Tractors take tight turns in their Stride
By Mike Bird
The two Kubota compact tractors used for grass cutting by the Estate Services Section of Exeter University get little time for a breather during the year.
Equipped with wrap-around hydraulic triple cylinder mowers, the two hydrostatic drive tractors are clocking up between 800 and 1,000 hours a year maintaining a wide range of different-sized grass areas which can take from five minutes to more than two hours each to cut.
According to grounds superintendent, Stephen Scarr, presentation is paramount across Exeter University's campus, which covers around 350 undulating acres on the northern outskirts of the city of Exeter. In addition to more than 13,000 full and part-time students, the university also hosts conferences, short-break holidays and weddings."The public face of the university really is very important as we have a constant stream of visitors throughout the year and are also bounded by main roads on three sides," pointed out Mr Scarr. "As a result, we need effective, reliable machinery able to keep comfortably on top of the workloads.
There really is no respite, highlighted by the fact that demands on grounds presentation reach a peak each year just prior to the graduation ceremonies in July which happens also to be the height of the grass-cutting season."
The two Kubota tractors charged with looking after all closely-mown grass on the campus are a 35hp ST Alpha 35, purchased in 2002, and a 36hp STV36, which arrived at the university just in time for 2005's graduation days. Supplied by local Kubota dealer, Medland Sanders and Twose, the STV36 has now taken on the lion's share of the mowing, needing around six days to complete its grass-cutting cycle on the campus.
According to deputy foreman and tractor driver, Phil Coles, the two tractors are first and foremost dedicated mowing machines. "It takes about a week for the STV36 to complete its round and then it's time to start again. In this part of the country, the grass never seems to stop growing." he said. "Tractors working at Exeter University do not have an easy time. Not only do we have a tremendous amount of grass to maintain, but there are lots of slopes and a great many trees to cut around."
Phil commented that the newer STV36 dealt more effectively with the terrain than its older sibling due, he believes, to the tractor's improved power delivery and torque back-up which helps produce a superb drive.
Turning to stability and manoeuvrability, Phil Coles stressed that both tractors are safe and easy to use thanks to their low centre of gravity, power steering and the inclusion of Kubota's Bi-Speed Turn system as standard. "This latter feature is an absolute boon when cutting around trees and other obstacles on close-cut grass," he said. "On tight turns, the system engages automatically, speeding up the front wheels to pull the tractor through the turn to avoid scuffing or ripping of the grass. Bi-Speed Turn really does add a further dimension to the tractor, giving it the capabilities of a purpose-built ride-on mower while retaining all the versatility of a tractor. I wouldn't want to cut grass now without it."
1) Automatically engaged Bi-Speed Turn on the STV36 enables tight turns to be made without scuffing or ripping of the grass.
2) Deputy foreman, Phil Coles, finds the STV36 safe and easy to use.
For further information, please contact:
David Roberts, Sales and Marketing Manager
Kubota (U. K.) Limited
Oxon OX9 3UN
Tel: 01844 268168 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.kubota.co.uk