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New Infinicut Territory Sales Manager

New Infinicut Territory Sales Manager: Stephen Shaw has been announced as the new Territory Sales Manager for the INFINICUT® and TMSystem™ product ranges.

A well-known industry face, Stephen returns to the UK after spending the last 10 years of his career in Qatar, to support the continued growth of the collections, in use at leading golf venues and sports stadia worldwide.

New Infinicut Territory Sales Manager

New Infinicut Territory Sales Manager

In Qatar, Stephen worked at a main Toro dealership and Doha Golf Club, before taking on the role of Machinery Division Manager at Nakheel Landscapes which is where, over the last three years, he worked alongside John Coleman of INFINICUT® to spec machinery for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. When travel restrictions came into force earlier in the year, Stephen returned to his roots in Northumberland and the opportunity arose to use his acquired knowledge to support to dealers and customers across the North of England, Scotland and Ireland – along with spearheading exports and the construction of a worldwide dealer network.

“Joining the INFINICUT® team is hugely exciting” comments Stephen. “It is a quality British-built product, driven by technology that demonstrates a real understanding of what is required by today’s turf care professionals. It quickly became evident to me, working together with John and the INFINICUT® product, that this range is very much the future of the mower industry. Their engineering prowess continues across the multi-functional TMSystem™ collection, which delivers versatility, durability and precision to a wide variety of turf maintenance activities.”

Although Stephen only joined in the middle of September, he has already utilised his many international connections to remotely establish dealers in India, Thailand and South Korea and he looks forward to supporting these, and others, with product and sales training as and when travel restrictions ease.

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New Automower® offers productivity and flexibility

New Automower® offers productivity and flexibility: Last year, Husqvarna announced its new virtual boundary technology EPOS and that the company was going to pilot test it on selected markets. After successful testing during the spring and summer, the first ever Husqvarna robotic mower with virtual boundary technology, Husqvarna Automower® 550 EPOS, will now be launched.

Husqvarna – global leader in robotic lawnmowing – is now, after months of thorough testing internally and with customers, launching the new high capacity Husqvarna Automower® 550 EPOS robotic mower. Its satellite-based virtual boundary solution offers new levels of flexibility, convenience and performance for areas up to 5,000 m2.

New Automower® offers productivity and flexibility

New Automower® offers productivity and flexibility

The pilot of the Husqvarna Automower® 550 EPOS robotic mower with virtual boundary technology included 100 robotic mowers in four countries. It was, for example, tested at Royal Djurgården in Stockholm, the Ullevi Stadium in Göteborg, Munich Airport, La Seine Musicale in Paris and at a baseball stadium in New York.

Gunnar Björkman, Park Manager at Royal Djurgården, a park with more than 15 million visitors each year, tested the Husqvarna Automower® 550 EPOS robotic mower during the spring and summer. He said: “The main benefits we saw from testing the Husqvarna 550 EPOS robotic mower was the easy installation and the flexible area management which allowed us to create temporary stay out zones when lawns were being used for events or closed off for other reasons. With robotics using virtual boundaries we can use robotics for 75% of our mowing, compared to 25% previously.”

At the “Planten un Blomen” park in Hamburg, a Husqvarna Automower® 550 EPOS robotic mower was installed in collaboration with Elbgarden OHG on a demanding public area of 1,200 m2. The test area is located in direct connection to a footpath and an artificial lake, where events such as the music-accompanied water light games take place. Matthias Olinski, head of the “Planten un Blomen” park in Hamburg, was impressed by the performance and flexibility of Husqvarna Automower® 550 EPOS.

He said: “It offers many advantages over conventional mowing technology, especially in terms of flexibility. We no longer have to plan whether we have enough staff for mowing. This offers more time for other work like grooming or bed care. Via the app, we can manage when the robotic lawnmower should run or pause. During organised events, for example, we can easily adapt the mowing work to the respective situation – very practical and user-friendly.”

Husqvarna’s virtual boundary EPOS technology is a high-precision satellite navigation system that delivers an accuracy of 2-3 centimetres, giving the user a new level of flexibility and offers a robust and flexible installation on areas with an open sky.  The virtual boundaries also enable aerating and scarifying without breaking physical wires and the user can change boundaries and transport paths from their phone. With the Precise Area Management feature, several work areas can be defined with different timers and settings, including cutting height. It also makes it possible to create temporary stay out zones.

Kevin Ashmore, UK Manager of Husqvarna Professional commented: “We are extremely proud to bring the new Husqvarna Automower® 550 EPOS robotic mower to the market. Utilising Husqvarna’s EPOS technology, it offers a sustainable and cost-efficient solution that simplifies maintaining large green spaces. Being battery powered it emits no fumes and the light weight of the mower and low electric energy consumption reduce its carbon footprint.”

Operating with low noise levels, it is suitable for environments that require some degree of noise control – for example at golf courses, football stadiums or in urban areas such as city parks. For a convenient user interaction, as well as easy maintenance and handling, it is possible to monitor and control Husqvarna Automower® 550 EPOS through the Automower® Connect and Husqvarna Fleet Services™ apps.

Husqvarna Automower® 550 EPOS will be available from May 2021 and costs £5,199 inc. VAT for the unit and £1,099 inc. VAT for the reference station. The reference station can serve multiple machines.

For more information, visit the Husqvarna website: https://www.husqvarna.com/uk/lawn-garden/professional/professional-robotic-mowers/epos/

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Embracing new technology

Embracing new technology: One silver lining among the heartache of the pandemic is an acceleration in the adoption of new – and better – ways of working…

Craig Earnshaw, Course Manager at Harleyford GC, in Buckinghamshire, is a man on a mission and has been fast to embrace the modern approach to managing, communicating and training that today’s advancing technology can offer.

Embracing new technology

Embracing new technology

Communicating daily tasks to the team was always a fundamental activity practised by Craig, but he felt that this could not only be improved but made more relevant in the digital age where everyone has a mobile phone and many have tablets.

Craig’s aim was never to replace the daily verbal brief, however, when looking at digital software systems and what they can offer, the digital whiteboard aspect and the power of reporting and communicating remotely was an area of significant interest.

Having looked at various options, Craig decided TurfKeeper offered exactly what he was looking for and saw that the system offered a major leap forward in complementing what he was doing on a verbal, face-to-face or messaging on a whiteboard basis.

On a more personal note, Craig explained that the system has helped his communication as he is dyslexic and no longer had to rely on his deputy to write up his instructions on the white board.

“This harnessing of digital technology benefits me as a manager, my team and therefore ultimately the club.”

To start with, a large screen TV was installed in the clubs new maintenance facility and with the use of the digital whiteboard feature the day’s preplan activity can be done online and displayed. This is then is keyed into the system and displayed on the TV so the whole team can see what has been assigned; any key notes, machinery and stock to be used is also displayed as well as the weather forecast and such important direction of cut details for any area are to mowed.

A key to success of this system has been the staff ‘buy in’ and them seeing the benefits beyond the traditional whiteboard and pen,” said Craig.

“It also offers the ability to view the tasks out on the course via the phone and this has not just increased efficiency and productivity, but has been a real game changer during the Covid-19 crisis,” he added.

“Using the TurfKeeper system, we have been able to plan and communicate from a far. The team can log onto the system and know what task or activity is required even before they arrive at work, in some cases even before they leave home!”

Avoiding close contact during this pandemic is a must and by utilising modern technology such as this, the team has been able to work around it.

“If I am out on the course and forget to add anything or maybe a new task has cropped up, the web-based TurfKeeper technology allows the inputting of a task via the phone and have it appear on everyone else’s, including also the jobs board.”

Embracing new technology

Embracing new technology

The TurfKeeper ethos is directed towards the modern, digital, web-based way of planning, recording and communicating. There is nothing wrong with a paper diary and handwriting, but when you need quick fire information to fan out the flames, the digital approach delivers with speed and ease.

Take for example the preCovid-19 situation. Seven staff members working 40 hours per week at a total of 280 hours.

In a usual year, bunkers need daily raking, greens rolled 2-3 times per week, empting bins, ball washer and moving tee blocks prior to cutting and all that jazz,” said Craig.

“And oh yes… of course… working around the golf! When all the aforementioned is factored in, this takes a huge amount of time, and hence the good reason why we need all the staff.

“Now cue Furlough… no need to cut daily, certainly minimal to zero rolling or bunker raking. No course furniture to move or service in the way of bins and ball washers, and oh yes… no golfers. Never have courses been easier to maintain in terms of bare minimum and cutting. No golf to work around, so less waiting time and the result… cutting the time in half it usually takes to mow most of the areas.

Cue now to the inquisitions… do we need that many staff members? Course looks good to me and there is only three of you. what did you do with all those labour hours before?

“These are not unreasonable question to be fair. We are lucky in the fact that staff numbers have not been brought into question. I did get asked how come we can get everything cut with only three staff but it was a light hearted comment. Nonetheless, that is where the advent of modern technology plays it part. Unlike a traditional paper diary, I can just enter a date range, click a button and the data instantly; all the labour hours, costs, effort, stock used etc. Looking through the reports, I can balance off last year v this year and communicate to the board exactly where all of the hours go, as the reports detail every last task. It’s very clear to see how long bunkers took this year v last year or even identify work that hasn’t needed to be done. It really helps to hammer home the facts,” he explained.

“So, to sum it all up, it’s quite simple for me. I rely heavily on irrigation software system, digital moisture meters and various other technological tools to monitor surface performance, so why not also other aspect of the job?

“TurfKeeper allows me to extend the technological side of management and communication but in addition, the planning, budgeting, stock control, machinery maintenance and reporting. Such a system is a valuable asset and working example of the technology we should all be embracing in the modern age in which we now operate.”

The greenkeeping team at Harleyford Golf Club in Buckinghamshire won the 2019 BIGGA Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year award for its work in preparing the course for The Matchroom Sport Championship.

TurfKeeper is a web-based management system that provides turf industry professionals a fully integrated operations and management solution. Designed by turf industry professionals, the system, in a completely personalised, single environment, provides complete control over and insight into staff management, task planning, machinery management, inventory control, chemical applications planning and recording, and budgeting and expense management.

With detailed reporting on all areas readily available, and a resource library provision, the system becomes the home of all turf management planning, actions, and facility history.

New analysis unlocks soil health

New analysis unlocks soil health: New soil testing from Eurofins Agro will help farmers and agronomists understand soil in a more detailed way than ever before. The tests have been launched in the UK and Ireland to provide chemical, physical, and biological insight, offering farmers a better way to monitor, manage and improve the health and fertility of their soil.

“Three new products are now available to UK and Irish agriculture. Fertilisation Manager®, Soil Crop Monitor® and Soil Life Monitor® offer the most comprehensive way to analyse and improve soil health,” explains Dan Robinson, Managing Director, Eurofins Agro UK.

New analysis unlocks soil health

New analysis unlocks soil health

Fertilisation Manager measures soil fertility. “This includes the chemical values of macro and micronutrients,” says Mr Robinson. “Soil pH and the overall structure of the soil is also analysed in conjunction with biological components such as fungi and bacteria,” he adds.

The microbial biomass from the sample will help farmers to understand the sensitivity of the soil to conventional farming methods such as ploughing. The number and nature of the bacteria present in a soil sample will also facilitate the accurate calculation of what nutrients need to be added to the soil to optimise plant health and growth.

Soil Crop Monitor will provide the most accurate means of testing soil during a growing season. “Unlike some tests, Soil Crop Monitor analyses both the soil and the plant. This measures the plant available nutrients and the nutrients absorbed by the crop,” says Mr Robinson.

Soil Life Monitor determines the total microbial biomass, fungi, bacteria and protozoa. It also identifies some physical characteristics such as pH and the quality of organic matter. “PLFA (phospholipid fatty acids) found in soil can be measured to provide a fingerprint of the soil content. PLFAs are degraded quickly in the soil, so the analysis gives an indication of the amount of living biomass,” says Mr Robinson. “This is the most detailed routine analysis of soil life available and has countless applications for agriculture. We are therefore excited to make all of these tests available to farmers and growers across the UK and Ireland” he adds.

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GGM announce new Roberine partnership

GGM announce new Roberine partnership: GGM Groundscare are delighted to announce a new partnership with Roberine, the world class Dutch manufacturer of self-propelling mowing machines.

GGM has a rich heritage in the ride on commercial mower sector and as the business prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary at its headquarters in Colne, Lancashire, the move sees it return to its roots.

GGM announce new Roberine partnership

GGM announce new Roberine partnership

Managing Director Chris Gibson explains more:

“When the business was relocated to Colne back in 2000, we were suppliers of Kubota and Hayter Professional, which was subsequently bought out by Toro. We described the brands as the right and left legs of the business – the absolute cornerstones of everything we did. Over time, we’ve explored and been extremely successful in other sectors. Now, through Roberine, we have found the perfect partner, at the forefront of the development of commercial mowing machines for local authorities and commercial landscapers”.

GGM takes on the franchise from the 1st May and becomes the supplier across the North West region as well as South and West Yorkshire for these high-quality products. The range includes the NEW High-performance ride on flail mowers in 3 and 5 unit configuration in addition to the traditional cylinder options.

Roberine were recently purchased by the multi-billion-dollar Alamo Group, world leaders in the design, manufacture, distribution and service of high-quality equipment for infrastructure and maintenance. Their business empire includes McConnel, Bomford and Spearhead among other big names in the UK. This new partnership will complement and enhance our existing franchises of Kubota, Amazone, Major and Baroness and ensures the company can offer customers a greater choice of commercial equipment, supported by awarding winning after sales and service

Managing Director Chris Gibson explains more: “We are extremely excited about adding the Roberine franchise to our portfolio, offering our customers the new generation of ride on commercial flail mowers. It is the perfect addition as we continue to grow in the commercial sectors”.

The new partnership comes after initial discussions at last year’s Saltex, when GGM learnt of Roberines’ desire to develop its UK commercial business which would ultimately prove to be mutually beneficial. The GGM team explained their business ethos and strategy and they were confident they could substantially grow the business across the North West of England and West and South Yorkshire, thanks to their experience in the commercial mowing sector. As part of this agreement GGM will take over the responsibility for the continued service and warranty of all machines supplied by the former dealers.

GGM have already added the Roberine F3 triple flail to its ever-expanding hire fleet and have several units already working in the marketplace with two local authorities, and have recently taken delivery of new F3 triple and F5 high output 5-unit flail demonstration machines.

Chris Gibson continues:

“We believe the machines offer a superior quality of cut and performance advantages over other machines on the market and we’ve already been investing in training our after-sales team and parts inventory to ensure all Roberine customers both old and new receive the award winning service GGM customers have become used to.”

“Roberine is a long-established brand and it’s history of success mirrors that of GGM Groundscare as we celebrate our 20th year at our head office in Colne. We are both committed to delivering outstanding customer service, fixed price service contracts, extended warranty packages and looking forward to demonstrating this to all our local authority and commercial customers across the region

Maarten Ponne at Roberine said,

We are delighted to have GGM Groundscare on board to represent the Roberine brand. Changing dealership representation is never an easy decision but we believe that, in GGM, we have a partner with a clear shared vision of how best to support our brand throughout the region. They have a proven track record for working closely with commercial customers and are keen to continue to invest and develop their business even in these challenging times. The appointment of GGM follows that of Lister Wilder in the South and both appointments demonstrate our commitment to grow a professional dealer network with a proven track record for customer service and support.

For now, it’s important we all stay safe, but we will continue to work in the background to develop our dealer network and work with all our partners to ensure we are ready to grow our business in the UK as soon as we are able to do so.   Our products have been engineered with optimum performance in every respect, and our manufacturing method is world class.”

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NEW Fertilizer From ICL

NEW Fertilizer From ICL: ICL has announced the launch of SierraformGT CalMag into the UK & Ireland market.

New for 2020, SierraformGT CalMag is a homogenous slow release fertilizer supplying calcium, magnesium and trace elements for turf growth and all-round plant health.

NEW Fertilizer From ICL

NEW Fertilizer From ICL

The product is ideal for fine turf or stadia pitch application through the late spring, summer and early autumn. The nitrogen content is mostly slow release (MU) based to create a sustained release and steady even growth. The new analysis also contains the mineral polyhalite to supply potassium, calcium and magnesium when these are indicated as required from soil testing.  The added SeaMax (soluble seaweed concentrate) in the formulation aims to bring benefits from plant rooting and stress tolerance.

Ed Carter, UK Sales & Development Manager is delighted with this new addition to the SierraformGT range:

“I am delighted that we are launching this new analysis through our dealer network in 2020. The nutrient analysis will really suit both golf course and stadia managers and the addition of SeaMax is a real benefit. Our formulation team have worked hard to create a nitrogen release pattern that will maintain consistently healthy growth through the duration of its 8-week release period. In my opinion this is an outstanding addition to our SierraformGT range.”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

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New Etesia dealer in Northern Ireland

New Etesia dealer in Northern Ireland: Etesia UK has announced the appointment of RD Mechanical Services, who will be distributing the full product range throughout various areas in Northern Ireland.

Specialists in manufacturing high quality grass cutting machinery for both the professional and domestic market, Etesia’s extensive range of products have been in consistent high demand for a number of years. It is for this reason that the company’s vast dealer network continues to grow. From the UK to Ireland, Etesia dealers are providing their customers with innovative solutions for their green space requirements.

New Etesia dealer in Northern Ireland

New Etesia dealer in Northern Ireland

RD Mechanical Services, based in Belfast, was established in 1998 and specialise in equipment related to the waste industry. In 2019 the company opened a dedicated division for grass and grounds equipment. Since then, the company has been building its portfolio to assist plans in offering a complete service to its groundcare customers.

With immediate effect, RD Mechanical Services will now supply the full range of Etesia grounds care equipment, which includes ride-on mowers, scarifiers, brush cutters, green technology and pedestrian mowers.

Commenting on the new Etesia dealership status, sales director Alastair Calderwood, said: “We are delighted to have recently been appointed as distributors for the widely respected Etesia range of grass and grounds maintenance equipment.

“The Etesia brand is synonymous with quality and reliability and we look forward to a long and successful relationship together.”

RD Mechanical Services will be on hand to offer professional support, sales and servicing on Etesia’s extensive product range.

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

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Etesia UK on Twitter @EtesiaUK and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/EtesiaUK. You can also view the latest Etesia videos by visiting www.youtube.com/EtesiaUK.

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AEA appoint new President-Elect

AEA appoint new President-Elect: The Agricultural Engineers Association is delighted to announce the appointment of their new President- Elect for 2020-2021, Les Malin. Les is Managing Director of Etesia UK and has been an active member of the AEA for over 14 years.

For the first time in their very long history the AEA has appointed a President- Elect. The position is designated until such a time as the usual investiture of the President, a nomination from the AEA Board of Directors, which is normally ratified at the Annual General Meeting, can take place. Sadly, this year’s AGM had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

AEA appoint new President-Elect

AEA appoint new President-Elect

Les commented on the alternative course of action, “First of all I would like to thank the AEA Board of Directors for nominating me to be the next President of the AEA and as President– Elect in the interim period. It is indeed against a backdrop of very uncertain and difficult times. With COVID 19 now having taken over from Brexit as the focus of everyone in the UK, the work of the AEA has to adapt like many other businesses and groups.

As President Elect of the AEA Les’ role will be to lead the Board of Directors, while the farm equipment and outdoor power equipment councils and specialist groups on manufacturing, training and education, chemical applications, sprayer testing, service management and all-terrain vehicles focus on current issues and initiatives

Ruth Bailey, CEO and Director General of the AEA said, “It is indeed very strange times. We are delighted however, to have Les as our President- Elect and welcome his knowledge and experience within the industry to guide us through.”

Les’ early background is rooted in Agriculture, where in his early years he worked on a mixed farm and would also use the farm equipment for contracting jobs. He then started his own contracting business in his 20’s. In the mid 1990’s he made his move to Outdoor Power Equipment as area manager for Polaris, after which he worked at Amazone Grounds Care before finally moving to Estesia as an ASM, then General Manager and finally Managing Director.

Les has many years of experience both within Agriculture and the Outdoor Power Equipment sector and said of the future “This virus has shown us more than ever that Technology has to be the key forward for all of us, we have to embrace the future.

Forget the past and show our customers that we can offer expertise, money saving machinery, environmentally efficient solutions be it robotics in Agricultural or the Outdoor Power sectors. We as an industry must embrace these modern methods to safeguard our futures and entice the younger generation into a sector of employment that few people leave if they actively engage in its culture and history.

Stay Safe, listen to the Government and the advice of the NHS, it is for the safety of all of us and our families.” Les’ full inaugural speech can be found at www.aea.uk.com/news

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New Zealand greenkeepers return

New Zealand greenkeepers return: Mowers started up for the first time in three weeks on Tuesday at many of New Zealand’s 400 golf courses.

Greenkeepers returned “just in time”, with some facing overgrown roughs and disease encroaching on the greens.

New Zealand greenkeepers return

New Zealand greenkeepers return

The Government gave the all-clear for golf course maintenance to resume, following lobbying from those in the golfing community. The stipulation from the Ministry of Primary Industries, which applies to bowling and croquet greens and nurseries, is that the maintenance must be urgent.

The upkeep of golf courses is a daily task, and if maintenance were delayed further, it could have a million-dollar impact, said Remuera golf club superintendent and NZ Golf Superintendents Association board member Spencer Cooper.

“We’ve got back to work just in time. It’s essential we maintain the properties so we’ve got something to go back to,” he said.

“Delaying… there would be tens of millions of dollars worth of damage.

“A lot of golf courses wouldn’t survive and it would result in a lot of people losing their jobs unncessarily.”

Cooper arrived on Tuesday to find “really nasty” fungal disease starting to appear on the greens. Some diseases can spread “extremely quickly” and wipe out entire greens within 48 to 72 hours.

“For the golf courses that do financially survive, the damage could be quite severe which would cost a lot of money to repair,” he said.

“It would keep the golf courses that do survive closed for longer and it would take longer for people to get back to playing golf.”

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the country, with more than half a million players picking up the golf clubs in the last 12 months.

Cooper’s club has a membership of 1600, and has more than 60,000 rounds of golf per year.

While Cooper is sceptical about the sport resuming in the next few weeks, he said golf offers an opportunity for exercise while in isolation.

“I believe people can go and play golf, in pretty much isolation, out in nature, get a bit of exercise, getting a bit of sunshine, without coming across too many other people,” he said.

“If we do it properly we believe we’re one of the few sports that can really be viable when others can’t…[and] there’s a huge mental health benefit.”

For now, he and his team are happy to be out on the course, also working on their mental health.

“This something extremely therapeutic about mowing grass and the smell of it… it was amazing,” he laughed.

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New Verti-Drain for Selby Golf Club

New Verti-Drain for Selby Golf Club: Course Manager at Selby Golf Club, Chris Goodall, says the arrival of their new Charterhouse Verti-Drain® 7416 in November 2019 couldn’t have come at a better time!

The heathland course is very sandy meaning it is playable all year round and, in turn, makes it one of the busiest clubs in Yorkshire. This level of traffic has seen the Verti-Drain® in high demand over the winter period, tackling compaction on some of the high footfall areas.

New Verti-Drain for Selby Golf Club

New Verti-Drain for Selby Golf Club

“We previously had two separate aerators – one of which was proving too heavy for our ageing tractors, and the other was smaller so only really suitable for work on the greens” explains Chris, who has been at the club for five years. “When the time came to replace them, we wanted a good all-rounder – capable of site wide aeration.” Having been impressed with the Verti-Drain® at a previous club, Chris was keen to go down the Charterhouse road this time and spoke with local dealer F G Adamson and Sons.

“The size of the 7416 model was a perfect fit for our requirements and fleet of tractors. It’s super easy to set up, quiet in operation and covers the ground at good speed. The timing of its delivery meant it was out straight away and every couple of weeks after that, relieving compaction on pathways, walkways and fairways which kept us free of any waterlogging over the very wet winter months.”

Chris purchased his Verti-Drain® with solid tines, and additional hollow tines for year-round flexibility. “In a regular year, we would equip the Verti-Drain® with pencil tines to aerate the greens through the summer then as we head towards the back end of the year we’d then look at hollow coring and using bigger tines on the fairways and other areas.”

The Verti-Drain® 7416 has a 1.6m working width and offers a 14″ maximum working depth. The range of solid and hollow tine options, together with its weight, makes it a popular choice for golf courses; but it’s robust nature also makes it ideal for penetration of hard and compacted soils on a range of sports surfaces.

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