Green gives smoothest cut
The sing song of the horse racing commentator at Scottsville Race Course was replaced by talk of turf tyres, reel and rotary cutting blades and 4x4 drivetrains on Thursday May 5.
Francois Marais, marketing and sales director at Mascor, SA’s award winning John Deere dealership, said the group was not into selling tractors, but into providing solutions.
Mascor had invited members of the Institute for Environmental and Recreation Managers to a presentation of mowers, sprayers and light tractors, but it was John Deere’s “big bakkie”, officially called the ProGator 2030a diesel that garnered the most nods. After the presentations, the camouflaged Gator had a queue of officials trying the seats.
Mascor’s sports turf mower expert, Doug Lyall, told the officials these machines are not cheap, starting at R700k for a five gang cutting system, but added these machines are the only cutting system that can render the striped lawns seen on top tournament pitches.
The latest three-wheel drive fairway mower, the 7200a features the same drivetrain that has been tried and tested for 16 years, but the cutting width of the blades can increased or reduced, while the mowing and transport speeds of the mower are also managed by computer to save fuel and avoid operators speeding in the work area.
The biggest fairway mower is the 8700a, available in two or four wheel drive configuration.. Using John Deere’s proprietary Load Match system, the drive wheels automatically compensate for differing turf conditions when thicker grass slows the system down. This ensures the finest cut and pitches that are tournament ready. For rougher work, the 8800a is fitted standard with 4 wheel drive and uses rotary blades to evenly cut grass blades up to 125mm high. This mower is ideal for large park lawns to create smooth backdrops for wedding photos, or to deliver flat and even soccer pitches.
The Mascor show also hosted the Stihl exhibition trailer, which was packed with all the chain saws, trimmers and branch pruners a park manager could desire, as well as that noisome tool that was designed by the devil himself, the petrol-driven leaf blower.
But the good news for all the neighbours who don’t start cleaning their gardens at 7 am on Saturday mornings, said Stihl staffer Brenden de Villiers, that there is now an all-electric model.
This cordless BGA100 is also Stihl’s most powerful leaf blower, but in this case, the silence is literally worth gold. The blower costs R6 435 ex VAT and the A3000 lithium-ion battery, which lasts about 100 minutes at full throttle, or three to four hours of normal, but blissfully quiet blowing, costs another R18 150 ex VAT.
De Villiers said the initial outlay on a cordless blower is lot higher than a petrol model, but the running and maintenance costs were a lot lower.
Horticulturalists at the Mitchell Park Zoo, at the top of Florida Rd in Morningside, Durban will soon be testing the quiet blower. The groundskeepers there are always striving to make the least amount of noise for the benefit of the birds, animals and visitors.
John Deere’s 3x3 fairway mowers are the only type of machines that deliver the alternate dark and light mowed lines seen on top sport fields and golf courses.
Mascor’s sports turf mower expert Doug Lyall on John Deere’s versatile ProGator 2030a diesel.
eThekwini staff on the ‘little JD bakkie’ (from left): Basheshile Thusi, Nomafu Dlamini, Jabulani Mdiniso, and Nosipho Ndzimbomvu.