A 38hp Massey Ferguson compact tractor purchased in spring 2009 by North Somerset Council's Grounds Services is proving a versatile and worthwhile addition to the machinery fleet, according to the division's grounds maintenance supervisor, Alan Ballinger.
Bought to replace a less powerful compact tractor that, in Alan's words, had simply become too small for the job, the MF 1540 tractor was supplied by local Massey Ferguson dealer, H Curtis & Sons. The tractor was specified with a cab and Massey Ferguson's clutchless Dyna-QPS transmission and came fitted with a quick-release front loader and backhoe-loader.
Alan Ballinger explained that the tractor has demonstrated its versatility on a wide range of tasks carried out both for North Somerset Council and within contracts awarded by other organisations. These include trimming grass and hedges at more than 30 Bristol Water sites and maintaining public rights of way and roadside ditches on behalf of the Highways Agency.
Planned from the start by Alan Ballinger to fill a multi-purpose role, the MF 1540 is used with a variety of matching attachments, some of which were owned already by the council, others being purchased specifically for the secured contracts.
"Since it arrived, the tractor has been used regularly with a side-arm flail hedger, a rear flail mower-collector and specialist synthetic pitch maintenance equipment," commented Alan. "Additionally, it has completed an extensive amount of ditching work as well as loading
trailers with woodchip and soil for use on planted borders and with salt for treating pavements and car parks, the latter being a very high profile task this winter. Pallet forks can be fitted in place of the loader bucket to offload incoming supplies and materials."
One specific task for which the tractor and its backhoe loader is proving invaluable is clearing and restoring ditches alongside narrow Somerset lanes: "Previously, this job involved temporary closure of many roads as it was impossible for other vehicles to get past the industrial-sized backhoe loader employed for the work," explained Alan. "Using a compact tractor with matching backhoe means that narrow lanes can now remain open, reducing costs and driver frustration."
Alan said that North Somerset Council's policy of making full use of modern, capable equipment with the help of carefully-matched attachments was paying dividends, saving time, money and effort for the benefit of the council's workforce and local taxpayers.
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