further up the power scale to enable larger implements and loads to be handled more efficiently by the chosen tractor.
"Around three-quarters of the tractor's time will be spent shifting mulches, prunings, soil, sand, tools and other materials by trailer around the campus," said Nigel. "Other seasonal tasks include leaf blowing, flail mowing, gritting and aeration. We needed a real all-rounder and the MF 1540 ticked all the boxes. Most important, also, is the fact that our groundstaff like driving it."
Two further key points had to be met before the order was finally placed. First, Nigel wanted tyres on the tractor that could handle a high level of road work without excessive wear and yet still be used on turf without causing compaction and unsightly marking.
"Sendmarsh located a semi-industrial tyre with a non-aggressive tread and high ply rating that is proving just the job," he said. "Second, it was vital also that the tractor had an automatic pick-up hitch to make trailer attachment safer and easier than using a clevis drawbar and screw jack. Not all compacts can be supplied with an auto hitch but MF came up trumps and we now have exactly the right tractor for our needs. Although we took our time, the final decision has been fully vindicated."