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User story: Cumbrian contractor puts McHale Mowers to work

McHale has expanded its grassland equipment to include a mower range. Jane Carley talks to a contractor who purchased one of the first on the market.

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McHale’s Pro Glide mower is available in a number of configurations including a front/rear combination giving a cut width of 6m.

Based on the firm’s reputation for reliable equipment, Cumbrian contractor Tim West was willing to take a punt on McHale’s new mower range.


T W West offers a wide range of services from its base near St Bees, Cumbria, including high output forage harvesting with two self-propelled foragers and a pair of forage wagons.


Mr West explains; “Contracts vary from a full forage service to just topping, and we run two mowing gangs which are always busy.”


Mowing is carried out with front and rear combinations and Mr West comments that he had keenly awaited the launch of McHale’s first mower, the Pro Glide range.

Contractor Tim West is one of the first to purchase the mower, an expansion of the range from McHale.

“We purchased another brand of triple mower in 2015 very much as a stop gap and the Pro Glide was delivered for the beginning of the season [2016].”


He adds that although he runs square balers rather than round, there are plenty of McHale Fusion baler/wrappers and fixed and variable chamber round balers that the Irish manufacturer has become renowned for in the local area.


“I knew that other contractors were very pleased with the build quality and performance of the McHale products, and I hoped this would be the case with the mower.


“We were particularly impressed with the size of the gearbox, as on previous mowers we felt they were too small. A larger gearbox run’s cooler and the mower has proven this, so it should add to its longevity and reliability. The mechanical drive to the conditioner was also another plus point, rather than the use of belts which can fail and lead to downtime.”

Cutter bar design features a rounded low profile front edge to glide smoothly over the ground, and a steel tine conditioner is standard; power is transmitted from the cutter bar to the rear of the mower to drive its rotor.

One slight disappointment was that the McHale B9000 combination mower, his outfit of choice, was not ready, so he purchased F3100 front and R3100 rear mowers to give a cut width of 6m.


Mr West comments that the ground following ability of the mower was one of the first features that he noticed, coping well with the undulating Cumbrian grass leys.


“The front mower is especially impressive in the way that it tracks over uneven ground.”


Mr West reports that the mower has proved to be extremely robust, needing no more than the odd replacement blade, despite covering some 1,900 hectares (4,700 acres) in its first season.


“The way the cutter bar is designed gives a high quality cut even on heavy or wet crops,” Mr West comments. “Where customers do their own mowing and we then row up for the forager we often see lumps or uneven cutting, but the Pro Glide gives a nice even swath for the rake.”

McHale R3100/F3100 specifications

  • Cutting width: 3.0m (each bed)
  • Swath width: 1.3-2.5m
  • Transport height: 3.9m (rear deck)
  • Discs: seven per bed, with two blades each
  • Cutting height: 25-75mm
  • Conditioner: Steel tine at 700 or 1,000rpm
  • Power requirement: 80hp (each bed), 1,000rpm pto

Mr West adds that the conditioner gives good results and has stood up well to the workload, with the flat tines all present and correct at the end of the season. “It’s a very simple mower to set up and adjust if conditions change,” he says.

 

“While one driver does the majority of the mowing with it, you can put anyone on it without problems. It’s useful in a busy season to have a mower that can be operated by different drivers.


He adds his 183hp Valtra Direct easily handles the 6m mower with fuel consumption at about 10l/ha.


“We actually find that fuel consumption is similar whether mowing with a single mower or our triple combination,” he says. “In such heavy crops and steep ground, mowing is pretty demanding.”


McHale has been quietly keeping an eye on the Pro Glide through the season and modified the front mower linkage to the latest design, although it had not posed problems.


“Good local dealer support and a mower to cope with our conditions have both been part of the jigsaw,” Mr West says. “It has become the mower of choice for my operators and I am looking forward to moving up to the triple combination when it becomes available.”


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