The year battery fully arrived
by Service Dealer Editor, Steve Gibbs
Steve Gibbs

With a major manufacturer of both petrol and electric machinery choosing not to include a single piece of petrol powered equipment on their stand at SALTEX last week, will 2019 be seen as a turning point for the technology's acceptance?


It's been useful being back at my desk this week, after a few weeks out and about attending various shows and events.


Reflecting on what I've seen just lately and it's undeniable that what's being pushed hard by pretty much all the manufacturers is of course, battery and robotics - in a big, big way.


I mentioned last week how SALTEX was clearly awash with the technology. What one can read from this I guess is that suppliers have the utmost confidence in the machines and the commercial users are beginning to fully embrace them.


As several stand holders remarked last week, it's not now a question of if a local authority or a sports facility will choose to invest in some electric machinery - moreover it's which brand will they opt to put their money behind. Perhaps some have been biding their time these past couple of years, monitoring the market to make sure the trend wasn't a flash in the pan or that manufacturers weren't going to change up the battery that their family of products utilise (which is always a fear for early adopters, that they will commit too early and back the wrong horse).


This year though, might be seen as the tipping point for battery - and indeed robotics - where commercial users feel they simply must be involved. 


As I implied in my previous blog, what we saw last week at the NEC could well be looked back upon in years to come as a watershed moment - the year when a major supplier of both petrol and battery machinery, Husqvarna, decided to only display electric equipment at a professional end-user show. Not one single piece of petrol powered machinery graced their stand this year. That shouldn't be underestimated.


There was talk across the show-floor last week, of how the professional customers are showing such great interest in these alternatively powered machines. For example Lewis Anderson from Rochfords told us about the lithium-ion, rear collect garden tractor they had on their stand. He said this was actually the first rear collect rider of its kind in the UK market - a product which has been designed by Stewart Anderson of Rochfords and Weibang specifically for the home territory. Lewis said they had dealers come on to their very busy stand who hadn't made it to their dealer events recently, but had heard about the model and placed orders for it. He said they also gained many solid, end user leads which they are passing on to their dealer network.


This interest from the commercial users, I had seen echoed a couple of weeks previously at the GIE+EXPO show in the States. I spoke to the OPEI's president, Kris Kiser there about the trend, who talked about the U.S market having seen some radical shifts into the technology this past year.


Kris told me, "We’ve seen 26% jumps in certain product categories - particularly in handheld and walk-behind lawnmowers. It has just exploded."


Talking to Kris, he did also touch on the debate which we've been having here these past few years, regarding the concern which dealers have over the reduced service work off the back of battery sales. He said how it's an issue there too amongst the independent retailers but it's a reality which is going to have to be dealt with. He talked about how new avenues of business like recycling, recovery, disposal of batteries will all be a big deal - but how it shouldn't be forgotten that battery machinery won’t be the panacea for all end users. "Run times, temperature change, areas of usages – all these things affect performance," he said, "therefore some customers will want to stick with gas."


He summed up the current marketplace saying, "One thing’s for sure though, it’s a very interesting time to be in the business."


It seems like we've been having this conversion for a few years now and I wonder if our readers views on the subject are any different today to when the discussion first started? Have your opinions on battery machinery changed? Are you now a convert to the technology after initial skepticism? 


Or have your thoughts remained constant? Do you hold to the theory which I've heard posited by some dealers, that battery machinery is the death knell of the servicing dealer industry?


Or did you embrace it from the outset and feel your decision has been justified?


Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Exclusive videos, hot off the editing desk!
Watch Service Dealer contributor & TurfPro editor, Laurence Gale catch up with manufacturers at SALTEX

Service Dealer contributor & TurfPro editor, Laurence Gale caught up with several manufacturers around the halls at the NEC last week, finding out which products were generating the most attention on their stands.


Service Dealer contributor & TurfPro editor, Laurence Gale caught up with several manufacturers around the halls at the NEC last week, finding out which products were generating the most attention on their stands.


You can view the bitesized pieces below, or you can always find them, along with our archive of clips, on the Service Dealer YouTube channel.




Service Dealer at SALTEX 2019: Husqvarna UK




Service Dealer at SALTEX 2019: Kubota UK




Service Dealer at SALTEX 2019: STIHL UK



Service Dealer at SALTEX 2019: Kioti UK




Service Dealer at SALTEX 2019: Cub Cadet




Service Dealer at SALTEX 2019: John Deere


Mawsley Machinery Ltd
L-R: Mark Ormond, MD Manitou UK; Jane Sheldon; Sam Sanderson; Ian Wright; Michel Denis, CEO Manitou Group; Keith Pearce; Antoine Chazelle, Manitou Group

The Manitou group has announced the take over of a majority stake in its Northampton based, UK dealer Mawsley Machinery Ltd.


The Manitou group has announced the take over of a majority stake in its UK dealer Mawsley Machinery Ltd, based near Northampton, consecutive to the retirement of their main shareholders.


L-R: Mark Ormond, MD Manitou UK; Jane Sheldon; Sam Sanderson; Ian Wright; Michel Denis, CEO Manitou Group; Keith Pearce; Antoine Chazelle, Manitou Group


A privately-owned company founded in 1981, Mawsley Machinery Ltd supplies construction equipment and services to its customers. Mawsley Machinery is the historical Manitou Group dealer in the Midlands. Two current managers of Mawsley are co-investing in the company to carry on this venture.

Ian Wright and Jane Sheldon, the outgoing managing directors of Mawsley Machinery Ltd aid, "We are proud that Mawsley Machinery is moving forward with a strong, stable base provided by Manitou Group. The expertise and professionalism of the existing team will ensure its continued success.”

Keith Pearce and Sam Sanderson, Mawsley Machinery’s new managing directors added, "Having the opportunity to partner our main supplier, Manitou, is welcomed with open arms. This will give us tools to grow further as a full liner dealer. The partnership will allow us to further develop our level of customer support which is always at the forefront of Mawsley’s business.”

Michel Denis, Manitou Group President and CEO, stated, “Mawsley Machinery has got a team with a great expertise, an excellent know-how and a strong position in its market, especially in the service. Taking over a stake in our historical partner in the Midlands, we reinforce Manitou Group’s position in the UK to develop equipment distribution and services. In parallel to this long term strategic approach, we will continue to reinforce and develop all brands carried by Mawsley Machinery Ltd served in this region."

For Dealer Sales Achievement
Tom Bailey

This week's WEB ONLY story is that Tom Bailey, of RT Machinery, has won Price Turfcare’s award and has been presented with £300 worth of store vouchers in appreciation of his efforts.


Commence careers with dealers across UK & Ireland
Claas Reaseheath graduates

Sixteen apprentices have graduated this autumn from the Claas Apprenticeship Scheme.


Sixteen apprentices have commenced their careers with Claas dealerships throughout the UK and Ireland having graduated this autumn from the manufacturer's Apprenticeship Scheme.


Of these, 15 have spent the last four years studying for the Claas Agricultural Technician apprenticeship. During that time they have split their time between formal training blocks at either Reaseheath College in Cheshire or SRUC Barony Campus at Dumfries, combined with time spent gaining practical experience with their supporting dealer, resulting in them receiving an IMI National Diploma in Agricultural Engineering, which is the equivalent of three ‘A’ Levels.


The final student has been studying for the three year Claas Parts Sales & Marketing apprenticeship also based at Reaseheath College, working towards a Level 3 Diploma in Vehicle Parts Operations, which again is the equivalent of three ‘A’ Levels.


Following their graduation, all the apprentices were invited to attend the Apprentice Graduation Celebration Trip. Over the course of four days they travelled through France and Germany, visiting the Claas Tractor factory at Le Mans, the worldwide parts centre at Hamm and the Group headquarters at Harsewinkel, so as to gain more insight about Claas as a global company.


Landbased Service Engineering graduates:

Reaseheath College


  • Robbie Spurgeon, MANNS, Braintree
  • James Walsh, MANNS, Halesworth
  • Jack Brinkley, MANNS, Saxham
  • Toby Gardiner, MANNS, Saxham
  • Nick Corcoran, MANNS, Kent
  • Benjamin Harper, MORRIS CORFIELD, Broseley
  • Tobias Peissel, OLIVERS, Tingewick
  • Tobias Weeks Baker, CLAAS WESTERN, Frome
  • Robert Wheeler, CLAAS WESTERN, Cirencester
  • Connor Heath SHARNFORD TRACTORS (* unable to attend graduation)

SRUC Barony


  • Jamie Stewart, ERWINS
  • Ben Hyslop, GORDONS, Dumfries
  • Lawrence Ewart, RICKERBY, Carlisle
  • Alexander Watson, RICKERBY, Cornhill
  • Scott McLaren, SELLARS, Oldmeldrum

Claas Parts Sales & Marketing graduate:

  • Dean Jarvis MANNS, Thursford
With Agricon and Reichhardt

Manufacturer has announced two strategic business partnerships relating to Precision Ag technology that will be available from the John Deere dealer network in Europe.


John Deere has announced two strategic business partnerships relating to Precision Ag technology that will be available from the John Deere dealer network in Europe.


Firstly, the company has established a strategic partnership with Agricon GmbH, to, they say, better serve existing and future customers in agronomic digital services utilising Precision Ag technology. These will be offered as FarmSight Service Packages through the John Deere dealer network.



Based in Ostrau, Germany, Agricon is a provider of digital solutions for plant cultivation in Europe, the CIS, North Africa and the Near & Middle East (John Deere’s Region 2). The company supports farmers in using their machines, operating resources and work time more efficiently by utilising digital plant cultivation services and technologies.


This new partnership, says the company, takes advantage of their distribution and partner network and expands the dealer’s ability to adopt digital technology and fully exploit its economic value to customers.


Denny Docherty, Region 2 vice-president sales & marketing said, “Agricon has demonstrated its digital agronomic knowledge and experience for over 20 years. We are looking forward to a strong partnership that will further develop our best-in-class solutions utilising connected machinery, Precision Ag technology and the dealer channel.”


The second partnership is with the German company Reichhardt GmbH Steuerungstechnik.



This agreement covers Reichhardt’s GREEN FIT product line, which allows John Deere Precision Ag technology to be used on multiple brands of agricultural machinery. These retrofit solutions will be available from the John Deere dealer network.


Based in Hungen, Reichhardt is a provider of automation solutions for tractors, self-propelled machines and implements used in agriculture. 


Using John Deere’s distribution network, the partnership with Reichhardt will initially make AutoTrac guidance solutions available to farming customers. The partnership, says the manufacturer, increases dealers’ ability to offer guidance technology on new machinery platforms where no retrofit solutions currently exist.


Denny Docherty said, "Reichhardt has more than 35 years of knowledge and experience in vehicle systems. We are excited about cooperating to expand our range of best-in-class solutions through connected machinery, Precision Ag technology and the dealer channel.”


John Deere dealers, if necessary together with Reichhardt, will install equipment systems and provide training and service to fully meet the expectations of farmer and contractor customers.


The partnership provides a new opportunity to equip more farm machinery with John Deere’s Precision Ag solutions. The manufacturer says that customers will gain productivity improvements by automating their field operations, which will provide the foundation for future fully autonomous agricultural machines.


Both companies will be jointly represented at Agritechnica 2019 in Hanover, Germany from November 10-16, on John Deere stand C40 in Hall 13. Reichhardt will also be exhibiting on stand F44 in Hall 15.

At last week's SALTEX
The SM34 with its Innovation Award

The Cub Cadet rotary mower was crowned the winner by a panel of expert judges from a long list of entries that spanned the sports turf, grounds and landscaping industry.


The Cub Cadet Infinicut SM34 Rotary Mower was crowned the winner of the 2019 Innovation Award at SALTEX.


John Coleman, head of UK for MTD Specialty Turf Products (centre) with Tony Whelan, director of sales & marketing (right) and Vinny Tarbox, sales manager (left)


A panel of expert judges selected the SM34 from a long list of entries that spanned the sports turf, grounds and landscaping industry.

From a final shortlist of three, entries were judged on what the product offers the industry and how it makes the life of the operator easier. The panel described how the SM34 has "taken the rotary mower as we know it into the 21st century" - ticking the environmental box due to its emphasis on a modern, clean power source and utilising "the InfiniApp to eliminate spanners and grazed knuckles when adjusting the deck height."

The judges said they were also impressed by "the introduction of a revolutionary side collector", giving the operator a more comfortable and practical working position.


On receiving the award from the Institute of Groundsmanship CEO Geoff Webb, John Coleman said, “We are incredibly pleased and humbled to have scooped the Innovation Award this year. The SM34 combines concepts, ideas and customer feedback to take a product that is known but to place it firmly in the modern era. We would like to congratulate all the other finalists and say a big thank you to all of our employees involved in bringing this fantastic machine to market.”

Launched earlier in the year, the SM34 can mow in the traditional sense or be used as a stand-alone vacuum. In cut mode, the incorporation of both a front roller and rear traction roller means it delivers a striping effect usually only achieved with a professional reel mower. The company says the high carbon steel blades offer extended life, and come pre-balanced to exhibit less vibration, while the 34” cutting width combines the units lightweight design with better productivity.

Jason Moody takes on role
Jason Moody

Bringing almost three decades worth of greenkeeping experience to the position, Jason Moody will cover Wales, the Midlands and West Cheshire.


Campey Turf Care Systems has brought in new product specialist, Jason Moody, to cover Wales, the Midlands and West Cheshire.

Jason brings almost three decades worth of greenkeeping experience to the Campey team.


“This is a fantastic opportunity,” Jason said. “I hope my knowledge and experience can bring something to the business, and I’m very excited about the new challenge ahead.

“I’ve been aware of Campey during my career, and they’ve helped me throughout as a greenkeeper. I’ve seen the evolution of the company through my career and the impact they’ve had on greenkeeping. When I started in the industry, we were dressing greens by hand with wheelbarrows, and now we’re using Dakota top dressers.”

Campey managing director, Julia Campey commented: “We’re very happy to welcome Jason to the Campey team. We always aim to give customers advice from a place of experience, and Jason is in a great position to do that because the knowledge he has gained during his time as a greenkeeper and working in sales.”

Lightning detection system
Biral’s BTD-200 lightning warning system

Reesink Turfcare has expanded its range to include the lightning warning system from meteorological equipment specialists Biral.


Reesink Turfcare has expanded its range to include the BTD-200 lightning warning system from meteorological equipment specialists Biral.


Biral’s BTD-200 lightning warning system


In Britain, lightning strikes the ground about 300,000 times and between 30 and 60 people a year, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Most at risk are people who spend a lot of time outdoors in unsheltered locations, such as golfers.

Robert Jackson, irrigation sales manager for distributor Reesink, says, “It is of the utmost importance for golf clubs to keep their members safe and Biral’s BTD-200 with its accurate detection range of 22 miles warns of the most dangerous lightning risk before the first lightning strike. This can give course managers and greenkeepers up to 20 minutes to alert members.”

The company says the server software package of the system detects cloud-to-ground, intra-cloud and cloud-to-cloud lightning, charged precipitation and strong atmospheric electric fields, displaying the lightning distance in real-time on a map of the local area and the current lightning alarm level.

Robert continues, “All companies have a duty of care to make their customers aware of any possible dangers. This early warning detection system allows golf clubs to do just that, helping to protect people and equipment from the dangers of a lightning strike by providing enough advanced warning of a storm’s approach to alert staff, members, teams and the public to the risks of remaining outdoors.

“It’s a system tried and tested in the aviation industry and we’re delighted to bring it to the UK’s golf clubs and sporting venues as the brand’s sole distributor in the UK and Ireland. When you consider the chance of being struck by lightning is higher than getting a hole in one, it brings home how important having adequate warning is!”

Promotion this autumn
The promotion combines stip tillage with vegetation management

Mzuri have announced that customers who place an order for a new Pro-Til drill before 13th December 2019 will receive a free Razorback flail mower worth up to £11,630 RRP.


Mzuri have teamed up with sister company Razorback Ltd to celebrate the launch of their new range of flail mowers.


The promotion combines stip tillage with vegetation management


Launched earlier this year, the range which includes the Razorback RK DS heavy duty, front and rear mountable offset, expands Razorback’s product range to cover reach, rotary and flail mowing solutions for the agri and amenity user.

Combining these two brands, Mzuri customers who place an order for a new Pro-Til drill before 13th December 2019 will receive a free Razorback flail mower worth up to £11,630 RRP. According to the manufacturer, customers can also tailor their promotion by choosing between a flail mower, money off the entire Razorback range or money off Mzuri spare parts.

The offer can be redeemed in conjunction with Mzuri’s 0% Finance package which is available as a stand alone deal across the whole Mzuri range. 

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Sponsored Product Announcements
Only displayed battery and robotic solutions
Husqvarna's SALTEX stand

Husqvarna returned to Saltex at the NEC Birmingham this year to proudly present innovations in Battery and Robotic solutions for the landscaping industry.



Husqvarna returned to Saltex at the NEC Birmingham this year to proudly present innovations in Battery and Robotic solutions for the landscaping industry.

Amongst existing products on display, new product launches included professional battery brush cutters, battery lawnmowers, battery chainsaws and battery hedge trimmers.

A bold decision to only display battery and robotic solutions with zero petrol machines paid off.


“As battery and robotic solutions are at the forefront of Husqvarna’s vision of a more efficient, cleaner and enjoyable way of working, we felt this is what we want to talk about with our customers. We had two days of fruitful discussion about how we can help people find a smarter way of working with our new green technologies” – Jonathan Snowball, UK Product Manager (Handheld).


The new Eco Village provided an opportunity for Husqvarna to speak to visitors, Jonathan Snowball presented the new 535iRXT Battery Brushcutter and the 520iHT4 Battery Telescopic Hedgetrimmer alongside Fleet Services™. A small selection of Husqvarna Automower® high profile installations we also presented such as Blenheim Palace, Hatfield House and Tower of London to show how Automower® can work successfully in complicated and public environments.


“The 70% slope for the AWD Automower© certainly added impact and a wow factor, coupled with the open public park theme it drew people in giving plenty of space to engage and talk with visitors. We were all very busy from 10am right through until 2:30pm on both days which was really positive. We look forward to following up with some of the contacts and people over the next few weeks.” - Kevin Ashmore, UK Manager Professional.

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