Sprayer Operator Award Announced

Sprayer Operator Award Announced: The Amenity Forum Sprayer Operator of the Year 2018 Awards (AFSOY) are once again open for entries. Now into year four, the awards were established by the Amenity Forum and aim to recognise the high levels of professionalism and standards in the sector. There are different categories for entries and the overall winner will have a choice of three fantastic prizes, including a trip to a world-leading US turf or amenity show, or £2000 worth of products. Sponsored by ICL and Syngenta, and supported by BASIS, the Awards were established to further promote high standards of operation standards by sharing and disseminating the best practice employed by these individuals.

A record number of entries were received for the 2017 Awards with the overall winner announced as Nathan Hume, Contracts Manager and Ecologist for national grounds maintenance experts, SH Goss Ltd. Nathan received his award at BTME in January 2018, following the announcement of the three principal category winners at the Amenity Forum Annual Conference in October 2017. Nathan chose a trip to the USA as his prize and will fly to Louisville, Kentucky in October, to visit the Green Industry & Equipment Expo. He said:

Sprayer Operator Award Announced

“Just taking part in the awards was a great experience. As with all operations, it’s important to review and appraise what we do and how we can continually improve. The recognition of the awards is good for our company and for our customers to appreciate the effort that goes in to achieving a great result. As well as the awesome chance to visit the US.”

Talking about the Awards, Amenity Forum’s independent Chairman, Professor John Moverley said: “Past winners have demonstrated the high level of competence and attention to detail among sprayer operators. They have showed the skills necessary to get the best possible results from every application, and how to achieve it safely with due care for the environment.”

ICL Landscape and Industrial Manager, Mark Pyrah said: “We know that there are many great operators doing a fantastic job every day,” he added. “The awards is a way to recognise their skills and to shine a spotlight on their role. Sharing their best practice means that everyone can gain.”

Syngenta business manager, Daniel Lightfoot MG, pointed out that sprayer operators’ skills are key to achieving the most effective results. He said: “It’s not awarded for having the newest machine or the latest gadgets – it’s about understanding what needs to be done, and how best to achieve it safely and efficiently. We have had some great entrants in previous years, who have continued to get better from the experiences they have gained. There is huge potential reward from getting involved and entering the awards.”

Organisations and companies are encouraged to nominate candidates in addition to self-nomination. The process is not difficult.

Entries and nominations are invited from sprayer operators in three categories:

  • Sports turf – Using a knapsack/boom sprayer
  • Landscape and Industrial – Using a vehicle sprayer
  • Landscape and Industrial – Using a knapsack sprayer

Each category winner will receive a trophy and the overall winner across the three categories will win the prestigious accolade of National Amenity Forum Sprayer Operator of the Year along with the choice of three prizes:

  • Flights, accommodation and entry to GCSAA 2019 San Diego, California
  • Flights, accommodation and entry to GIE Expo 2019 Louisville, Kentucky
  • ICL/Syngenta products to the value of £2,000

To enter or nominate, download the application form or enter online via the Amenity Forum website www.amenityforum.co.uk

Entries and nominations need to be made by 30 June 2018. After submitting an application form, successful entrants will be invited to answer a short questionnaire. Selected category finalists are judged on best practice and innovative ideas to improve and enhance spraying operations. Category finalist are invited to the Amenity Forum Conference in October, with the overall winner announced at the BIGGA BTME event next January.

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New Striped Lawn Tradition

New Striped Lawn Tradition: The key to the perfect striped lawn is a cylinder mower and for more than 50 years, cylinder lawnmowers from Allett have been creating quintessentially English lawns all over the world.

The key to this success has been Allett’s speciality in designing and manufacturing precision, single-cylinder, walk-behind mowers. Until now, Allett’s mowers have traditionally been powered by petrol, with some products also available as electric models. However, Allett has added lithium-ion models to its range with its Liberty battery powered mowers, allowing gardeners to create the perfect striped finish without the need for the noise and fumes of petrol.

New Striped Lawn Tradition

The Liberty lawnmower, which has already received rave reviews from both professional and domestic users, is available in three different models – the 30cm, the 35cm and the 43cm. All three feature a rear roller which creates the stripes, and are powered by Allett’s 40 volt 4Ah lithium-ion battery that can recharge from flat in 1 hour 45 minutes.

The Liberty 30 push mower is the entry level option  for small to medium gardens. It has a five blade carbon steel cylinder and a 32 litre grass box capacity. Also well suited for small to medium gardens, but offering more features, is the mid-range Liberty 35. The Liberty 35 is a self-propelled model to enhance the ease of use for the operator. It is compatible with the Allett Lawn Care cartridge range of the aerator, lawn brush, scarifier, dethatcher, verticutter and 10 bladed cutting cylinder for the complete lawn package.

The final mower is the Liberty 43 which is the top of the range model. With a self-propelled feature, steel front roller and double section rear roller with geared differential it gives the ultimate in cutting perfection. To compliment this, it has a vast 62 litre grass box collection. Like the Liberty 35, it is also compatible with the Allett Lawn Care cartridges.

Discussing the battery powered additions, managing director of Allett Lawnmowers, Austin Jarrett commented: “Here at Allett we are incredibly proud of our roots and the tradition associated with our lawnmowers, however that needn’t mean we don’t evolve our offering. Battery powered products have significant benefits – not just for the environment but also for users. They are incredibly convenient and offer significant power without compromising on the cut quality that our machines are famed for.”

For more information please visit www.allett.co.uk.

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Credit Only Arrives In Adverse Circumstances

Well the clocks have sprung forward, spring has arrived and greenkeeping and grounds keeping teams throughout the land can witness the results of their winter programmes.

There is a belief, particularly in golf, that greenkeepers do little more than paint a few marker posts, indulge in a little tree management and improve their three dart average over the winter period but while their hours tend to be a little different from spring and summer the autumn and winter periods are key to all year round performance.

A message from Scott!

And it is fair to say that it is also the unseen work done in the “off-season” by grounds teams which ensures superb surfaces on pitches in all sports.

It must be frustrating to have jokes about the card schools and darts leagues but they happen because so often the work done is carried out unseen by the end user.

I’ve equated the world of turf professionals to that of wombles or borrowers, whose main aim is not to get in the way or be seen but to produce an end result which is exactly what was demanded but one which no one really notices.

A prime example was the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in 2010. Had it all gone swimmingly – as happened at Gleneagles four years later, there would have been nothing but the odd platitude and verbal pat of the back. But because the weather was of Biblical proportions and very nearly wrecked the entire event Jim McKenzie, his team and an army of greenkeeping volunteers, were hailed as miracle workers for engineering the possibility of a Monday finish. Jim was even honoured with an MBE as a result.

So sometimes credit only arrives in adverse circumstances.

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ClearWater System At Fleetwood GC

ClearWater System At Fleetwood GC: Terry Booth, Head Greenkeeper at Fleetwood Golf Club, was thrilled to be given the “go ahead” to order a ClearWater system recently.

The club, aware of current legislation concerning washpads and pollution prevention, wished to upgrade their facilities and believed, having read a number of articles, that a washpad water recycling system would be the future-proof solution. After a number of years, it was finally decided that funds could be made available and Terry Booth with director Brian Geddes researched the project. Details and prices were obtained, visits made and systems viewed and considered. BTME, incidentally, played an important part initially in the process as supplier stands were visited and information gathered. At BTME this year matters were finalised and an order placed for a ClearWater system soon afterwards.

ClearWater System At Fleetwood GC

Fleetwood lost no time and arranged delivery soonest having decided to “self-install” using their local experienced contractor. Terry explained that the cost savings offered on self-install by Acumen with ClearWater would be most welcome. Matthew Mears, Acumen ClearWater’s sales and development manager, visited the club soon after the show to discuss installation and delivery arrangements. The system was promptly installed and in action, much to the delight of Terry and his staff! He’s happy to show it to others interested too.

Brian Geddes expressed interest in the ECA (Enhanced Capital Allowance) scheme and the fact that the WTL (Water Technology List) approved ClearWater system qualified. Under the scheme, businesses can write off 100 per cent of the cost of qualifying plant and machinery against taxable profits in the year of purchase. This can bring significant financial savings and reduce the business’ impact on the environment. Treasurer Andy Cartwright will be “on the case” said Brian!

Despite the savings available with self-install and the ECA scheme, it was encouraging to learn that “the number one factor for buying ClearWater” as Terry put it “was the people I have dealt with and the first class service received. We have built up a good relationship.” People and Service do matter in any business relationship and not everything can be done over the internet either!

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Pitch Vandalised For Third Time

Pitch Vandalised For Third Time: Vandals have driven over the Rew Valley football pitch for the third time since Christmas.

The pitch, at Watcombe Bottom on Whitwell Rd, Ventnor, is home to Rew Valley Youth FC, which has 125 players and many more who train there weekly.

Pitch Vandalised For Third Time

The damage to the grounds has been a devastating blow for the team, which has suffered an expensive season so far with lots of unexpected costs and things needing replacing.

Organisers are now desperately trying to raise funds to erect fencing around the pitches, to prevent them being driven over.

Jess Cutler, youth team secretary, said: “Being repeatedly hit by vandalism is a massive blow.

“We’re entirely run on donations and the children’s subs, which we try to keep as low as possible as we feel sport and being part of a team or club is really important for young people. It not only keeps them fit but teaches them valuable things like respect and how to work together.

“Unfortunately, since Christmas we have been blighted by vandalism. Our pitch was driven on for the third time in so many months. The first two times the damage was caused by a car driving on it.

“We hoped to stop the problem by erecting a chain across the access lane, which seemed to work, but the latest damage was caused by a motorbike which drove through a gap in the fence. We need to enclose the whole pitch.”

The team is hosting a touring club from Herefordshire for the first time soon, and is hoping the pitch will be in good enough condition.

The children are very active in the club’s fundraising efforts and have recently been bag packing, taken part in sponsored events, sold raffle tickets and run stalls at community events.

A crowdfunding page is at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rewvalley A jumble sale has been organised for Saturday, April 14, at Ventnor Baptist Church from 2pm to 4pm. A quiz night is being held at the Mill Bay Inn on Wednesday, April 11.

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Battle Of The Golf Car Batteries

Battle Of The Golf Car Batteries: The discussion about golf car batteries and the benefits of the different types has been taking place for some time now. E-Z-GO is the first major golf car manufacturer to introduce a lithium-ion (li-ion) golf car and experts in the field of battery power share the consensus that li-ion batteries improve the performance and longevity of golf cars compared to traditional lead acid batteries. Consumers have also been quick to adopt the new technology with golf club managers and purse string holders realising that the benefits of li-ion golf cars ultimately outweigh the initial up-front costs.

A recent report by Technavio forecasts that the global golf cart battery market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 5% between 2017-2021. Another report by the market research firm Genpact said the global golf car demand will reach 214,000 units this year and that their installation rate for li-ion batteries will jump drastically from 1 percent last year to 14 percent this year. The li-ion battery installation rate on Korean golf cars has already surpassed 90 percent, according to the same report.

Battle Of The Golf Car Batteries

As aforementioned, E-Z-GO has capitalised on the trend in the market and has taken the lead in this field: “Vendors are expanding their current production capacities for lead-acid batteries. Samsung SDI has a contract with golf car manufacturer, E-Z-GO to supply its cylindrical battery, which is based on the li-ion battery technology.” says Thanikachalam Chandrasekaran, a lead analyst at Technavio for energy storage research.

This collaboration has resulted in the E-Z-GO ELiTE golf car series where the vehicles are powered by hundreds of Samsung SDI lithium cells that are loaded into a single battery pack. The battery pack is controlled by an advanced Battery Management System that monitors efficiency, temperature, state of charge and the health of the batteries.

“The golf course industry is witnessing a transformation, owing to the use of latest technologies. To enhance a golfer’s experience and attract new customers, golf clubs are integrating the latest models of golf cars…” Chandrasekaran says. It is no surprise that clubs are looking to enhance the golfing experience, given the competitive nature of the industry. A golfer will spend approximately 85-90 percent of their time in a golf car in many cases, so it seems that investing in golf cars is key.

Since the introduction of the ELiTE Series in 2017, it has been widely adopted by a range of clubs with vastly differing budgets including Princes Golf Club in Kent, U.K., and Real Club Valderrama in Spain, to name but a few. While clubs are realising the benefits of li-ion technology, there are still obstacles to overcome, and a big one is budget.

The cost of an E-Z-GO ELiTE golf car is approximately 20% dearer than the cost of an equivalent vehicle with a lead acid battery. This may seem like a hefty difference in price, but if you study the long-term financial savings as well as the time saved on maintenance and charging, the former soon becomes the more appealing option.

The benefits of li-ion technology have been broken down in the categories below to fully understand the myriad of benefits and the areas that have the most potential for making significant cost savings.

Weight

A golf car with a li-ion battery has a significantly enhanced power-to-weight ratio. Li-ion batteries are half the size of lead acid batteries and a fraction of the weight. To put a figure on this, a standard li-ion battery in an E-Z-GO ELiTE golf car weighs 23kg, compared to a standard lead-acid battery which weighs around 150kg. This dramatic reduction in weight and size of the battery means that the golf car can reach higher speeds with less effort and carry more weight without the power fading and the performance diminishing.

This huge weight saving allows the lithium-powered car to carry the equivalent of an additional two average-sized adults and their equipment before reaching capacity. This is made possible because lithium batteries maintain the same voltage outputs regardless of the battery’s charge. As a result, the golf car continues to perform after its lead-acid counterpart has shown signs of fatigue. In comparison, lead acid batteries lose voltage output and performance after 70-75 percent of the rated battery capacity is used, which has a negative impact on carrying capacity and the issue is highlighted as the day progresses.

Maintenance

One of the major benefits of li-ion batteries is that they require no maintenance whatsoever as opposed to lead-acid batteries which need regular checks and maintenance. This ultimately results in saved man hours and the extra costs of maintenance tools and products. The lack of lead-acid means that chemical spills are avoided and the chance of downtime on your golf cars is drastically reduced.

However, it is still important to take care of any vehicle or machinery to protect it for years of use. One of the biggest factors when it comes to the wear and tear of golf cars is the weight of them; a heavy vehicle is more of a challenge to drive uphill or on uneven terrain, and can damage turf especially in wet conditions. The reduction in weight when using li-ion batteries protects turf and removes unnecessary stress on brakes and other components on the golf car.

Charging

This is an inevitable part of owning any vehicle powered by electricity. Regardless of the type of battery, electric vehicles still need to be charged. This can be an inconvenience if you do not have a fleet of golf cars or a schedule that allows time for charging in between uses.

Golf cars need to be able to maintain consistent power and speed on a range of terrains. Studies have proven that li-ion batteries are able to provide this consistency, but lead-acid batteries will have a negative impact on the performance of the golf car as the voltage dips.

On average, it takes eight hours to fully recharge a lead-acid battery. However, a li-ion battery can be recharged up to 80 percent its capacity in just one hour, and 100 percent in less than four hours. Another contrast between the two types of battery is that partially charge lead-acid batteries are susceptible to sulfation damage, meaning that if the golf car is charged to less than 100 percent, the life of the battery is significantly reduced. Conversely, li-ion batteries show no adverse effects of being charged less than capacity, meaning that users can “opportunity charge,” plugging vehicles in for quick charging sessions that can rapidly restore significant levels of energy to the battery system, as opposed to the lengthy recharge cycles required by lead-acid batteries.

Golfers will often pay good money to enjoy a round of golf, and in this day and age, it is unacceptable for a golf car to run out of juice half way through a round. Not only can it potentially ruin the golfer’s overall experience, but it drives much needed business away. For this reason, the importance of efficient and long-lasting battery life in golf cars cannot be understated.

Eco-Friendly

The E-Z-GO website states, “Driven by a zero-emissions, greener battery technology, ELiTE vehicles protect the Earth by using less energy.” This statement is supported by the fact that li-ion batteries take significantly less time to fully charge, and the life span of lithium-powered batteries is longer than lead-acid counterparts.

Li-ion batteries do not contain hazardous material, whereas lead-acid batteries, as the name suggests, contain lead which is harmful to the environment. However, both are recyclable which is only a positive thing for the environment.

Many golf clubs now have environmental policies in place, some of which are overseen by the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) and other official bodies. The introduction of li-ion golf cars has given clubs another avenue to enhance environmental sustainability on the golf course in an industry that is always striving to reduce its carbon footprint.

To Conclude

The longevity and performance enhancing capabilities of li-ion batteries somewhat outweighs the initial up-front cost that consumers are faced with. If golf clubs and private users can see beyond this, not only does the investment pay for itself over time, but big savings can be made in the way of reduced energy bills, maintenance costs, and possible repairs that would otherwise need to be made to heavy lead-acid golf cars and any damage to turf that they cause.

Furthermore, in a spate of recent lead-acid battery thefts at a number of golf clubs in the U.K., a li-ion battery is not valuable to thieves in terms of its content or the material it is made from. While it does not combat the underlying issue of criminal activity, it does at least reduce the chances of theft and the financial and legal impact associated with it.

In a market where the trend leans towards lithium technology being the way forward, there will no doubt be more and more manufacturers following in the footsteps of E-Z-GO and its introduction of the ELiTE series.

For more information, visit: ezgo.txtsv.com

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Polaris Extend 0% Finance Offer

Polaris Extend 0% Finance Offer: “A large proportion of our customers have been taking advantage of our 0% finance offer,” says Ben Murray, Polaris’ National Sales Manager, “so we have decided to continue offering interest-free financing on new Polaris Sportsman ATVs, Ranger 4×4 Utility Vehicles, RZRs and Scramblers.”

Originally scheduled to end in March, the 0% finance scheme will now continue running on these 2018 models throughout the year. Provided in conjunction with Rural Finance, the scheme is available over two years with 2 + 22 monthly payments up to a maximum of 80% of the Recommended Retail Price. It’s available for new Polaris utility ATVs, UTVs, and Sport and Leisure vehicles (excluding Youth). Polaris also has one of the widest ranges of accessories available and the 0% finance can include up to £1,000 excluding VAT on genuine Polaris ATV and UTV accessories.

Polaris Extend 0% Finance Offer

The extended finance offer also runs alongside the arrival of new Polaris ATV and UTV additions to the range at Polaris dealers, with a number of other special offers available. Purchase a new Polaris Diesel for example and it comes with free roof and rear panels, so there is another saving to be made. Enjoying a reputation for rugged durability, Polaris ATVs and UTVs come with a two year-warranty and CESAR security as standard for peace of mind.

A visit to a Polaris dealer is recommended for full details, any special deals, and to see the extent of the Polaris range and accessories. The availability of the 0% finance through Rural Finance is subject to status; the offers and warranty are subject to terms and conditions.

Available in the UK, excluding the Republic of Ireland. The finance offer ends on 31st December 2018.  Polaris Britain 0800 915 6720 www.polaris-britain.com

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New Tractor From John Deere

New Tractor From John Deere: John Deere’s new 3038E compact tractor is an economical and versatile machine suitable for a wide range of customers, which includes landscape contractors, groundscare maintenance service providers, sports turf managers, rural property owners and equestrian operations.

The 3038E is equipped with a powerful, emissions-compliant Stage IV diesel engine developing 37.3hp. A hydrostatic transmission with Twin Touch foot pedals provides the operator with simple, comfortable controls to select exactly the right speed for the job at hand.

New Tractor From John Deere

Combined with power assisted steering, the Twin Touch pedals are intuitive and easy to use and enable the operator to maximise productivity. The tractor’s independent pto can be engaged on the go, eliminating the need to stop and use the clutch. The 3038E also features an easy-lift bonnet that provides wide-open access to the engine bay for maintenance.

A new 300E front loader has been designed to complement the 3038E and features a curved boom and durable components. Together with the tractor’s tight turning circle, this offers a highly manoeuvrable combination for materials handling, whether working indoors or outdoors. Four-wheel drive is available as standard for more demanding applications and difficult ground conditions.

The 3038E compact tractor also offers telescoping draft links as a factory or field installed option. This makes attaching and removing rear implements very easy and increases overall performance in the field. This option is compatible with a wide range of implements, including mowers, rear blades and posthole diggers.

“This new tractor is easy to operate, easy to maintain, easy to own and easy to buy,” says Carlos Aragones, John Deere’s European turf segment manager. “No matter what the task, the 3038E compact tractor delivers John Deere quality and reliability at a budget-friendly price.”

For more information, visit: www.johndeere.co.uk

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Etesia Appoint County Machinery

Etesia Appoint County Machinery: Etesia UK has announced the appointment of Country Machinery Ltd, based in Driffield, East Yorkshire as its latest dealer.

Country Machinery, a family run business providing sales, services repairs and parts for all grounds care machinery, has enjoyed rapid growth since its establishment in 2012 – as managing director Karl Terry explains.

Etesia Appoint County Machinery

“Initially I started working for a local dealer and then I came out of the trade for a short period before setting up by myself. I started with a single garage, then went to a triple garage and as of September last year I took the plunge and rented a purpose-built retail unit. Also, last year Thomas Sissions, an agricultural engineer who has worked with Claas, McCormick, Case and New Holland, came in as my business partner.

“We’ve got dealerships with some great brands and the recent Etesia partnership is a sign of how far we have come. Everything is just going in the right direction.”

Karl, having been in the grounds care industry for the majority of his working history, revealed that Etesia is a brand he has been keen on adding to his portfolio for a long time and that a visit to SALTEX last year proved to be the ideal opportunity.

“We met Etesia at SALTEX and I approached Andrew Roberts (northern area sales manager) on the stand and explained that I was keen on adding the Etesia products to our portfolio. Everything just moved on from there.

“I’ve known the Etesia brand for a long time and the whole range of equipment is exceptionally good. They are like Swiss Army Knives – they are so versatile and are built well. The warranty terms are good, so it was a sort of no-brainer because it compliments everything else we have in our portfolio.”

With immediate effect Country Garden Machinery will now be supplying the complete range of Etesia pedestrian and ride-on mowers along with the Attila range of brushcutters and Karl believes that they will be a big hit with his customer base.

“When we first started we were only working in a 15 mile radius but now we are covering a 50 mile radius from base. Word of mouth is spreading in a big way and as well as domestic customers we are mainly covering the high end market where people are making a living from using machines like these. Every model in the Etesia range is ideal for the commercial market and I am confident that the machines will be hugely popular with existing and new potential customers.”

For further information, please contact Etesia UK on 01295 680120 or visit www.etesia.co.uk.

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Woodchippers Bought After Trial

Woodchippers Bought After Trial: Beechwood Trees and Landscapes Ltd has purchased three new Först Woodchippers, after a successful trial that saw the team of arboriculture experts thoroughly impressed with the high level of performance and robust nature of the machines.

Established in 1998, Beechwood is one of the country’s leading arboricultural, fencing and landscaping contractors, and is continuing to show sustainable growth and development. With a team of 30 staff members, the success of the business over the past 20 years has been vast and the company is now recognised as one of the most forward thinking, innovative businesses within the industry.

Woodchippers Bought After Trial

Simon Rotheram, who has been managing director of Beechwood since the company’s inception, explains why he chose to work closely with Först after using woodchippers for more than two decades.

He said: “The majority of our work consists of site clearances and sectional take downs with housing associations and local councils, so it’s vitally important that we utilise a woodchipper fleet that can tackle any job, whilst also keeping maintenance and service to a minimum. In our industry, time literally is money, so we can’t afford any machinery downtime or lack of performance.

“To make sure we maintain our high standards, we carry out a rigorous maintenance programme that sees us review all of our machinery fleet every 3-4 years to ensure we are utilising the best and latest equipment. Over the past 20 years we have generally stuck to what we know when it comes to woodchippers, but on this occasion Först kindly agreed to lend us an ST6 and ST8 machine for a week and we were curious to see how they matched up against our current fleet.

“We put both woodchippers straight to work and the feedback I received from my team of operators out in the field was great. In addition to the impressive productivity of the machines, the woodchippers are also light and mobile, which makes transportation and completion of jobs in difficult to reach locations very simple.

“Outside the operation of the woodchippers, the Först machines also come with a three year warranty, which is a great asset to our business as these woodchippers really are put through their paces. In addition, our local Först service partner is just down the road to cover any minor mishaps, so the service and aftersales care Först can offer is second to none. When you combine all of this, the decision to move across to Först really was a no brainer and we purchased three ST6 machines as soon as we could.”

With the investment in Först woodchippers made, Simon can only see the working relationship with the manufacturer growing stronger moving forward.

Simon concluded: “We are very excited about working with Först. Although it’s still early days, the service support we have received from the manufacturer in such a short period of time, as well as the performance of the woodchippers, is something I have been really impressed with and this enables the team and I to simply focus on the job at hand.”

For more information on Först’s high performance range of woodchippers, or to book a demonstration, visit www.forst-woodchippers.com or call 01264 721790.

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