Cutting Edge Mowers For Buffalo Turf | The Buffalo Grass Review Site

Cutting Edge Mowers For Buffalo Turf | The Buffalo Grass Review Site

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Trends in Lawn Mower Innovation.

By Todd Layt

For acreage or smaller Buffalo lawns, new mower innovation has provided lots of new choices on how best to mow your buffalo lawn. The last fifteen years has seen exciting changes in commercial ride on lawn mowers with a constant stream of new models. Driving much of the change is increased productivity, providing contractors and home owners with better efficiency and more reasons to upgrade the old mower.  Many new models exploit these trends well, providing users with lots of choice.  Remote control, robot mowers, and reach mowers are all evolving.  The humble walk behind mower which most people use is also changing. What will the future bring?

Ride on mowers (To go straight to walk behind mowers click here)

According to Rene Lubbers of John Deere Australia, the biggest trend for ride on mowers in Australia over the last 5 years has been a move to zero turn mowers from out front mowers. Rene said ‘that of the mowers sold today, 60% are zero turn and 40% are out front mowers. Five years ago it was only 20% zero turn and 80% out front. Out front mowers are still popular for slopes, but the far superior manoeuvrability and productivity of the zero turn mowers has seen them take the lead.’ The modern zero turn mower just gets more grass cut in a day.

Improved operator safety has been on the minds of ride on mower manufacturers. Ten to fifteen years ago the Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) was not that common on a mower. About five years ago roll over protection and belts became standard on all John Deere mowers and other brands, with many now having fold down ROPS to get under low structures and trees. Operator Presence Systems have been standard for a while now, ensuring the engine cuts out if the operator is not in control. Operator comfort is another trend, with far more comfortable seats, highly adjustable controls, radio and phone holders, and somewhere to keep a cool drink. Despite all this increased technology and comfort, competition has seen prices remain fairly steady over the last five years. There were some price rises due to the lower dollar, but now prices are getting better with a stronger Aussie dollar, so maybe it is time to consider a more productive upgrade.

Five years ago very few ride on mulching mowers were sold, but the last 2 years has seen a real growth with 20% of mowers sold having a mulching function. This is probably due to the newer mowers having a duel function of side discharge and mulching capabilities. The mulching function has safety benefits, eliminating the spray of debris out the side, although if the lawn is not of good quality, the side discharge option is still needed, but the new mowers make it easy to switch between the two modes. Catchers are still the exception for ride on mowers in this country, mainly being used for resort work and other higher profile areas. However, capture technology is also evolving.

Strict California pollution legislation has seen mowers become greener. As most of the larger manufactures sell into this market, it has seen the same technology to clean up emissions being used around the world, including Australia. John Deere, for example, has all their engines meeting California tier four standards, currently the highest tier. In the last five years there has been a big trend towards diesel engines, probably due to the reduced maintenance, reliability and user friendliness. Engine sizes have also crept up, as the machines have increased in size. Fifteen years ago the commercial ride on mower was on average a lot smaller than today’s average size.

What does the future hold? …read more

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