Kubota's F3680 ride-on mower, the most powerful out front mower in its class, has been enrolled at Northop College in Wales to help horticultural students get to grips with the latest in market leading groundcare machinery. Northop College, which was created in 2009 through a merger of Deeside College and the Welsh College of Horticulture, is one of the largest centres in the UK and Wales for horticultural studies.
Jenny Jones, Grounds Officer at Northop College, commented: "For students to gain a complete understanding of their profession, it's important they can combine theory with being able to try and test groundcare solutions. It's therefore vital they have access to quality and reliable equipment.
"It's for this reason that since 1991, the college has specified Kubota machinery for use in lessons, as well as for the general up-keep of the college grounds. This tradition has continued with the recent purchase of the F3680."
Featuring a 36hp engine and Auto-Assist 4WD, the F3680's design allows it to offer maximum manoeuvrability, whilst being able to tackle the vigorous demands of the college grounds. As well as being used as a training aid for those undertaking horticultural courses, it will also to help maintain some of the 91 hectares (225 acres) of picturesque grounds that the college is set in, close to the North Wales Coast and overlooking the Dee Estuary.
Jenny continues: "We have used Kubota over the years due to the reliability of their machinery. For the students and grounds staff, Kubota equipment is simple to use, extremely robust and easy to maintain, which is essential in a facility such as ours where they will be used for extended periods of time.
"By learning on the best equipment, the students gain a realistic appreciation of the products available in their chosen industry and what they will be using in employment. As leaders in its field, Kubota is the perfect choice for our students to learn on and the company's mowers play a large part in the college's machinery inventory.
"This is in no small parts thanks to its superb safety features. For us as a college, it's important that our students get the best education in the safest possible environment and Kubota's equipment helps us achieve this."
One of the departments using the F3680 will be the Employer Engagement department, where students will learn Best Practice when it comes to using the equipment and assessing what machine best suits an application.
Jenny continues: "The Employer Engagement department uses the equipment as part of the professional short course programme. The unit is used to give a greater insight into ride-on mower operations including identifying risks of using the machinery, when and where to use it, understanding the function of all controls and operating the machine in a safe, competent manner. This ensures that our students have a well-rounded knowledge of machines that they will use throughout their careers."
The F3680 was supplied to the college by local dealers Major R Owen LTD. Monty Davis from the dealership, said: "The work that Northop College does in producing the next generation of horticulturists is essential to the survival of both industries within the UK.
"Kubota has a strong reputation for producing reliable, dependable and hard working equipment which is something that is vitally important for applications such as Northop College, where it is imperative that the machinery they buy is cost effective and has the ability to last extended periods of use. The college still uses a 1550HST that they bought back in 1991 which demonstrates the lasting power of Kubota."
Since the first purchase with Kubota in 1991, the college has bought a number of machines from the company with many of them still being in use today. These include; Kubota 2850L, G23, 1550HST, GR2120 and Kubota's B1410.