MaxTorque™ diesel fleet maintains high standards while reducing fuel consumption and operating costs

Mar 1, 2011

When it comes to cutting grass, the members of the grounds maintenance department for the Henry County School System in McDonough, Ga., are experts. The 22-member crew maintains more than 2,000 acres of school property every week, including parking lots, school lawns, athletic facilities and open fields. “We have so much ground to cover, we’re mowing eight hours a day, five days a week, pretty much all year long,” says special projects foreman Larry Smith. “It takes us about 11 days to mow everything.” Most of crewmembers are divided into teams, with each team responsible for mowing a defined area, while two crewmembers are devoted entirely to maintaining 35 of the district’s 52 athletic fields. “The immediate areas around the school buildings are our first priority, as well as the turf areas of the key athletic facilities,” says grounds foreman Russell Camp. “With as many properties as we maintain every day, we obviously have to have the best equipment available to us.” Both Smith and Camp agree that the district’s fleet of Grasshopper MaxTorque™ diesel mowers, including 32 400 Series MidMount™ and two 900 Series FrontMount™ power units, are absolutely key to the success of the crew. The two FrontMount™ mowers are also equipped with AERA-vator™ implements, which they use to aerate the athletic fields and priority turf areas. “We have found that our Grasshoppers are the best suited for our specific applications,” says Camp. “We’ve all used lots of brands, but we have been the most impressed with Grasshopper.” Smith says that the district runs diesel mowers exclusively for the durability, power, fuel economy and engine life. “For one, our fuel consumption has decreased with running diesel compared to gas,” he says. Camp concurs, saying that the Grasshopper diesels are not only built for efficiency, but also for longevity. “We are getting more hours of out of them in the long run, and it’s paying off,” he says. “They are very durable, which decreases our maintenance costs, and at the same time, they are very user-friendly.” Camp says that routine maintenance is minimal, and that they have not experienced any major down times. He says that in addition to the durability, the Grasshoppers deliver as good a cut as they could possibly get. “Down here, we have what I like to call ‘goat salad,’ pretty much a mixture of all kinds of vegetation in open areas,” he says. “We do have Bermuda grass at our higher priority sites, but for the most part, we’re cutting some very rough stuff over rough terrain.” Camp says the Grasshoppers can out-mow anything even though they don’t have the top speed that other brands tout. “Even if the terrain isn’t perfect, we can get a fine, level cut regardless,” he says. “I don’t really see the benefit in having the fastest. The uneven ground would just beat you to death, and you’d get a worse cut in the end. Why mow faster if the results aren’t better.”

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