South Somerset is one of the biggest areas in the country, more than 60 miles long from west of Chard to east of Wincanton and from Yeovil nearly to Bridgwater. South Somerset has extensive parks and open spaces to be cared for plus parish council land, large housing areas including Yarlington Housing Group estates and, of course verges. Additionally, the Council's horticultural team carries out contract work for organisations such as Yeovil College and Ivel Barbarians RFC.
The scale and variety of the work calls for a large, varied mower fleet which is very largely comprised of Hayter and Toro machines. When additional mowing capacity was needed, Chris Cooper, Head of Streetscene Services, consulted the team who operate the mowers.
Extensive comparison trials were carried out with several manufacturers' brands being tested. The outcome was the acquisition of three new Toro mowers, a Groundsmaster® 4010-D, an LT3240 and Groundsmaster360 with a Muthing flail. The LT 3240 is the heavy duty triple turf mower with a level of performance and cost-efficiency that have made it the backbone of many local authority fleets. Its versatility leads it to be used for a number of tasks across the district.
Gary Bradshaw uses the Groundsmaster 4010-D for the big recreational areas in South Somerset on an approximately fortnightly cycle. The 4010-D is a versatile, rugged and highly productive mower with a 3.4m (!!') width of cut. Gary says 'we used to use cylinder mowers and this is a great improvement - it's a brilliant piece of kit. It keeps on cutting when cylinder mowers couldn't because of leaves and wetness so we can keep cutting later in the season. We tried several mowers and this Toro is the best for speed over the ground and ease of operation. Plus the comfort couldn't be better and when you're working long shifts you really appreciate that and you get more done.'
Josh Butler uses the Groundsmaster360. This combines the performance of an out-front mower with the manoeuvrability of a zero turn. Josh says 'this is definitely the best of the mowers we tried. I have been using it with the flail to do the jobs we only tackle once or twice a year and it's great. I have cut a bank we used to cut with a walk-behind, a wildflower area. The Toro does a really good job on a steep bank and gives a striped finish, too. I'm looking forward to using it on the verges.'
Chris Cooper said 'our team is extremely committed and extremely expert and their input into these major purchasing decisions is very important. We are very pleased with the performance of our new equipment and the support from our dealer, Gwilliam Kellands is outstanding.'
For details of the full Hayter/Toro groundscare range, visit the website at www.hayter.co.uk or call 01279 723444.