0 Pangbourne College slashes cutting time with new Toro

PR4195 Pangbourne CollegeTwo Toro Groundsmaster rotary mowers brought in by head groundsman Ian Osbon have reduced cutting time by almost half at Pangbourne College near Reading in Berkshire.

"We have 100 acres of football, rugby and cricket pitches, plus lawns and huge areas of woodland, with undulating and uneven terrain," says Ian.

"Choosing rotary mowers with one, heavy-duty blade was definitely the way forward. The speed at which both machines cut has reduced our cutting time by almost half.

It used to take us four days to cut all the grounds before, we're now doing it in two-and-a-half!"

"I've used every machine going in my 36-year career and always preferred a cylinder mower, but that just wasn't an option considering the surfaces here, there are simply too many obstacles.

I looked at all machinery makes and the variety of surfaces to consider here, productivity required and desired finish, and trusted my instincts.

I've chosen the Toro Groundsmaster 3505-D and 4300-D and, to be quite honest, they are unbeatable in terms of performance."

The GM3505-D has a cutting width of 183cm and is powered by a 35hp Kubota engine, while the GM4300-D has a 229cm wide cut and a 44hp Kubota power unit.

Ian says the back-up provided by Toro distributor Lely played an important part in his decision to bring in the two GMs.

The college doesn't have any onsite back-up, and, with machines being worked seven days a week, Ian says he can't run the risk of being without one.

So knowing that backup is there if he needs it gives him real peace of mind.

When Ian first joined Pangbourne College three years ago the grounds were tired and the machinery past its best.

So his first course of action was to put the land to seed to reinstate the lawns and consider the methods and machinery he needed to tend the 230 acres of Berkshire woodland downs.

He says: "I could see straight away how important the grounds were to prospective students and their families for sport and giving the right impression of the college as a whole.

First impressions always count and the first thing you see are the grounds!

They should be a selling-point in themselves, complement the impressive college buildings and sow the seed that the college is an inspiring place to be.

"When I started, the land desperately needed to recover and grow. Now it's at the stage where it's thriving and we need to cut it every day!

"I've been lucky in that I've had the support of the college in getting to where we are today.

Matt Prior, our estate bursar, and Lisa Davis, the college accountant, in particular have been instrumental in supporting the grounds work we're doing now and what we're looking to do in the future.

The next stage sees us focusing on landscaping. For that a cylinder will be perfect and I will be looking to get a Toro triple."

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