As the battle with grass draws to a close for 2017, it’s time to look at the new heavy armour that will be available to the nation’s groundsmen next year. Yes, it’s the annual trip to Birmingham to SALTEX for the Saltex 2017 review. With over 300 exhibitors, celebrity seminars and lots of new product releases this was always going to be the best Saltex yet.
The theme for this year appeared to be “dealing with long grass”. It seems that manufacturers are trying to make machines that can cope with Council’s ever increasing time between cuts by arming their ride ons with rotary decks or flail barrels.
Don’t worry if you are pricing for ever more infrequent cuts on your contracts because there are plenty of heavy cutting deck options now available. Impressive displays from Toro, John Deere and Major, with huge tractors lifting their arms to reveal banks of menacing cutting bars.
If you need reinforcements, the Yanks are coming! Walker, Ventrac and Grasshopper, to name but a few of the American companies that are now selling their big rotary style of machines in the UK. I must admit though, I find it sad to see UK contractors having to veer away from reel cutters on municipal gang mowing, you just can’t beat the finish.
Talking of fine finishing, the Dennis stand was looking great this year. The paint work alone on their machines deserves an award, as does the BobCAt stand.
The war on weeds appears to be preparing itself for a possible ban on chemical weapons. The Oeliatec stand shows the future, with their machines administering a blast of scalding water to shrivel weeds, chemical free.
In fact the whole industry is advancing in to the future with the very latest innovations showcased at the show. The slow but sure change to electric power was evident on the Pellenc stand among others, but perhaps the best sign of things to come was the proliferation of robot technology on display. Perhaps the dream of an army of droid gardeners to do the donkey work might become a reality after all.