As the search goes on for a bio-diesel supplier, McManus also continues to search for greater productivity within his department. One recent equipment purchase is helping achieve that goal.
“This year, we stumbled on a piece of equipment that truly changed our mowing productivity,” he says, referring to a new riding mower with four-wheel drive and an 11-foot deck.
“We have been using 72-inch mowing decks because that has always been used,” he says. “The campus here is not large, open fields, but a great deal of small, hilly mowing. One of our mower crews was given the 11-foot mower and instantly saw a two-day reduction in mowing time.”
The reduction resulted in part from the operator’s ability to take the mower out of four-wheel drive, which enables faster travel — often across campus — between work sites. The new mower also delivered greater horsepower and allowed operators to climb hills faster and maintain traction better. The jump in productivity surprised McManus.
“I didn’t believe it,” he says. “I actually thought we must have skipped over some areas, but we didn’t. We have consistently finished mowing on Wednesday afternoon with this one crew. We now have five guys who used to take five days to mow their part of campus now finished in three days. It’s like finding free labor.
“As with any campus, we have more projects than time to do them, so gaining another two days was great. Next year, we will probably purchase another 11-foot-deck mower for one of the other mowing crews. Who knows? We may reduce another two days of mowing.”
Grounds Department Experiments with Bio-Diesel Fuel
Bio-Diesel: Lack of Reliable Supply Prevents Widespread Use
Mowers: 11-Foot Deck Vastly Improves Operator Productivity
Bio-Diesel: Use of Alternative Fuel Boosts University's Image