0 Top Marks from Harper Adams

7445.JPGNew Holland tractors are achieving first-class results in maintaining facilities at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire, one of the UK's premier learning establishments.

Grounds Manager Mark Hall and his six staff care for many different facilities within the 27-acre University campus, located ten miles north west of Telford. They include three rugby pitches and two for football with another currently under construction, a cricket pitch and a bowling green, as well as woodland and open grassland, plus an artificial sports surface.

Three New Holland tractors are at the heart of Mark's equipment fleet, including a 12-year old 38p 1920 model still giving good-as-new performance, a 75hp TN75DA and a very recently acquired compact 24hp TC24D.

"We have chosen New Holland three times in a row because of the tractors' quality, durability and ease of use," says Mark. "They are well designed, have common sense engineering and are quieter and more advanced than other brands we considered. They may be a little more expensive, but they give higher work rates and better results."

The TN75DA is a real workhorse. Its lift capacity of more than 2 tonnes gives plenty power for specialist implements, yet it weighs only 2850kg. "It is easy to use the machine with a front loader," says Mark. "The lever for forward and backward movement is conveniently located on your left and the control layout is perfect. The tractor can cope with the heaviest jobs."

When the University needed a lightweight but powerful tractor that could access small areas, the TC24D was an obvious choice. "It is going to be ideal for work on footpaths, our bowling green and the artificial pitch," says Mark. "It won't mark the turf surfaces and it has the power to handle most implements, even gang mowers."

The tractors were supplied by Richard Balance from local dealers Ravenhill Ltd of Newport. "The backup services we get from Richard and his team is brilliant," says Mark. "If we ever need anything, the staff move really quickly to get it and the aftercare is excellent."

Harper Adams University College was opened back in 1901. In more recent times, it achieved second place for its teaching quality in the Times Good University Guide 2005. It would seem that similarly high standards are applied in selecting its ground care machinery.

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