World Class, without resting on their laurels

World Class, without resting on their laurels

Laurence Gale travels to Derby to see developments at Dennis and Sisis: It has been a couple of years since my last Dennis and SISIS factory visit and it’s always good to catch up to find out about any new developments and see what new products may be coming on to the market.

Like most proactive companies, R&D and product development are important in driving the company forward. It was at the recent IOG SALTEX show where we saw Dennis’ new PRO 34R rotary mower and a battery powered pedestrian rotary mower – and judging by those who saw them, it is safe to say that these products are highly anticipated. The rotary mower is a totally new concept for Dennis who, until now, have been renowned for producing their iconic range of cylinder mowers.

World Class, without resting on their laurels

Our visit started with a very warm welcome by company owner, Ian Howard, whose vision has been instrumental in the success of the Dennis and SISIS brands. It was apparent that Ian “along with his vastly experienced senior management team” have ensured that the company is in more than capable hands.

In 2011, SISIS was acquired by Howardson to sit alongside Dennis as a division providing the groundcare industry with a truly comprehensive range of British manufactured products. This monumental acquisition signalled the start of a perfect partnership in which the two brands are now synonymous with world class turf care equipment.

Without resting on their laurels, the Howardson company continues to work hard on improving the value and versatility of both Dennis and SISIS products. In the last seven years their machines have continued to gain UK and global recognition and this is supported by the robust and dedicated sales/marketing and demonstration team.

The further acquisition of Crocodile Precision along with continued significant investment by All British Precision in the engineering process of the components, has further enhanced the company’s ability to produce a larger range of quality British made products more efficiently.

In recent years we have seen the Dennis/SISIS branded machinery being used at many of the top-flight sporting venues for football, cricket, rugby and bowls both home and abroad.

One of the main reasons for this has been due to the fact Dennis/SISIS has listened to its customers and have taken the opportunity to redesign and develop new products. Take, for example, the new PRO 34R rotary mower, which the team have been working on for over two years to bring to the market. This was a direct result from listening to the requirements of many of the world’s top groundsmen.

This new 34-inch-wide machine offers a powerful vacuum and cutting unit that helps present and clean up sports pitches. This machine has been on trial at several Premiership football clubs thus enabling the company to thoroughly test the machine and Iron out any potential problems.

As with most Dennis products they are built to last, with a proviso it needs to be able to guarantee at least five years of untroubled service working on the harshest of terrains. This new machine sits nicely with the G860 range of mowers, designed with many similarities in terms of hand controls, engine and chassis and comes with a good back up service and a reputation of Dennis reliability.

It was apparent that Dennis are also very up-beat about the other rotary mower waiting in the wings, which was first seen at 2017’s SALTEX show. Their new battery powered pedestrian mower gained a lot of interest. It certainly looked a robust, well designed innovative machine from the Dennis stable and they have been working with Bosch for a while to bring this mower to fruition.

The concept of Dennis moving into battery powered machinery is no doubt in their minds, especially in the way the industry is starting to embrace these new technologies. There will certainly be plenty of opportunities to ‘battery-fi’ many of their products in the coming years.

The company were happy to share their sales figures in terms of positive growth year on year since 2010, which is testament to all the hard work being done by all parts of the business.

The current sales figures are split 60% UK and 40% overseas with the company having 30 dealerships servicing and distributing products in the UK, coupled with a further 45 dealerships worldwide. Sales abroad are growing all the time and Dennis will, for the third successive year, be supplying many of the venues in this year’s World Cup in Russia.

The sales team is backed up by a field support/demo team and the combination of experienced field staff, backed up by technicians and the support of all the factory staff, together with a renewed marketing strategy led by Roger are the reasons why Howardson Ltd is growing a reputation of building quality British made products for the professional turfgrass industry.

It was then time for our tour of the factory, beginning with a visit of the metal fabrication and tooling areas which feature in the All British Precision department. The investment in robotic milling and tooling systems has reduced waste and speeded up production of key parts.

We then visited the new powder coating paint shop, a very clean and appropriate facility that enables the company to be in control of the quality and number of parts being painted.

Finally, we saw the assembly area, where staff concentrate on assembling and putting together a range of Dennis and SISIS products, multi-tasking and sharing job roles so they can be more flexible to meet customers’ orders.

Dennis/SISIS are very proud of their business and are keen to continue to serve the turf grass industry with investment. In recent years we have seen the popularity of their free seminar and education days grow. The annual cricket day which now attracts well over 200 groundsmen.

All in all, Dennis and SISIS have been very busy in the last seven years and are beginning to see the fruits of their labour.

I would like to thank Dennis/SISIS for the opportunity to visit and see first-hand the work they do behind the scenes to ensure Dennis and SISIS remain one of the leading British manufacturers in the turfcare industry.

Demain’s the name

Demain’s the name: When the name of the Professional Groundman of the Year was announced at the IOG Awards Dinner in November, there was one man in the huge function suite in the National Motor Cycle Museum, in Birmingham, not paying too much attention.

Vic Demain, Head Groundsman at Durham County Cricket Club, in Chester-le-Street, was basking in the warm glow of success, having seen his team named Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year earlier in the evening and he had to be nudged to get on his feet to go collect the award.

“I looked to the stage and there was my name on the screen and my first thought was that this can’t be right, it has to be a mistake. But it slowly sunk in and I went up and collected the award,” recalled Vic.

To be fair to him his surprise had a degree of justification. A cricket groundsman had never won Professional Groundsman of the Year while, a mere six years before, Vic was a groundsman working in recreational cricket.

“My name is now engraved on the Cup alongside a host of legends in the world of groundmanship. Everyone on it is so deserving and I feel I shouldn’t be included among them, that I’m a bit of an imposter.

“That said it’s been absolutely brilliant. I still haven’t come down and I have to pinch myself that it’s happened,” said Vic, speaking to Turf Matters in his first interview since his success.

The story of how Vic came to join luminaries of the industry is remarkable and one which should provide inspiration to anyone who has been knocked back, got up, got knocked back again, yet still rose to the top of the tree.

He left school at 16 in Faringdon, located between Oxford and Swindon, and took up an apprenticeship at a local building company. Apprenticeship completed Vic launched his own business which he ran for 20 years until the housing market crashed in the mid-90s and his company folded.

“I’d always been a lover of cricket and was the sort of guy every club wants. I’d cut the grass, I’d do the fixtures, my wife would make the teas, I’d take coaching courses. Anything, so long as it was involved with cricket. On the field I wasn’t very good, but I was really keen and made the most of what limited ability I had. I just loved the game,” he explained.

Looking for employment, ideally in cricket, he applied for and eventually, at the second attempt, got the job of Cricket Manager on a private estate, where he learned rudimentary groundsmanship.

“I knew nothing about it whatsoever, and remember this was before the days of internet, so I got out and spoke to the old boys who were looking after their own grounds, and learned a lot from them.

“After about four or five years we got the ground up to Minor Counties’ standard and Buckinghamshire played there. It really was the best job in the world.”

Until the next set back.

“We had a change of management and the new manager decided that cricket was costing the Estate too much money and took the ground down the contractor route. I was made redundant.”

Next step was to Milton Keynes and Campbell Park working for a contractor but a yearning was growing for his own ground and when he saw an advert for a job at Uxbridge Cricket Club. He jumped at it and fortunately for Vic they jumped at him and it was there that he spent the next seven seasons as Head Groundsman, a ground where Middlesex played a number of games

Now this next bit is all-important for those of you feeling that life has passed you by and stretching out ahead is not so much a potential pathway to success, but a rut.

“It was the wet summer of 2012 and Nottinghamshire came down to play Middlesex. It never stopped raining, but we worked diligently and while we didn’t get a result in the end, we did manage to get quite a bit of play.”

Keep reading…

“At the end of the season Nottinghamshire were looking for a Deputy Head Groundsman and I thought, I’ve got no chance as I’d not worked at that level, but decided to throw my hat in the ring anyway. However, I’ve been told that when the Director of Cricket saw the applications and noticed the Uxbridge connection he said, ‘That’s the guy I want because when we went to Uxbridge they worked so hard to get the game on’,” said Vic. 

It’s a lesson for everyone.

“I try to impress upon people that if you work hard, put in the graft, don’t hide in the shed when conditions are bad, and always been seen to be doing your best, someone may notice you. That’s exactly what happened to me.

“Honestly, I was about 50 at the time and was beginning to think that it was time to start winding down a little, but my career has really taken off in the last five years. Look whats happened to me, these last five years have just been crazy. You couldn’t plan for it.”

The final piece in the career jigsaw came in 2015 when he applied for the vacancy at Durham.

“I guess I’m one of those people who always wants to test themselves and I wanted to work at the highest possible level and for me, at Durham, the biggest attraction of all was that I knew in 2016 there was going to be a Test Match. There are not many Test Grounds and not many people who have done a Test Match so for me that was huge.”

But Durham wasn’t a job for the feint hearted. The pitch was well known to be damp and bowler friendly. Also the club was experiencing financial difficulties, brought about by the contractual obligation when Durham became the latest addition to the County Championship in 1992 that the Riverside be developed as a Test and International venue. This is a part of the country not regarded as a cricketing hotspot.

“I started in March 2015 which was too late to do anything with the pitches. When I arrived I was concerned about the poor grass coverage on the pitches. We are lucky that we have a big square but five or six of those pitches were not going to be usable until July.

“The other issue I faced was that, for me, Nottingham had been the furthest I’d been north. I’d been used to working around the London areas which has a completely different climate. My pitch at Uxbridge was probably the most batsman-friendly you’d ever see so, in order to get the bowlers interested, I’d leave 10-12 mm of grass on each pitch.

“I tried to do that at Durham in my first season but the ball was going around corners and the batsmen were not happy at all. The one thing about that season was that the cricket was hugely entertaining for the person buying a ticket. No game ended in two days, but we had a lot of three day games and every game we played ended in a result.”

It wasn’t until the end of that first season that Vic finally got a handle of the pitch, and not before he sought the sage-like advice of the very man who would know.

“I couldn’t fathom out how pitches always seemed to be a on the damp side despite me trying to dry them out. All I could come up with was that water was coming up from underneath the surface. So what I did was track down Tom Flintoft, Head Groundsman here 30 years ago. He’s a lovely guy and I’ve spoken to him a lot since. I asked him if there was chance that my theory was correct and straight away he said to me that there was more water under the square than there was in the River Wear!”

Knowing the issue and resolving the issue are two completely different things however.

“In the short term there is really nothing you can do outside of digging up the pitch and putting in a membrane to prevent the water reaching the wicket but with our financial constraints that wasn’t going to happen.” Vic’s appreciation of what he was dealing with coincided with an instruction from the ECB to all Head Groundsmen that pitches should be more spinner friendly and the change to the toss rule which gave visiting Captains the option of bowling first.

“With the history at Durham no-one was ever going to say they were going to bat first so our pitches simply had to change. What I did was shave all the grass off and got them to be flat, white and reasonably hard so, after a game or two, we actually did see the away team wanting to bat first. The bowlers weren’t too happy and maybe it wasn’t as exciting cricket for the paying public. Perhaps there is still some middle ground to be had,” said Vic, who did become a hero to Keaton Jennings, who based on the amount of runs he has scored on Vic’s pitches, has since opened the batting for England.

Oh, that Test match and the reason Vic took that leap of faith north.

It was against Sri Lanka in May 2016 and to be honest that leap of faith Vic took in moving north looked decidedly misplaced when the week before a Sri Lankan team, shorn of its legendary batters and bowlers who had retired, were twice skittled out cheaply at Headingley in a match which barely lasted three days.

“People were saying that on our traditionally bowler friendly pitch that it could all be over in two days, but luckily England won the toss and batted, putting on over 400. Then having added to the run of low scores and being forced to follow-on the Sri Lanka’s showed some real mettle and batted well to overtake England’s first innings total and the match went into a fourth day.

“It was a reasonably good Test and all the reports were positive, but it was cold, mid-May, the weather wasn’t great and crowds weren’t huge.”

It tended to sum up the plight of Durham.

At the end of 2016 the financial problems came home to roost. Despite finishing fourth in the First Division Durham were relegated for financial reason and, to really kick them when they were down, they started each competition of the 2017 season on minus points.

The Board was removed and a new one put in place led by Chairman Sir Ian Botham, who has used his profile and contacts within the game to pull Durham through these immensely difficult times.

“A lot of people were very concerned about their jobs. My staff were worried, we were all worried and it was one thing after another – bad news after bad news after bad news – so, 12 months later, to be able to take these two wonderful awards back to the club was just fantastic.

“We knew that we were up for Headland Amenity Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year. We’d been short-listed along with Hampshire, as we had been the previous year when we lost out to Essex, so I was hopeful that we might have a chance. I was hugely delighted when we won not just for my team but for Team Durham back at the club – all the staff.

“It was brilliant for my small team – my Deputy Mark Patterson who has been at the club for over 15 years; Ben Hall, who has been here for eight years and for Amy McKewan, who is in her second season here and doing her apprenticeship. My coming in just three years ago was difficult for us all. I was joining a team which was already established and for Mark and Ben they had only ever worked for one boss and become used to doing things one way. I was never going to be the same and change is difficult to deal with, particularly with the wider issues going on.

“But three years on we’ve got there and our Award is a rubber stamping and recognition for what we have achieved. I think part of the reason we got the award was our ability to produce what we have done under financial constraints.”

An hour listening to Vic and you can fully understand why he also picked up the Ransomes/DLF Johnsons Alex R. Miller Groundsman of the Year award. His enthusiasm and drive are infectious and he possesses a can-do attitude which has survived through a number of career disappointments.

Five years on from the last of those disappointments, and a time when he was considering looking for a job to ease himself into retirement, he sits alongside the very best groundsmen that this country has produced.

Whether he believes it or not, he fully deserves that honour.

New Pitch Renovation Package

New Pitch Renovation Package: Germinal Amenity has launched an all-in-one seed and fertiliser sports pitch renovation package.  Containing two key elements – Germinal’s A20 Premier Ryesport seed mixture plus an appropriate selection of fertiliser products – A20 Seed & Feed offers groundsmen everything they need in order to renovate their pitches and to create a sustainable playing surface within just six weeks of seeding.

The seed element of the A20 Seed & Feed package provides a combination of four top-performing species of perennial ryegrasses.  Together, these four cultivars create a dense sward with excellent fineness of leaf, a good cleanness of cut and which is exceptionally easy to mow into stripes.  The seed mixture – Germinal’s standard A20 Premier Ryesport mixture – also offers good levels of disease resistance and fantastic post-winter recovery.  The standard seed mixture can also be customised, allowing groundsmen to create their own bespoke specification.

New Pitch Renovation Package

For the fertiliser component of the A20 Seed & Feed package, groundsmen are able to select either a soil or sand based nutrient programme.  A third option, for park pitches and local community pitches, is also available.  All three nutrient programmes are F.A.C.T.S. (Fertiliser Advisers Certification and Training Scheme) approved and have been designed to enable the new sward to achieve the best possible results in terms of seedling establishment and sward development.  Each package contains a selection of phased release fertilisers and advanced soil conditioners which provide the necessary nutrients and trace elements required during the renovated pitch’s growing-in phase.

“The summer pitch renovation season is one of the busiest periods in any groundsman’s calendar,” explains Joe Hendy, Technical Sales Representative for Germinal.  “It can also be an exceptionally stressful time of year with groundsmen anxiously waiting for the renovated pitch to be ready in time for the start of the new playing season.  With that in mind, we have created an all-in-one seed, fertiliser and nutrient advice package to help ease the pressure.”

By providing a complementary package of seed, fertiliser and F.A.C.T.S. based nutrient advice, A20 Seed & Feed makes it easier and simpler for groundsmen to renovate their pitches and to successfully create a well-established and viable playing surface.

“All too often we speak to groundsmen who simply don’t have the time or resources, or in some cases the correct technical knowledge, to develop their own over-seeding and fertiliser programmes.  By following the simple advice laid out in our new A20 Seed & Feed packages, these groundsmen can be confident that they are using the correct rate of the most suitable products at the optimum time, and that they will be giving their pitch the very best chance of going into the new season in prime condition,” Joe adds.

“All three of the A20 Seed & Feed programmes use the very best phased-release fertilisers and soil conditioners from Compo Expert to ensure that every penny invested in pitch renovation works hard and delivers the required results.”

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Posh Defender Turns Groundsman

Posh Defender Turns Groundsman: Peterborough United defender Steven Taylor played an extended role in his team’s victory on Tuesday night, by helping to sweep snow off the lines at the ABAX Stadium.

Peterborough were hosting Walsall in a League One clash but heavy snow in the second half meant the pitch was hardly visible.

Posh Defender Turns Groundsman

The Posh were 2-1 up in the 80th minute when the referee halted play to ensure snow could be cleared off the pitch.

And it was former England U21 captain and Newcastle centre-half Steven Taylor who was the hero of the hour.

Taylor was seen desperately shovelling snow to make the lines visable so play could continue.

“Steven Taylor is a hero,” one fan wrote on Twitter.

Another said: “Steven Taylor not only clears the backline he now helps clear the lines on the pitch.”

“So Steven taylor was literally playing the ‘sweeper’ role tonight. #PUFC,” said another supporter.

There was a seven minute break in play as the ground staff and home players brushed the snow on the pitch.

Peterborough eventually ran out 2-1 winners to earn their first victory in eight games.

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Firm Fast Greens At Knole Park

Toro Delivers Firm Fast Greens At Knole Park GC: Located within the boundaries of Knole Estates in 1000 acres of outstanding Kent parkland and with 600 deer roaming freely around the estate is a club like no other.

Knole Park is one of the most unique courses in the country; not only for the aforementioned reasons, but also for the fact that this one course plays home to two clubs.

Course manager at the club, which is home to Knole Park Golf Club and Sevenoaks Town Golf Club, is Gavin Kyle who has been at the club for 15 years. Gavin keeps a regular annual machinery replacement programme and this year he had a focus on choosing the right machines to create firm, true, fast surfaces, which is where Toro joins the story.

Firm Fast Greens At Knole Park

“It is important to consistently maintain a challenge for players,” says Gavin. “It’s for this reason that recent years have seen us extend the course by 200 yards, with further extension planned in the next year. There is a fine balance between offering a good game to all golfers, including those with a five handicap and below. We have players of all abilities across our two-club membership including a lot of scratch players and our greens needed an update this year to offer a consistent challenge to all.

“When choosing our next greens machines we checked out the market, going through rounds of demos from distributors. If I’m honest I haven’t bought Toro since I’ve been at Knole Park, so for 15 years! But Toro is renowned for its greens machines in particular so were naturally included on the demo list. What appealed with the Greensmaster TriFlex 3420-H machines, which we went for, was that they’re hybrids. I sought to reduce the risk of hydraulic leaks on the greens and I wanted the advanced control these machines can offer.”

The TriFlex Hybrid’s electric cylinder circuit is designed to eliminate up to 90 percent of hydraulic leaks, and the Turf Guardian leak detection system provides immediate audio and visual indication of possible leaks. Plus, the electric cylinders have less drag and spin more freely than hydraulic motors providing a sharp cut which leads to firmer and faster greens, exactly what Gavin is after. “Firm, true and fast greens is what we’re all after and the Toro TriFlex is helping us achieve this at Knole Park,” he confirms.

Providing the advanced control Gavin mentioned is the machines’ Info Centre, which has an easily customised clip for different heights of cut as well as other operational settings to give complete machine control on cylinder speed, hours of function, system voltage for cylinders and diagnostic descriptions. It’s this that provides the advanced control that appealed to Gavin in the TriFlexes.

But as Gavin goes on to say, it’s never just as simple as the machines: “A machine is often only as good as the backup that comes with it. We’re dealing direct with Reesink Turfcare for the first time and we’ve found that to be a great experience so far.”

It seems opportune that Toro arrives back at Knole Park for the first time since the 1970s in the year that it hosted the Tillman Trophy, the tournament widely attributed to changing the face of amateur golf. We’re sure with Toro on side, Gavin and his greenkeeping team of six will change the challenge of the course for all its members.

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First Intelligent One In The UK

Richard Peel Groundcare first in the UK to offer GPS guided line marking with the Intelligent One Line Marker: Constantly adopting new innovations is a principle of Richard Peel Groundcare and the addition of the UK’s first Intelligent One Line Marker has brought a number of benefits to the company and their customers.

The GPS guided machine, supplied by Intelligent Marking’s UK distributor Rigby Taylor, can mark a FIFA regulation 11v11 football pitch from scratch in 29-minutes 45 seconds and can also be used for track and field marking, rugby union and league, lacrosse and customisable grids, shapes, and tracks.

First Intelligent One In The UK

Savings to customers come directly in terms of labour and paint. The machine can mark out two to three fields on one drum of paint depending on the nozzle used making it very easy to calculate when new paint is needed.

For Richard Peel Groundcare managing director, Richard Peel, being able to offer high-quality line marking at an affordable price to customers.

“We’re always looking at the new technology that’s coming into the market and I’m proud to say we’ve purchased the first Intelligent One Line Marker in the UK,” he said.

“Line marking is a skilled job that takes time and in the current climate restricted budgets make it difficult for clubs and councils to consistently mark their pitches. By using this marker, we can provide high-quality accurate marking every time whilst cutting costs on paint and labour.

“The feedback we’ve received from the demos we’ve done has been very positive and we expect the machine to be in high-demand in the near future.”

The intelligent nature of the machine means it is capable of marking a fixed socket 11-a-side football pitch and fixed socket rugby union and league pitches. There is also the option of marking a 11v11 football pitch with two 8-a-side pitches built in with all football pitches customisable in length and width.

All running track markings are also customisable in terms of the number of lanes, giving customers a large variety of options to choose from across all sports. For more information on availability please contact Richard Peel Groundcare at

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Driving Your Growth!

Driving Your Growth! Grasslands are one of the largest turf growing experts in the country completing jobs for the Tower of London, Natural History Museum, Kew Gardens, Bluewater and most recently, Leicester Square.

They have been using Antonio Carraro Tractors since 1985 and have recently brought a brand new TTR 4400 from UK Importer- Kirkland UK. The multi-functional tractor comes with a 38hp engine and hydrostatic transmission. Head Landscaper, Paul Farmer has been working for Grasslands for over 15 years.

He is ecstatic with their new TTR 4400:“The reverse drive of the Antonio Carraro tractor is ideal for my line of work. Turning the seat round means I watch where I lay the turf without straining my neck giving me optimal vision.”

Driving Your Growth!

Simon Baxter, manager at Grasslands has dealt with Kirkland UK for years. He said:“I chose to buy from Kirkland because they offered the right tractor at a good price and the sales service was excellent. Their after sales has been good, and we have always received the right advice plus our parts orders are all on time.”

Paul also said how the hydraulics on the reverse drive tractor are ideal for their jobs as it easily picks up their big rolls of turf measuring 12-15 metres and weighing 500kg allowing them to complete their tasks efficiently & quickly. Specially designed for ground care, the TTR 4400 can be fitted to a variety of attachments such as mowers, shredders, hedge cutters, sprayers and many more.

Paul is pleased with the versatility of the tractor:“I would definitely recommend Antonio Carraro Tractors. as well as laying big roll, we also do prep work such as rotavating, levelling, ploughing- any job a big tractor can do, mine can do as well!”

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Kubota Keeps Wheels In Motion

Kubota Helps Keep Wheels In Motion: When Lee Smith and Liz Marley moved to the Suffolk countryside in 2012, they left their established professions in engineering and law behind them for a more relaxing lifestyle.

Fast forward six years and they are proud owners of Poppies Care Farm, the first care farm in the UK to comply with Care Farming UK’s Code of Practice. Traditionally a European concept, care farms provide health, social and educational care services for individuals from a range of vulnerable groups.

Kubota Helps Keep Wheels In Motion

Located on a seven-acre smallholding on Purdis Heath, Poppies Care Farm has been in operation for four years and is accredited by Suffolk County Council. It features areas of woodland, pasture, and fruit and vegetable growing areas and is also home to four alpacas, seven goats, two donkeys and a range of chickens, guinea pigs and bees.

Through a dedicated learning programme, the individual needs of each participant is taken into account, enabling them to increase their social contact and build confidence through a range of activities that help them achieve realistic goals.

The team currently hosts up to 24 clients, who attend one or two days per week to partake in a range of activities including caring for the animals, farming projects, horticulture, wildlife conservation and wood working.

Speaking of the farm, Liz said: “When we first purchased the land we were unsure of what we would actually do with it, until a friend suggested that we transformed it into a care farm. Over the last four years it’s been a real pleasure to see the care farmers develop both their social and practical skills, from learning how to grow vegetables and tend to the animals, to making bird boxes and selling them at the local Suffolk markets.”

To enable the team to complete all of these activities successfully, they recently fundraised for a Kubota BX2350 tractor, trailer and LA423 loader to replace their existing Kubota machine. This was made a reality by receiving donations from Comic Relief, National Lottery Fund and Kubota UK.

Liz continued: “It’s been absolutely fantastic to have the new tractor here at the farm. We bought our previous Kubota machine when we first opened, and although it was over 30 years old, it did the job really well. However, as the size of our operation has grown, the Kubota tractor was being put through its paces more and more, so it was time to invest in a new machine.”

The BX2350 tractor was delivered by their local dealer Thurlow Nunn Standen after Liz and Lee visited the dealership to find out which machine would be right for the farm. As they had worked with a Kubota machine for three years, the couple knew they wanted another Kubota tractor due to its outstanding reliability and durability.

“The BX2350 was the perfect machine for us as the four-wheel drive makes the machine so easy for the care farmers to operate, along with the comfortable seat and simple to use layout of the levers and pedals. As many of the care farmers are unable to drive a car, they find real pleasure from being able to drive the tractor, with many of them able to successfully reverse the machine with a trailer on – something that is really tricky to do!

“We use the Kubota for a range of activities, from shifting heavy loads of wood, concrete and rubbish, moving and turning compost, to repairing the track to the farm. We are really grateful to Kubota for providing funds towards the tractor purchase, whilst also donating the trailer and loader. The machine supports our daily learning programme, enabling the care farmers to complete a wider range of activities that are all designed to support their ongoing development.”

For more information on Kubota and its wide range of solutions for the agricultural, groundcare and construction industries, call 01844 268000 or visit

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Gamekeeper Wins Polaris ATV

Carrbridge gamekeeper wins Polaris ATV in SGA prize draw: Long standing SGA member Ewan Archer expressed his gratitude to Polaris UK after taking delivery of his brand new Polaris Sportsman 570, won in the 2017 SGA raffle.

The Carrbridge gamekeeper, who works at Kinveachy Estate, was handed the keys to the hard-working ATV at the organisation’s Perth HQ on Thursday after buying his winning ticket through the SGA member magazine, Scottish Gamekeeper.

Fringed by SGA Chairman Alex Hogg, Richard Coleby of Polaris and Iain Stratton of supplier Stratton ATV Ltd, Ewan was delighted to get the first glimpse of his prize.

Gamekeeper Wins Polaris ATV

After entering the annual draw every year since the SGA formed 21 years ago, he admitted he entered the 2017 draw more in support than expectation of winning.

Luck proved to be on his side, though, and he was enormously thankful to collect the smooth riding sage green vehicle.

“Since the outset of the SGA, my family and I have always bought tickets but I didn’t believe it when my wife informed me I had won this year,” he smiled. “A lot of the estates around about us are using Polaris to great effect for grouse moor management and for day to day getting about.

“I am very grateful to Polaris. It is a very generous prize.”

The 44 horsepower ATV is built for safety off-road, with smooth suspension and All-Wheel Drive on demand, single lever brake system and automatic transmission.

It is already a highly popular choice on Scottish estates, as Director of Stratton ATV Ltd, Iain Stratton, acknowledged.

“Ninety five percent of our custom comes from sporting estates. A lot of gamekeepers will use them for feeding in areas they can’t reach with bigger machinery and for towing behind game feeders. It is great for deer extraction as well.”

SGA Chairman Alex Hogg was delighted to see the 2017 prize go to a long-time member of the SGA family.

On the back of successful partnership, the SGA and Polaris are set to renew their arrangement for 2018, with the raffle prize again set to be provided by the company.

“It is really important we have partners like Polaris,” said the SGA Chairman.

“I have used a 6 wheeler Polaris UTV myself for 5 years and it has been really good. In terms of this particular bike, it is a quality product, very sturdy with a good engine. I am sure it will suit Ewan perfectly.”

Polaris UK District Sales Manager Richard Coleby said the partnership was a win-win for all parties and both organisations are looking to make the most of their continued association in 2018.

“Shoots, estates and gamekeepers represent a big market for us, as a business, so it is important to support where we can in Scotland. We are probably the leader in the estates market so it is important for us to maintain profile. All our products are designed for heavy off-road performance so they really suit this type of work.”

Polaris Britain: 0800 915 6720

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Foley United’s NEW Range Of Grinders

Foley United’s NEW Range of grinders offers a sharpening solution for every budget and every method: Foley United is upping the game by adding three new grinders to their range, with 6 models to cater for every method regardless of budget, including the addition of their first spin only grinder in the Accu Spin 622.

A mission to offer a machine for every budget has seen Foley United raise the minimum expectation for grinders on the market by following their own in-house standards of Good. Better. Best. This follows the principle that sharpening cylinders through spin only grinding is Good, sharpening cylinders and removing taper is Better, and sharpening cylinders, removing taper and adding relief to OEM spec is Best.

Foley United’s NEW Range Of Grinders

Foley United is advancing spin grinding to a new level of speed, simplicity and unmatched performance. The new ACCU-Spin 622 series is packed with design features only available from Foley United. The Patented Rear Roller Mounting System locates the reel by the rear roller, minimising issues that can arise when locating the reel by the front roller and is standard on all Foley United table top reel grinders. The Live Shaft Spin Hub design effectively and efficiently produces a sharp edge in a shorter time.

A huge benefit of the new 622 series is that all the features from the SG and SGR models can be added to the base unit as an aftermarket purchase, if and when they are wanted. These features include the L.E.D Gauging that gives the operator an easy visual adjustment process ensuring the removal of taper and a perfect cylindrical grind every time.

Also available is the Auto-Index Relief Assembly. This has long been recognised as a labour free system that allows hands-free blade to blade indexing, making the final step to returning reels to OEM specs a simple, effortless process.

This trio of reel grinders all provide a high level of health and safety with the machine doors greatly reducing noise during grinding whilst simultaneously reducing any risks to health by preventing exposure to dust and vibration.

For Ian Robson, managing director at Foley’s UK distributor, ProSport UK, the introduction of the new machines has given his customers a far greater choice when it comes to finding a grinder to match their needs and budget.

“I think the most important thing about the new 622 series is the minimum standards have been raised,” Ian said. “Spin only grinding has been popular for a long time and whilst Foley are big advocates of relief grinding they now provide the best professional spin grinder on the market.

“Allowing customers the option to add to the base model gives greater flexibility in terms of budgets and grinding requirements. There’s already been a lot of positive feedback about that as we now offer even greater choice, with more Foley models for every budget and every grinding method.”

Joining the new machines is the economical but full featured ACCU-Sharp 618 precision reel grinder. With the ability to do touch-up spin but also perform gauging and relief grinding as well as an optional bed-knife grinding attachment. The 618 is the perfect entry level grinder and is the ideal choice for operators with a limited budget or smaller operations that perform limited grinding or as an alternative to purchasing used equipment with a starting price from as little as £15,750.

The final addition is the ACCU-Pro 661 AT/MT bed-knife.  Like the 618 it has all the features required of a professional grinder but at a lower price point.  Two versions are available the AT (automatic traverse) and the MT (manual traverse).

For further information visit our website: or Tel: Ian Robson on 07779270501.

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