Are you ready for the big freeze? Greenacres Landscape Management is, having equipped its Kubota RTV X-1110 with a purpose-built Hilltip snowplough and gritter combination.
The Milton Keynes-based contractor undertakes winter maintenance work on behalf of a national company, mainly using pick-up truck-based spreaders in industrial estates and military bases.
But some jobs require equipment that is a bit more specialised, as director Andy Powell explains.
'We've had the contract at a Bedfordshire defence manufacturer for a couple of years, and we find that the Kubota RTV is the ideal machine to base on their site for the winter months. It's a tricky site with lots of footpaths and restricted access, but we can cover it in an evening using the RTV and ensure that the health and safety requirements for the site's employees are met."
Andy explains that the RTV was originally fitted with a tailgate-mounted gritter and manual snowblade, but when Kubota dealer George Browns suggested the Hilltip outfit, it offered the perfect solution.
"The gritter has a large stainless steel hopper which will treat the site in two fills, with an auger in the bottom to loosen compacted salt and stainless steel spinning disc to spread the material," he says.
Control of the electrically-powered gritter is via a switchbox from the comfort of the RTV's cab, with an LED display showing the selected application rate, which can vary from 20-30g/sqm depending on conditions.
"We would use more after rain and then freezing conditions or can adjust it on the move to treat a particularly icy patch," explains Andy. "There is also a joystick giving fingertip control of the height or angling of the snow blade."
A full cab is fitted to the RTV, essential for winter work, Andy points out, but also useful when the Kubota is used for other jobs such as grass harrowing, protecting the operator from dust.
"The RTV is very straightforward to drive with its CVT transmission and there's plenty of traction; we rarely go out of high box. We've also stuck with all-purpose tyres since it spends such a lot of the time on hard surfaces."
The outfit was specified and installed by George Browns, who have also made a few other modifications - a rubber flap between the cab and cargo box to deflect any salt spillage when the hopper is being filled and another flap at the base of the box to protect the suspension from the corrosive action of the salt.
"We get a great service from George Browns and we've purchased other Kubota equipment from the company, which is all very robust and well-built."
When spring comes around, there's no rest for the RTV. With a canopy fitted to the cargo bay in place of the gritter, work then switches to the Milton Keynes Parks Trust, maintaining hedges, trees and shrubs on the city's extensive network of footpaths and spreading grass seeds on new build projects.
"Operators can have their tools with them at all times rather than having to park up a truck at the roadside. We wouldn't be without the RTV, and having dedicated attachments like the Hilltip winter outfit makes it even more useful."