The first MaxiMow 17 trailed cylinder mower built and supplied in the UK by Turfmech is proving a valuable machine in the field, producing a high capacity and an excellent finish for father and son, Philip and William Morris of Lincolnshire turf grower, Morris Bros.
Spanning a massive 11.75m (38ft 6in), the 17-gang hydraulically-powered mower was delivered to Morris Bros in early June 2007 since when it has been cutting close to 80ha (200 acres) of cultivated turf up to three times a week. Towed behind a 125hp tractor at a constant 12.5 km/h (7.8 mph), the MaxiMow 17 has averaged 12 ha/h (30 acres/h), enabling the 80ha of grass to be cut in less than seven hours.
"Previously, we were using two sets of nine-gang floating head cylinder mowers to cut the turf," explained William Morris. "The arrival of the MaxiMow 17 has enabled us to dispense with both sets of nine and we are able to mow the same area in less time with the MaxiMow, releasing a tractor and driver for other tasks. The efficiency of the new mower means that we can keep the turf in peak condition in fewer hours per week."
Equipped with Ransomes' 200mm diameter eight-bladed cutting units, the MaxiMow 17's cutting height is set at 20mm maintaining an ideal grass length for harvesting and delivering to customers. The majority of the turf grown by Morris Bros is a quality ryegrass mix destined for the new build and landscaping sector. Although most customers are within a 50 mile radius of the farm, which is located about 15 miles east of Doncaster, the business is able to deliver rolls of cultivated turf nationwide.
An important feature of the mowing combination is its ability to maintain a very high level of accuracy with minimal double-cutting of grass on adjacent runs across the field. This is achieved by means of the GreenStar GPS guidance system fitted to the John Deere 6430 tractor which tows and powers the mower.
Programmed to give a maximum mowing overlap of 200mm, the satellite navigation system keeps the tractor on the required course to deliver the optimum workrate with minimal double-cutting or missed grass, as William explained.
"With the GPS system, I need to steer the tractor only when turning at each end of the field," he said. "Once back on line, I simply press a button and the mower follows precisely the line of the previous cut. Our fields range in size from three hectares to 32 hectares and the shape and dimensions of every field are stored in the system's computer. This enables me to go mowing at any time and achieve the optimum workrate and accuracy while maintaining a high forward speed. As a result, I know that the mower is always working at maximum efficiency. The benefits are certainly being seen within the business."
Morris MaxiMow 1: Philip (right) and William Morris of Lincolnshire turf grower, Morris Bros, with the first MaxiMow 17 wide-area cylinder mower supplied in the UK by manufacturer, Turfmech.
Morris MaxiMow 2: The MaxiMow 17 in action on the Lincolnshire farm of turf grower, Morris Bros.