No Weeds Allowed

Annual roundup of vegetation control equipment

Article May 16, 2003
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Another spring is upon us and with it the challenge of defending
civilization against the encroachment of the riot of weeds. Here are some of
the latest weapons for the fight.

Hand me my 7-iron

With seven-gauge steel, no welds and increased air flow, the
72-in. 7-Iron V-Flex Mower Deck from John Deere Worldwide Commercial &
Consumer Equipment Division, Research Triangle Park, N.C., provides superior
performance on flat and uneven terrain.

The 7-Iron V-Flex Mower Deck features a three-part, hinged
deck with a vertical belt drive, which allows the deck to articulate 20°
above and below center for superior cut quality on hillsides and rough
landscapes. The patented design decreases the chance of scalping turf and
allows belts to stay clean while preventing them from stretching and twisting.

To adjust the height of cut, the V-Flex Mower Deck can be
fit with either a rear wheel or a rear roller kit. The rear wheel kit offers 1-
to 5-in. heights while the rear roller kit offers 1- to 4-in. heights, both
adjustable in 1/4-in. increments.

The V-Flex Mower Deck has two attachment points and will fit
the John Deere 1445, 1545 and 1565 front mowers. The 1445, for instance, has a
31-hp diesel engine that provides fuel economy, quiet operation, low exhaust
emission levels and quick starting. Hydraulic PTO allows gradual engagement,
making for smoother operation. The 14.5-gal fuel tank allows for all-day
mowing, increasing productivity.

Rake and brush attachments

The latest addition to the PowerRake line from FFC
Attachments, Lee, Ill., is the PTO PowerRake. It quickly pulverizes soil,
removes rock and debris, finish-grades and spreads fill or topsoil. Features
include a powerful 8.6-in.-diam. drum that works the soil forward and
long-lasting carbide teeth positioned for maximum coverage. The PTO PowerRake
is gear-driven and direct-drive. Designed for tractor loaders with a
three-point hitch, the PTO PowerRake is available in three working widths--56,
72 and 90 in.--with 20° hydraulic bidirectional angling.

Also new from FFC is a hydraulically driven, single-motor
Brush Cutter for skid steers. It cuts undergrowth and brush while mulching with
an added feature of a stump jumper. It has a heavy-duty steel deck with formed
side plates and skid shoes for added strength and rigidity. It also features a
high-speed, one-directional blade with a cutting capacity of 3 in., available
in 48-, 60- and 72-in. widths.

A deck of sevens

The shaft-driven, low-noise ZD Pro Deck has a seven-gauge
steel deck and is available in a 60- or 72-in. cutting width. The ZD Pro Deck
from Kubota Tractor Corp., Torrance, Calif., can be matched with the ZD21 (21
hp) or ZD28 (28 hp) zero-turn mowers for cutting performance in all grass
varieties and conditions.

The deck is 5.5 in. deep, allowing more air flow through the
blades and enabling a higher-quality cut at a faster rate. The cut and re-cut
system provides smaller grass clippings and generates a cleaner appearance than
the traditional cut and throw system. The cutting height can be adjusted from 1
to 5 in. in half-inch increments.

The double V-belt with heavy cast-iron pulleys allows the
deck to tolerate tough mowing conditions. Swivel antiscalp rollers glide across
grass reducing turf damage. The deck's parallel linkage mounting allows for
easy mower deck removal without tools.

On the wings of a bat

The BW180 Batwing from Woods Equipment Co., Rockford, Ill.,
is a 15-ft flexible-wing rotary cutter with a sloped deck that sheds water and
other debris to help prevent corrosion. It will cut weeds and brush up to 2 in.
in diam. The 11-in.-deep side frame increases cut material capacity for greater
productivity and cut quality, and six inches of overlap ensures a clean cut.

The BW180 is designed for a PTO horsepower of 45-160.

The four gearboxes on the BW180 feature alloy steel gears
and tapered roller bearings and are backed by a five-year warranty. The Woods
exclusive quick-change blade pin allows for fast, easy blade maintenance and
reduces down time. The standard spring-loaded wheel yoke reduces stress loads and
increases the life of the machine.

Flip-up shields offer full and easy access to the drive,
clutches and gearbox. Standard stump jumpers protect the gearbox from
obstructions. The wings independently fold up, yielding a 96-in. travel width,
and lock securely for quick and easy transport.

Brush cutter

Designed for mulching small branches and saplings up to 3
in. diam. and for cutting through thick grass and brush, the 90-in. Brushcat
rotary cutter attachment from Bobcat Co., West Fargo, N.D., is ideal for
clearing construction sites, power line access roads, trails, ditches and
lakefront property, according to Bobcat.

It can be operated in forward or reverse, and the flotation
linkage allows the deck to float over ground contours, keeping it in contact
with the surface.

The Brushcat is equipped with dual spindles that drive two
blades each, two front rollers, one full-width rear roller, two stump jumpers
and 3-in.-wide offset blades with a 2-in. cutting height as standard equipment.

Flex your wings

Available in 10- and 15-ft cutting widths, the Stingray
Flex-Wing Mower from Alamo Industrial, Seguin, Texas, offers increased
productivity with speed and durability. With its continuously welded
seven-gauge deck constructed from 3/16-in. steel, the Stingray is suitable for
heavy-duty industrial mowing.

Its round skid pan allows for easy mowing over obstacles and
helps prevent blade damage. The Stingray's standard features include deck rings
and double chain guards with cable intertwined for extra safety.

It also features automatically adjusting floating wing
frames, resulting in less wear and tear on the cylinders.

Mower power to ya

With the fuel-injected Kohler Command Pro engine, the Lazer
Z EPS mower from Exmark Manufacturing Co. Inc., Beatrice, Neb., is more powerful
than previous Exmark mowers. When paired with Exmark's 72-in. UltraCut deck,
the Lazer Z EPS can cut 6 acres per hour.

The Lazer Z EPS incorporates Exmark's latest zero-turn mower
technology. The dual-hydrostatic drive system features ergonomically designed,
adjustable controls for precise mower control and increased operator comfort.

The Lazer Z EPS features the full-floating UltraCut deck.
Available in 60- and 72-in. cutting widths, the UltraCut uses a patented flow-control
baffle system and ultra-high blade tip speed to ensure a precise cut at high
mower speeds.

Redesigned prowler

The low profile is just the beginning of the new look and
added features on the Prowler Mid Cut from Encore Power Equipment, Beatrice,
Neb. Highlighting the mid-cut mower is Encore's exclusive side-to-side
articulating floating deck, no-slip disc brakes and maintenance-free blade
spindles. The deck suspension allows both front wheels to maintain ground
contact over rough terrain, improving stability and smoothing out the ride
while it reduces scalping and allows faster operating speed.

For a level cut with the Prowler Mid Cut at high speed, a
PTO shaft powers the blades at 19,000 fpm and a heavy-gauge deck with special
reinforcement channels controls vibration.

The Prowler Mid Cut is available with 52-, 61- and 72-in.
decks. Units can be outfitted with high-horsepower gas or diesel engine
options, liquid-cooled or air-cooled. ROPS and FOPS canopy options are
available.

Search and destroy

The WeedSeeker Selective Spray System uses advanced optical
sensors and computer circuitry to sense the presence of weeds in road cracks
and on road shoulders. WeedSeeker from NTech Industries Inc., Ukiah, Calif., is
environmentally sensitive and dramatically reduces herbicide use because it
automatically sprays only where there are weeds.

The self-contained system mounts easily in the bed of a
standard pickup. Sensors are mounted on a fixed boom behind the truck and on a
motorized boom arm. The spray boom arm automatically retracts when obstacles
are present along the shoulder of the road and re-extends when the shoulder is
clear again.

The WeedSeeker sensor emits thousands of light beams per
second and looks at the reflected light for the chlorophyll in plants rather
than bare ground or pavement. When a weed enters the field of view, the sensor
signals a spray nozzle to deliver a precise amount of herbicide where it is
needed.

Do the hustle

The Hustler Super Z is built for speed, according to Hustler
Turf Equipment, Hesston, Kan. The top speed of the Super Z is 15 mph. The Super
Z gets it performance with Hydro-Gear BDP21 hydraulic pumps and White CE18
wheel motors powered by a 25-hp Kawasaki engine. Other unique features include
a hydraulic oil cooler for extended system life when operating at high speeds.

The Super Z also features a foot-operated deck-lift system
and a tough frame, deck and front caster forks.

The Super Z offers a choice of 60- or 72-in. side-discharge
decks.

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