Mike Tarantino, CSFM, director of facilities, maintenance and operations for the Poway Unified School District of Poway, Calif., explains his criteria for mower selection. "Number one is reliability. With budgets the way they are, I need equipment that is going to last. I'm getting 10 to 15 years out of my mowers. Next is productivity in terms of acres per hour. That impacts the budget. If I can save time and provide a quality cut, I can free up that operator to do other tasks such as fertilizations, irrigation checks or extra time on a sports field that may require some TLC. Third is serviceability, which ties right in with reliability. I look for mowers that are easily serviced by the operators and a company that can provide me with needed parts ASAP. We do not have spare mowers, so keeping them up and running is extremely important. The relationship with the manufacturer/sales representative is a key part of the equation. Once that relationship is forged they begin to understand my needs and then often know what I need before I do."
Grasshopper's 725DT MaxTorque diesel engine is Tier 4i-compliant.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GRASSHOPPER.
Masport's Olympic 660 26-inch reel mower.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MASPORT.
Operational costs continue to be an issue, so check out the new Fuel Expense and Emissions Calculator (grasshopperfuelsav
) from the Grasshopper Company. This online tool provides a fast and easy way to calculate fuel costs and savings comparisons, greenhouse and smog-forming gas emissions per hour of mowing, and overall profitability comparisons for each of the three most popular fuel choices from commercial mowers: gasoline, propane and diesel. Due to the volatile nature of fuel prices, the calculator is designed for individual customization, which allows users to revisit the program and calculate new totals any time prices fluctuate. Ray Garvey, Grasshopper's marketing coordinator, says, "The fuel calculator is adapted for worldwide use by giving the visitor a choice between U.S. measurements and metric measurements."
New in mowers
The Trimax Pegasus S3 triple-deck, wide-area rotary mower is available in either 16 or 20-foot cutting widths.
Scott Sweeney, president of Seago International, Inc. (www.seagousa.com
), reported that Seago now distributes Masport mowers in the U.S. He says, "Masport is a New Zealand-based company that has been around for 100 years. Seago is the first distributor to bring their machines to market in the United States."
The Masport Olympic 660 is a 26-inch reel mower that delivers an extra-wide cut for excellent coverage with fewer passes when mowing. It is extremely maneuverable, thanks to its split rear roller with an internal differential, which allows it to turn in its own width. The Olympic 660 is powered by a Honda GX-160 engine and has bedknife to reel adjustment, single-handle height-of-cut adjustment, ergonomic controls, and is standard with a large-capacity steel catcher.
The Trimax Pegasus S3 triple-deck, wide-area rotary mower features full-width rollers on every deck.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF TRIMAX MOWING SYSTEMS.
The Masport Rotarola is a 21-inch self-propelled walk-behind rotary with a rear roller for striping. It combines the ease of use and low maintenance of a rotary mower with the superior striping usually achievable only with a reel mower. The integrated rear roller is both the driver for this self-propelled machine as well as the striping mechanism. Height of cut ranges from .5 inch to 2.75 inches and is adjustable via a single lever. It features a .25-inch-thick aluminum deck, large capacity catcher, commercial-grade gear box, and is powered by the Briggs and Stratton 850 Series 190cc engine.
Trimax Mowing Systems (www.trimaxmowers.com) recently released its Pegasus S3 triple-deck, wide-area rotary roller mower to the U.S. municipal market. Available in either 16 or 20-foot cutting widths, it features full width rollers on every deck for improved contour following and striping. Trimax's LazerBladez system combines small diameter blade beams with high RPM for high blade tip speed providing more cuts per foot of forward travel with improved grass distribution, even at high mowing speeds.
Jacobsen's Eclipse2 uses hybrid and electric technology to reduce fuel consumption and eliminate the risk of hydraulic leaks.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JACOBSEN.
To reduce downtime and enhance productivity, all moving surfaces have long-life synthetic bushes or greasable bearings and remote grease points are centralized. The decks can be raised and locked in place allowing easy access to the mower underbody, and safe, simple transportation between locations. The Pegasus S3 is towed between sites on its own suspended transport wheels.
Kubota Tractor Corporation (www.kubota.com) launched the Kubota ZP330, the latest addition to its Z300 Series of commercial mowers. The ZP330 has a clean-burning, 31 gross hp, three-cylinder, liquid-cooled, liquid propane gas (LPG) engine with reduced CO2 emissions. It is available in two Pro Commercial mower deck sizes: 60 inch and 72 inch. The ZP330 comes equipped with a high-performance HST hydrostatic transmission. Features include a full-flat operator platform, high-back deluxe suspension seat for operator comfort, adjustable speed control levers, hands-free hydraulic deck lift and parking brake.
Cub Cadet's new zero-turn rider, the TANK RZT S, incorporates the four-wheel Synchro Steer Technology developed for its top-of-the-line TANK SZ.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CUB CADET.
Following on the success of its Tank SZ and Tank LZ commercial zero-turn riders, Cub Cadet (www.cubcadet.com
) recently introduced a new "prosumer" zero-turn rider, the RZT S. Incorporating technology first developed for its Tank SZ, the RZT S uses Cub Cadet's four-wheel steering (patented as Synchro Steer Technology). Operated by foot pedals and a steering wheel, the patented system synchronizes all four wheels based on direction and speed to deliver superior traction, stability and user control, according to Jeff Salamon, Cub Cadet's director of marketing. The RZT S is equipped with an advanced cutting deck designed with optimum airflow and blade overlap for a precision cut. The heavy-duty, professional-grade engine and 12-gauge steel frame provide enduring performance.
Jacobsen (www.jacobsen.com) recently introduced the Eclipse2 walking turf mower. According to Adam Slick, Jacobsen public relations and communications manager, it uses hybrid and electric technology to reduce fuel consumption and eliminate the risk of hydraulic leaks on playing fields. A wide array of frequency-of-cut (FOC) settings combine to produce a smooth and consistent playing surface for ball fields. Available in 18, 22 or 26-inch cutting widths, the Eclipse2 features a true automotive differential, driving the traction drum from one point for straight tracking.
Kubota's liquid propane-powered ZP330 offers both 60 and 72-inch deck options.
PHOTO COURTESY OF KUBOTA.
Toro's Reelmaster 7000 is equipped with a 49 hp Kubota engine as well as the SmartCool auto-reversing fan that clears debris from the air intake screen to keep the engine cool.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TORO.
The Eclipse2 has a maximum mow speed up to 3.8 mph while maintaining the tightest FOC, and the transport speed has been increased to 5 mph. On the hybrid version, with a Honda gas engine powering a 48-volt generator, the engine's mounting has been rotated 180 degrees to better balance the machine. The pull cord to start has been placed directly in front of the operator.
Toro (www.toro.com) introduced the Reelmaster 7000 in 2011. This multipurpose, heavy-duty reel mower is equipped with a 49 hp Kubota engine, as well as the SmartCool auto-reversing fan, which intermittently blows debris off the air intake screen to keep the engine cool. High-torque reel motors allow the unit to power through tough jobs, resulting in greater productivity. It also offers Toro's dual-precision adjustment (DPA) cutting units, which offer a cut as low as .25 inch. An optional overlap configuration with 32-inch rear cutting units is also available.
The author is a contributing editor for SportsField Management.