At Sparsholt College, Hampshire, farms manager Graham Boyt runs an impressive fleet of machinery and equipment across the 600 acres it farms.
“As an educational farm, we aim to be as self-sufficient as possible with our kit, to offer a broad range of learning scenarios for all our students,” he says. “Practical experience is as important as the classroom, enabling students to learn by doing.”
The college farm produces around 3,000 large square bales each year, comprising hay, haylage and straw. And to get its forage requirements underway, the farm uses a Kverneland front/rear mower conditioner combination, bought in 2020.
“Two mowers are far better than one, for a variety of reasons,” says Graham. “It lets us separate the mowers onto two tractors, giving more opportunity for students to learn with rear-mounted and front-mounted kit.”
“We like to create as many learning opportunities as possible,” he adds. “In addition to front linkage control, there’s also a road safety aspect that needs to be understood, when using front-mounted kit.”
“And the more experienced students can then progress to running a front/rear combination, for experience of high-output mowing,” he adds. “There’s some impressive performance to be had, and that also lets us get on with silage making, when the weather closes in and time pressure dictates our processes.”
The 3332FT front-mounted unit and 3332MT rear unit offer three-bladed discs, with quick-change knives, semi-swing steel conditioner tines and QuattroLink multi-link bed suspension.
“While the mowers are straightforward to set-up, there’s a wide range of adjustments that can be made,” adds Graham. “We grow lucerne in addition to grass leys, so students can appreciate the impact of making changes to ground pressure and conditioner speeds. This way, they can learn to make the right adjustments to make the most of forage quality.”