Two more Kubota tractors have joined the extensive groundcare equipment fleet at St George's College in Surrey, bringing the total roster of the versatile orange machines to six.
Set in an immaculately tended 100-acre site in Addlestone, near Weybridge, St George's College is one of the leading independent, co-educational Roman Catholic day schools in the country. A nearby junior school and nursery covers a further 15 acres.
As well as its attractive grassed, ornamental and woodland areas, the college features a host of outdoor sporting facilities. These include five cricket squares and numerous cricket nets; four rugby pitches; two football pitches; 20 tennis courts - three of them grass - and an athletics track.
Responsible for keeping everything looking in tip-top condition throughout the year is grounds manager Andrew Boyd, who is assisted by a team of five groundsmen and three gardeners.
"You have to be highly mechanised to look after a site this big," he said. "We aim to keep everything looking pristine whatever the season, as first impressions really count. Our Kubota machines – making up six of our eight large pieces of equipment - all have different jobs to do and are largely instrumental in making the college grounds what they are."
One of the two latest arrivals is an L5040 mid range tractor which replaced an elderly Leyland model. It has joined an existing L4630 tractor to take care of the gang mowing of cricket outfields, the flail mowing of rugby pitches, spraying work - towing a boom spray - and towing a Verti-drain used for aerating work.
The L40 Series boast a high power-to-weight ratio and a choice of nine models to suit every application. With five different horsepower ratings, ranging from 35-58hp, three transmission types and options of an integral, factory fitted cab or rollbar, the GL40 Series offer an exceptional level of versatility.
Mr Boyd commented: "It's handy having a second large, efficient tractor as we can now do two tasks at a time, which has made us far more productive."
As it's smaller and lighter, the college's other new Kubota, a B1410 compact tractor, is used principally to brush and sweep the college's artificial sports surfaces, which include two hockey pitches. Replacing a well-used Kubota machine, it is the ideal tool for the task as it doesn't mark or cause any damage to the surfaces.
The B1410 is also much in demand by the gardeners who use it to help look after the ornamental areas, towing trailers loaded with plants or equipment.
Making easy work of mowing grass verges, as well as areas of rough terrain is an F2880 professional out-front mower, which has no difficulty working on even the steepest of banks.
For maximum durability and power delivery, power to the outfront deck is transmitted via shaft drive and the heavy duty two-range hydrostatic transmission system gives infinitely variable speeds up to 20km/h forward and 11km/h in reverse.
The F80 Series is equipped with Auto Assist 4WD. Working in both forward and reverse directions, this feature allows the rear wheels to free wheel when turning, to give a reduced turning circle and minimise scuffing of the turf, and returns the machine to 4WD when not turning to provide optimum grip.
Mr Boyd, who came to St George's College three years ago, said he was gradually moving towards an all-Kubota fleet. "There are advantages of standardising on one make of equipment. It makes life easier for our ground care staff as all the machines are similar to use, and also for our maintenance man as the mechanics of the different machines are also very similar.
"I have evaluated several other makes and find the Kubota machines to be reliable, robust, and easy to operate and they work well in all weather conditions. Equally as important, they come at a competitive price, something the school's bursar appreciates."
All of the machines were supplied by Kubota dealer Lister Wilder from its nearby depot at Ockham. "We receive terrific after-sales service from Lister Wilder and if any parts are needed they always arrive promptly," said Mr Boyd.
It's a combination of the groundcare team's considerable skills and the excellence of the Kubota machines that has contributed to the wow-factor that's clearly evident in all of the outdoor areas at St George's.