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Ranger EV continues to serve Cannon Hall

Ranger EV continues to serve Cannon Hall: Six months on from the delivery of the Ranger EV to Cannon Hall Farm, Farmers Robert and David and dad Roger are utilising all aspects of their new electric utility vehicle…

Featuring on Channel 5’s Friday on the Farm back in October, the Ranger EV has since become a regular guest star on the show, and behind the scenes too, helping with day-to-day farm life.

Ranger EV continues to serve Cannon Hall

Ranger EV continues to serve Cannon Hall

Robert Nicholson, from Cannon Hall Farm, said: “We’ve been really pleasantly surprised by the versatility of the Ranger and it is used every single day around the farm for various tasks. It surprised us by how brilliantly it handled off-road, it is really good in wet conditions and it makes life so much easier for us as it means we can get anywhere on the land without having any problems.”

At just 147cm wide, the Ranger EV is the perfect utility vehicle for fitting through gates and storing inside a barn or garage. Not only that, its smooth, silent motor means it will not spook any animals whilst in operation.

“We’ve used it way more than we thought we would because it is so adaptable – we have even got a tow bar on it now,” continued Robert. “It is used regularly for transporting animals, for training Pip and for checking the stock in our 125 acres of land. It’s been particularly useful in the snow if we’ve needed to bring any animals back to the farm. We’ve even used it to help Farmer David’s fitness regime – he wasn’t quite ready to pull a lorry so the Ranger EV was perfect.”

The Ranger EV has a 680kg towing capacity, along with 227kg bed box capacity for hauling things like animal feed and tools. Cannon Hall Farm’s Ranger EV has been fitted with a livestock canopy from TFM Engineering, which optimises the cargo bed for carrying livestock and for Cannon Hall Farm’s dog, Pip.

Given to Roger as a late birthday present last year, Cannon Hall Farm’s Ranger EV is well suited as an access-all-areas vehicle around the land with its on-demand all-wheel-drive technology to give it more forward traction when needed – especially helpful in muddy or slippery conditions – as well as ample space in the cab so Roger can easily get in and out.

Spot the Ranger EV on the latest season of This Week on the Farm on Channel 5, and catch up on-demand on My5.tv.

#FridayOnTheFarm

#ThisWeekOnTheFarm

To see Cannon Hall Farm’s latest adventures with their new Polaris Ranger EV, follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube.

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Witham Hall invest in Rotobrush

Witham Hall invests in a Rotobrush: Home to full sized Astroturf, grass cricket wicket, a nine-hole golf course and an all-weather wicket, there was no better match than the GKB Rotobrush for Witham Hall Preparatory School.

Alex Exton, Groundsman at Witham Hall Preparatory School explains that the GKB Rotobrush perfectly fits their needs. “It is a compact and efficient machine that it is perfect for what I wanted it for.” He continues, “This machine was affordable to which was a big appeal. It’s rare you can get such an impressive machine for such a great price.”

Witham Hall invests in a Rotobrush

Witham Hall invests in a Rotobrush

As your synthetic sport pitches get used, dirt becomes apparent. From moss and algae to general wear and tear, this ultimately can affect the technical characteristics and authentic appearance of the turf. The GKB Rotobrush restores this by tackling persistent contamination. Alex explains, “We use our GKB Rotorbrush to clean our Astro. Due to the size of our grounds it can take a while however this machine is the best of the best!”

The GKB Rotobrush enables you to brush deeper and more effectively where needed. Thanks to the rotating brush disc that is provided with extra rigid bristles, your artificial pitch maintenance can be taken to the next level. When the functioning of normal brushing and cleaning stops, the GKB Rotobrush continues. Alex Exton said “The GKB Rotobrush gets so close to the edges of the Astroturf, especially where the carpet meets the fence kickboard and also on the artificial for the cricket.”

For more on GKB Machines and their reliable and robust range of machinery for natural, hybrid and synthetic turf, please visit www.gkbmachines.com or contact Tom Shinkins on 07495 883617.

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Makita Pruning Shears A Success At New Hall

Makita Pruning Shears A Success At New Hall: On the serene, undulating grounds of New Hall Vineyard in Essex, Makita’s new cordless 36V LXT backpack pruning shears are making light work of the annual seasonal prune.  Spur pruning is an essential requirement carried out on the estate by a team of professional stewards who are involved in every aspect of the vineyards planting, maintenance and harvesting routines.  The process of pruning is essential to the quality of the harvested grapes and at New Hall the routine is assisted with the use of cordless, battery operated pruners throughout January and February each year.

New Hall, a family run business, has been open since the late 60’s and excels in producing award-winning wines.  Vintners Andy and Lucy Hares have managed the 150 acre vineyard for the last four years.  It is now one of the largest and oldest first established commercial vineyards in the UK and referred to by many as ‘a hidden gem’.  New Hall has also taken The Winemaker of the Year Award several times.

Makita Pruning Shears A Success At New Hall

The new Makita Twin 18V LXT pruning shear, the DUP361ZN, provides 36V of power and features a 2-stage blade opening adjustment which varies according to the size of the branch.  The shear has a maximum cutting capacity of 33mm and a maximum blade opening of 54mm.  The blade can be interlocked with the trigger providing smooth blade movement similar to that of a hand pruner.  A newly designed slim backpack harness provides comfort, while an arm band and cord holder prevents the connection cord from dangling around the operator’s body and from getting caught on branches.

“Operator safety is of great importance to us and many of our stewards have been with us a very long time,” says Andy Hares.  “Our team have a demanding 8-hour day, regardless of weather, so it is essential that the kit they are using is both comfortable and safe while at the same time offering high cutting efficiency.”

Two Makita 18V Lithium-Ion batteries, housed in the water resistant backpack harness that fits neatly into the small of the back, supply energy to the powerful 36V DC motor drive and work in series.   The DUP361ZN shear features an electronic current limiter for overload protection, a motor protection circuit and a twin LED battery fuel gauge clearly positioned on the switch box.

“The weight distribution of the harness is particularly comfortable and secure, and wide padded shoulder straps provide good support,” says senior steward Mary who has been at New Hall for over 25 years, “The hand grip of the shear contours nicely in my hand and feels lighter than others we have used.  And its size allows you to cut closer to the crown of the vine so it is really quite flexible.”

Using two 5.0Ah Li-Ion batteries a run time of three working days is delivered although branches and growth of wider diameter can reduce this slightly.  The charge time of a 5.0 Ah battery using a Makita fast charger is 45 minutes and Makita’s intelligent battery technology heightens charge retention.  This model has a net weight of 3.3kg, has low sound and low vibration levels.

New Hall, who contract-makes for other vineyards, has an output of 150,000 bottles of still wine annually while some 75,000 bottles of sparkling wine are made in the traditional method requiring two years maturing in the bottle.  In hot summers, such as that of 2018, yields are significantly higher and some grapes are sold to other vineyards.  New Hall excels in customer relations with Summer and Christmas festivals, tastings, tours, trials and Limited Edition celebrations.   New Hall’s new book: ‘A History of the Vineyard’ will be published in June 2019.

This Makita body only machine comes with oil supply, wrench, diamond file and shear blade set and is packaged in a robust and weatherproof Makita tool bag.

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Rigby Taylor Renews Life At Lees Hall GC

Rigby Taylor Renews Life At Lees Hall GC: When joining 18-hole Lees Hall Golf Club in 2016, Ian Whitehead knew that simply by applying common sense greenkeeping practices – coupled with the right amenity products – he would be able to make a difference. The badly-presented, badly-playing course was effectively “playing second fiddle to the club’s social/bar facilities” and members were drifting away.

Today, part-way through what Ian reckons could be a ten-year programme of improvements to the course, there is a massive turnaround with ‘lost’ members returning and new ones joining – to the extent that over 100 new members have signed up during the past year.

Rigby Taylor Renews Life At Lees Hall GC

With more than 30 years’ experience of greenkeeping in the Sheffield area, starting on a YTS course at Hallamshire GC, then at Stocksbridge GC before moving to Hillsborough GC as head greenkeeper aged 24 – plus having Levels 2 and 3 accreditations in greenkeeping and Level 3 in management – 48-year-old Ian joined the Sheffield-based club “when the greens chairman wanted someone to help out the greens staff”.

Ian picks up the story: “I immediately saw that with a bit of TLC the course (tees, greens and fairways) could be turned around. So, within a few weeks, I had borrowed the appropriate machinery and I set about double cutting and getting some stripes in. I also instigated a regime of regular scarification and aeration (we’re on clay), and applied fertilsers and topdressing – a normal regime!

“In fact, we’ve applied a lot of topdressing – 80 tonnes last year and more than 100 tonnes this year – and we now also regularly Shockwave and slit the fairways.

“The first thing I did was to double-cut the 1st and 17th tees down to 10 mm – the tees that are in view when you arrive at the course. First impressions count!”

Andy Rossington, the club’s resident professional, and the greens committee could immediately see that what Ian was doing was working and they were very supportive by for example, investing in a number of new machines “that have made a big difference, including new mowers for the tees, greens and semi-rough areas”.

As a result, Ian was appointed head greenkeeper four months later, in November 2016. “That gave me a full winter to get everything organised and ‘tidied up’ ready for the new season. We’re now in the second season and we’re getting there!”

Support was not only forthcoming from the greens committee and Andy. Over a number of years Ian has worked with Rigby Taylor’s Technical Representative Mike Brear, who had put together programmes of treatments to benefit the courses Ian had worked on.

Rigby Taylor Renews Life At Lees Hall GC

“To an extent, I simply followed that programme here,” says Ian. “But these were old push-up greens and I didn’t want to ‘open them up’ too soon and too quickly, so I took a measured approach during the first season, waiting until the course looked a bit ‘tired’. Also, being north facing, this parkland course battles all the elements and in the spring suffers relatively slow growth rates.

Now, Ian applies his full Rigby Taylor programme, and he particularly highlights the Breaker Biolinks wetting agent which is applied six times a year as an indispensable product for Dry Patch prevention and root generation.

With an annual overseed of Rigby Taylor’s R105 Browntop bent blend, the current programme includes regular (twice a year, in April and September) use of Microlite micro-granular fertiliser, plus Microflow controlled-release liquid fertiliser in May, June and July, along with applications of Magnet Rapide liquid iron and Magnet Dynamic (turf colour enhancers, twice and once, respectively), Maintain NT plant growth regulator for dense swarf and improved root mass (seven times a year), K-Form potassium supplement (five times) and the Spike ‘tournament preparation’ mixture of potassium and silica (twice).

“These products have never let me down in the past,” adds Ian, “and I see no reason why they will now.”

He concludes: “There’s still a lot to do, especially with thatch levels on the greens and approaches, as well as work to the bunkers and the drainage, plus to the trees that shade many of the greens and tees. I think the approaches alone will take three to four years to get them where I want them. But I’m already seeing massive improvements in the fairways (through slitting).

“My goal is to make this the leading golf club in Sheffield, and with the backing of the committee and the members plus the continued technical support from Rigby Taylor, there is no reason why this can’t be the case.”

The last word is with Andy Rossington, the resident pro: “It’s no exaggeration to say that before Ian’s input, the first green here resembled the moon – it was desperate! But news of the improvements to the course has travelled, as is reflected in the boost to membership.

“Importantly, too, the greenkeeping team as a whole can now be proud of what they are achieving. Everyone here agrees with that, especially the golfers.”

Duncan Ross At Hurlston Hall

Duncan Ross At Hurlston Hall: The condition of a golf courses greens is what a head greenkeeper is often judged on, and Duncan Ross’ surgical precision has ensured they are the go to contractor for Hurlston Hall Golf Club.

The completion of the latest two greens are the latest in a project that has seen nine completed. For Chris Ball, former head greenkeeper at Hurlston Hall who recently took up the role as links manager at Hillside Golf Club, working with Duncan Ross on a long-term drainage project generated a refined understanding whilst solving the clubs’ problem greens.

Duncan Ross At Hurlston Hall

“For us they are a local company and when you factor in getting other companies in from the North West of England there’s not many specialising in drainage.” Chris said. “I think Duncan has refined his methods over the years and it’s almost like key hole surgery.

“We’d done seven greens previously with Duncan and we’ve been going around the course targeting the nine worst and the ones that have just been completed were the last two that were screaming out to be done.

“You can immediately see the difference in the greens, but you’ve still got to do your bit as a greenkeeper and maintain the organic matter.

“I can’t fault the work they do, and the fact now is that he knows what he’s doing, and we now know what he wants to do beforehand and that’s key. The first year everyone was still learning, we put holes in the greens for aeration but this would slow them down as when it came to taking the Turf up it would fall apart, and now we know not to do anything when Duncan is coming in because it makes it more efficient for them and prevents adding time onto the project.”

Having gone through the process of getting to know how one another works the other aspects of being able to use a local contractor have become more prominent. All of the materials used on the project are locally sourced, which keeps costs down with no compromise on quality.

And when it comes to drainage quality is paramount. Like everyone else, Chris was under pressure to have the course open, but because of the weather in the North East of England his focus was primarily on providing the best greens possible during the peak golf season.

“They all perform great in the summer which is key,” he said. “I’d say they’ve improved play in the winter if we have a normal winter, but what’s happening now is the greens are drier than the rest of the course and people still can’t play because the rest of the course is under water.

“We’ve definitely got better performing greens for longer but in the North West of England it’s seriously wet. But when it does stop raining they dry out a lot quicker and you know you can withstand the torrential down pours in the summer because the drains are going to take care of it.”

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

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New Toro Deal At Moor Hall

New Toro Deal At Moor Hall: The latest fleet of machinery at Moor Hall Golf Club has been curated to bring the club the latest technological developments, tackle particular environmental considerations and make specific improvements.

Course manager Wayne Ganning at the club based in Sutton Coldfield created a wish list and with the help of Reesink Turfcare and dealer Redtech Machinery now has a fleet he can rely on to produce results, make savings and implement a more responsible course management programme.

New Toro Deal At Moor Hall

The fleet features two of Toro’s latest UK launches – the brand new GreensPro 1260 and the GeoLink Precision Spray System, the industry’s first turf-based spray system – and 15 greens, tees and roughs mowers, top dressers, aerators and UTVs vehicles.

Wayne says: “Despite being a 100 percent Toro club, this is actually the first fleet we’ve brought in. Our machinery replacement programme for the last decade has seen us bring in a couple of new machines a year, but this year I presented my colleagues Jon Lewis at Reesink and Graham Hall at Redtech with plan of what I wanted to achieve with the course and they pulled out all of the stops to make sure I got what I needed.”

In opting for the GeoLink, Moor Hall was one of the first clubs in the country to reap the benefits of precision spraying. GPS technology and a single nozzle level control means application is accurate to within 10mm. The system automatically turns individual sprinklers on and off based on the machine’s exact location and the boundaries set, and thus virtually eliminates waste. Wayne says of this decision: “We are making a concerted effort to be more environmentally friendly in our approach to course management. The GeoLink is a fantastic and effective way to do this. Not only do we make a difference to the amount of chemicals we’re putting on the ground, but there are significant savings to be made when there is far less wastage.”

Among the many technological improvements in the GreensPro 1260 is a hydraulic drive system. This replaces the hydro and chain drive and eliminates leaks and potential contamination of the grass as well as reducing the amount of maintenance required with chain drive systems. Wayne says this is already proving to be “more reliable and easier for the team to use”.

As for the rest of the fleet, the Groundsmaster 4700-D is cutting the roughs with two more units than the club’s previous mower and that’s making a big difference in terms of productivity, while the SandPro 5040 has won Wayne the thanks of the six-strong greenkeeping team: “The extra hydraulics on the front of the machine is making a huge impact on raking especially in inclement weather. It’s certainly saving our backs!”

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Lees Hall The Latest Golf Club To Purchase Ventrac 4500

Lees Hall In Sheffield Is The Latest Golf Club To Purchase A Ventrac 4500: Lees Hall Golf Club is the latest purchaser of a Ventrac 4500 compact tractor and attachments. Situated three miles south of Sheffield, it was designed by Alex Herd, the Open Champion of 1902, and opened in 1907 as a 9-hole course. It was remodelled to 18-holes in 1911 creating a 6,171 yard, par 71 parkland course with commanding views over the city.

Ian Whitehead is the Head Greenkeeper and heads a team of four dedicated greenkeepers. He has been in the job for 16 months, having previously been Course Manager at Hillsborough Golf Club for 23 years.

Lees Hall The Latest Golf Club To Purchase Ventrac 4500

 

“I’m really lucky to have a very supportive committee with the president and greens chairman putting their trust in me and providing the funds to help with my suggested improvement programme. It’s no secret that the course has been in decline for some years, but I see this as a challenge. We’ve implemented some immediate improvements and the members are making the right comments. We have upgraded various machines including a greens mower, tees mower and a greens iron.

“However, the purchase of the Ventrac 4500 from local dealer, Russells Groundcare, has been the real bonus. It’s a powerful, multi-purpose compact tractor on which you put many attachments. Glen Sawyer of Russells recommended it to me and I trust his judgement. We had a demonstration and it was a no-brainer; we had to have it. We had intensive operator training when it was delivered so everyone can get the maximum out of it.

“Like other recent purchasers of Ventrac, I was sceptical when I first saw the machine, it’s a bit quirky, but once you’ve sat on it you realise it’s a powerful and versatile tractor, very smooth to drive and the articulating Contour mower deck leaves a great finish. Its hill climbing is excellent and that’s a prime consideration here.

“We’re already looking at other attachments as we prepare our 2018 budget. There’s so much that this single machine can do with its selection of accessories which include a Tough Cut deck, Stump Grinder, Edger, Blower and more. I’m really excited about this machine and the challenge ahead; the perception of the club is already changing in the local area and membership is moving in the right direction. Good greenkeeping practices and the equipment to carry them out are essential. With the continued support of the club, we’ll get there.

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