Norfolk County Services, the in-house contract division of Norfolk County Council, has more than doubled its fleet of Massey Ferguson tractors and ride-on mowers over the past two years.
Bringing the total to 26 machines, the 15 most recent MF arrivals are helping Norfolk County Services' grounds maintenance division keep on top of regular grass-cutting contracts carried out on behalf of district and parish councils, housing associations, schools and colleges, hospitals and private land owners throughout Norfolk. Contracts range from small domestic lawns through to sports pitches and recreation grounds covering 8ha or more.
All of the MF tractors and mowers were supplied to Norfolk County Services (NCS) by local dealer, Randell NFM Limited, which is well-placed to provide service and parts support from branches at Fakenham, North Walsham and Attleborough.
Eight of the newcomers - installed by Randell NFM this year - are 22.5hp GC2300 sub-compact tractors with mid-cutter decks, dedicated primarily to maintaining smaller grass areas, many with awkward or restricted access. Seven of the GC2300s have a 1.22m (48in) rotary deck with rear-mounted grass collector. The eighth has a 1.37m (54in) mulching mid deck.
"The majority of our customers are asking for cut grass to be collected and removed," explained Steve Finch, Commercial Services Manager for the grounds maintenance arm of Norfolk County Services. "We had three demonstrations of MF's GC2300 before settling on the final specification for the tractor, its cutter deck and collector. Performance is proving first-class and the staff enjoy using the combination which does a great job, producing an excellent finish."
Other new arrivals for NCS this year were two 33hp MF430 out front rotary mowers, one equipped with a finishing deck and rear collector, the other with the option of a front-mounted rough-cut or finishing deck to suit variable grass conditions and lengths.
Also supplied during 2007 were a 90hp MF5455 and two 83hp MF5435 tractors. The latter joined three further MF5435s supplied over the past two years for maintaining sportsfields and parks using trailed seven-gang hydraulic cylinder mowers. The new MF5455 is fitted with a Ransomes Mark 4 Hydraulic 5/7 wrap-around mower, ideal for safe, convenient road movement between sites.
"Norfolk has used Massey Ferguson tractors for grounds and highways maintenance for as long as I can remember," commented Mr Finch. "However, the selection of GC2300 sub-compact tractors from MF's dedicated grounds care range marks a first for the county. Having looked at various tractor-mower-collector combinations, we decided that the GC2300 met all our requirements. The unit is well built, operator-friendly and can be used with or without the collector to suit differing grass lengths and conditions.
"We like the fact also that the GC2300 has a standard three-point linkage, mid and rear power take-offs and can be fitted with a front loader, enabling it to be used out-of-season for other jobs, extending versatility and cost-effectiveness," added Mr Finch. "Last but not least, we know from long experience that we can rely on the after-sales support of Massey Ferguson and its dealers."
Photo 1: from the right, David Broad (Massey Ferguson); Steve Finch (Norfolk County Services); Steve Kittle and Neil Richardson (both Randell NFM Limited).