Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News Executive Hire News
EHN Archives home page
Executive Hire News Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News Executive Hire News Executive Hire News

Executive Report:

Targeting turf care

Alan Guthrie considers new equipment with hire potential that was launched at the recent BTME exhibition in Harrogate.

As was the case at the Saltex show last September, several major grounds care equipment manufacturers decided not to attend this year’s BTME in Harrogate, the exhibition for turf care equipment and related services, organised by the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA). Instead, they intend to attend each show in alternate years. One notable exception, however, is Massey Ferguson, whose prominent stand at BTME (BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition) greeted visitors at the main Show entrance. As we reported in the Autumn issue of our Groundscare Hire News publication, a partnership was established last year between the company’s parent, AGCO, and the outdoor power equipment manufacturer, MTD, to supply diesel and petrol-engined products.

At BTME, Massey Ferguson (www.masseyferguson.com) unveiled its 3600 Series mid-range tractors, designed for on and off-road applications. The range comprises the MF 3615, MF 3625, MF 3635 and MF 3645 rated at 58hp, 68hp, 78hp and 98hp respectively. All feature three-cylinder turbocharged Sisu engines, with the top model incorporating an intercooler. The machines can be specified in two-wheel drive format with a 12/12 gearbox, or in four-wheel drive with a 24/24 transmission. Customers can also choose between a flat-floor cab and an open platform with a roll-over protection structure (ROPS). Amongst other equipment on the stand was the MF GC2300 22.5hp tractor and the MF 20MD four-wheel drive utility vehicle, a 20hp diesel machine with a 408kg load capacity and ground clearance of 266mm.

Expanding hire business

Massey Ferguson tractors are amongst the specialist equipment hired to grounds care professionals by Boughton Loam & Turf Management (www.boughton.co.uk). The company, which also supplies top-dressings, grass seed and other essentials, has depots at Kettering, Iver in Buckinghamshire, and at Derby, which also houses an equipment sales business whose franchises include Charterhouse Turf Machinery, Ryetec, Koro and Blec. Boughton also runs a grounds care contracting operation.

“Essentially, we hire products that we run in our own fleet, which we know to be reliable and of high quality,” contends Business Director Julian Simpson. “Hire is expanding steadily. Customers include local golf courses and sports grounds needing equipment for periods from two days upwards, especially items like aerators and seeders that are only used seasonally. Hiring tractors plus attachments gives year-round business, especially as, unlike agricultural machinery suppliers, we always have machines available with turf tyres already fitted that avoid damage to grass surfaces.”

Another BTME exhibitor, Speedcut Contractors, says that, while it owns specialist equipment needed for construction and renovation work, such as laser grade trenchers, drainage installation machines and deep turf aerators, it frequently hires items such as power tools, mini excavators and generators that are required on certain projects. “We keep national hirers’ catalogues close at hand,” states Kevin Smith, Contracts Manager of the company, which is based at Kidlington, Oxfordshire. “We work all over the country and so we can source appropriate tools and equipment when needed.” Landscape contractors like Speedcut (www.speedcutcontractors.co.uk) therefore represent a potential market for hirers to target. “We are beginning to see growth in demand in readiness for the 2012 Olympics,” says Kevin Smith. “Sporting bodies realise that resources are needed now to provide suitable facilities for tomorrow’s athletes to train.”

Shown on the Ausa stand was the Task M 50 D, a prototype diesel version of the M 50 utility vehicle which has off-road capability. This makes it suitable for hire to event organisers and film production crews, as well as grounds maintenance professionals and contractors, particularly when special tournaments or attractions are being held and additional equipment is required. The diesel machine, which Ausa (www.ausa.com) says is scheduled for imminent launch, is powered by a 1028cc three-cylinder Lombardini engine. It features right-hand drive and has full road lighting as standard. The vehicle has a payload capacity of 500kg and can tow 750kg. Top speed is 37mph. The company says that more professional users are choosing diesel vehicles because of restrictions on storing petrol.

Rapid water removal

An innovative machine with hire potential is the Mini Blotter from Dennis (www.dennis.uk.com), designed for rapid removal of water from sports grounds, car parks and other areas. The machine is essentially a motorised roller coated with an absorbent sponge material and it is claimed to be able to remove 3500 litres/hour. It exerts only 4psi ground pressure and the collected water can be drained away by opening a tap on the roller. The machine can also be fitted with an optional pump to speed up the removal process, and this can also be used for the efficient collection of water from bunkers and trenches.

Power comes from a Honda petrol engine and the Mini Blotter has forward and reverse drive for manoeuvrability. Dennis believes the machine could be a popular hire item for the rapid collection of water following unexpected downpours. The absorbent drum can be replaced by a conventional roller for use on cricket wickets and other surfaces.

Amongst equipment promoted on the Saxon Industries stand (www.saxonind.co.uk) was a range of BearCat hydraulic feed chippers, including heavy-duty models such as the 72928S and 74950S, designed to process timber of up to 23cm in diameter. Features include a 38cm-diameter feed, four reversible chipping blades and a 20cm round discharge chute. A hydrostatic feed control is incorporated to provide infinitely adjustable speed settings to suit different types and sizes of material. An hour meter is fitted as standard.

Techneat Engineering (www.techneat.co.uk) displayed the Acuspray, a pedestrian machine designed for the application of pesticides and liquid feeds with minimal drift. To simplify operation, the user simply lowers the front wheels to activate the positive displacement pump and start spraying. The body of the Acuspray is made of tough, lightweight plastics for strength and manoeuvrability. The machine has a 25-litre tank and a 1m spray boom, capable of treating up to 625m2.

The next major event in the grounds care industry calendar will be the Institute of Groundsmanship’s (IOG) Saltex show on 4-6 September. The companies who chose not to exhibit last year should be back in force. However, there could be other developments in the pipeline. In January, representatives of the boards of directors of the IOG and BIGGA convened and unanimously agreed to “explore the possibilities and potential of a strategic merger, for the wider benefit of their members and the sports turf industry”. It will be interesting to see where subsequent talks lead, and whether there will be implications for the grounds care exhibition landscape.

• A new company, SGM (UK) Ltd, has acquired the assets of the SGM Group, the grounds care equipment business which went into administration in December 2006. Under the deal, customers of the Group’s companies, Scottish Grass Machinery, SGM Hire and Select Contract Maintenance, are said to be assured of continuity of service and the jobs of the current workforce have been secured.

The shareholders in SGM (UK) include Steven McInroy, Managing Director, David McInroy, Executive Chairman, Richard Lawson, Finance Director and Ian Morrison, Operations Director. A non-executive director, John Clarke, a senior partner in the law firm CCW LLP, has also joined the Board. The new company, which continues to be based at Inverkeithing in Fife, will trade under the Scottish Grass Machinery brand for its sales and distribution business in Scotland and SGM Hire for its contract hire business across the UK.

Executive Hire NewsArchivesApril 2007Executive Report › Targeting turf care

Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News
Executive Hire News
website designed & produced by Weblinks Advertising LimitedExecutive Hire News
Executive Hire News