When grass grows, we have to mow
One thing’s for sure, New Zealand can grow grass, whether it’s in the paddocks of the Waikato or the school playing fields of greater Wellington. The latter is an area that Roger Seymour knows well, who although claiming to be semi-retired, manages to look after the green stuff at around 50 schools in the area.
Around three years ago, Roger sold a school cleaning, caretaking and mowing business to concentrate on the latter that during a typical mowing season might see 16 to 18 round of the schools under his care, but at the height of the growing season might require visits every 10 to 14 days.
This necessity to get the job done means relying on productive equipment, which in Seymour’s case centres around a Kioti DK5810 HST tractor, fitted with a front-end loader and 4 in 1 bucket. Powerful enough to get the job done efficiently yet compact enough to fit on a truck to move between jobs, the agile tractor spends most of its day coupled to a 4-rotor Trimax mower that takes a 2.37 metre cut each pass. Used to cover the larger areas, the Kioti operates in conjunction with a smaller ride-on mower that deals with awkward areas like tight corners and around goalposts.
The decision to choose the Kioti DK5810 was reasonably easy, given that a smaller DS4510 manual was the prime mover for the previous three years. So at Christmas 2018, the new machine arrived, sporting a 4-cylinder, 58hp Daedong engine and a hydrostatic transmission.
The increase in power has had a major increase in output with Seymour commenting, “The extra power allows us to operate in the third range of the hydro unit, whereas on the old tractor, I had to keep changing between third and second gears. Now the speed is easily controllable to suit the underlying conditions, allowing us to get more done in a day.”
Roger also notes that at certain times of the season, grass growth can be high, while ground conditions underneath can be quite soft, so the extra power is essential in allowing the tractor to push through “lush” areas, while also maintaining mower blade speed, to deliver the quality of finish required. “The two-pedal set-up for the hydro control is also great to use, allowing quick shunts back into work at the end of each run, while the flat platform also makes access on and off the tractor a breeze and very safe”, says Roger.
The other key part of the package is the front-end loader and clam-shell bucket that lends itself to many tasks including moving playground bark or chip, loading soil or clearing up felled timber. “The 4 in 1 is great for tidying up after cutting trees down, but also comes into its own for ripping out or thinning flax bushes that have become unruly”, says Seymour. “We also use the loader equipped with a 3-metre wide levelling bar made from a lump of railway iron to level humps and hollows, which is ideal for getting rid of areas where ponding occurs and kills of grass”, he says.
In summing up, this tireless semi-retiree comments, “The DK5810 is a great all-round tractor, the extra power makes us more productive, but also allows to throttle back and work in a more relaxed manner and still maintain blade speed for a quality finish.”
Written by Mark Daniel