Steel Green introduces new snowplow attachment

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Steel Green Manufacturing has purchased the rights to manufacture the Z-Plow and will be producing a snowplow attachment to transform its zero-turn spreader/sprayer into a powerful sidewalk snow-removing machine with up to 350 pounds of salt-spreading capacity.

The Z-Plow was created by Eric Smith in Caledonia, Michigan, in 2012 and has been field-tested for nearly eight years. Smith will remain involved with the product as a business consultant with Steel Green Manufacturing.

“Many spreader/sprayers sit unused all winter long,” said Matt Smith, sales manager at Steel Green Manufacturing. “The SG Snowplow allows lawn care operators to maximize their equipment investment and earn revenue during the off season. When the snow season is over, uninstalling the plow is simple, and applicators can get back to fertilizing in minutes.”

The SG Snowplow is made with all stainless-steel construction and resists corrosion from salt and liquid deicer. It features a poly plow blade, which is lighter and stronger than comparable steel plows. Live hydraulics control the plow angle, down pressure, lift and float with a single joystick valve. The rubber cutting edge scrapes clean without damaging sensitive areas, and LED lights provide ample light.

The SG Snowplow is compatible with Steel Green Manufacturing models SG46 and SG52. The SG52, provides 60 gallons of liquid capacity and holds up to 7 bags of granular salt.

The company will also be selling an attachment kit for the SG Snowplow that is compatible with 2015 and newer Z Spray Mid (Intermediate) or Z Spray Max.

The SG Snowplow will be available this fall. It comes with the plow, winter tires assembly, LED lights and attachment kit, for a cost of $3,995. The attachment kit includes hydraulics, hoses, brackets and fittings, and will be compatible with other attachments available from Steel Green Manufacturing in the future. Find more at www.steelgreenmfg.com.

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GIE+EXPO, Hardscape North America launch free online portal

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LOUISVILLE – Show organizers have launched GIE+EXPO ToGo, a free online portal that will connect industry members to the new innovations they would have found at the show this October. Exhibitors are currently loading their information into the portal, which will go live in October and remain active through the end of 2020. It can be accessed via www.gie-expo.com and www.hardscapena.com starting Oct. 1.  

"As the industry adapts to our new business reality, manufacturers and suppliers are responding and looking for ways to stay connected to the thousands of outdoor power equipment dealers, retailers, landscapers and hardscape contractors they would have met at GIE+EXPO and HNA," said  Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and managing partner of GIE+EXPO. "This year, GIE+EXPO ToGo will be that point of connection." 

On the portal, visitors will find:

  • Exhibitor profiles for both GIE+EXPO and Hardscape North America that can be searched by name or product type
  • A new product spotlight where exhibitors will launch their latest innovations
  • Resources such as product specs, demo videos, special event links, brochures and more
  • Exclusive special offers

Beginning Oct. 1, visitors are encouraged to register for a free My ToGo Planner, which will allow them to save exhibitor listings, links and product information. It also provides access to show specials and discounts. Creating a My ToGo Planner will give attendees the ability to compile a must-connect-with list of exhibitors and to share saved exhibitors, products and contacts with colleagues. 

"The My ToGo Planner will be the visitor’s ticket to some exclusive opportunities within the portal," said Warren Sellers, show director. "Manufacturers and suppliers have indicated they will use this as a launch pad for their new products, and some are planning special offers. If you were looking forward to seeing new products and shopping for your company at the shows, you’ll definitely want to set up a free account and explore the portal." 

The annual trade shows are sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Professional Grounds Management Society, National Association of Landscape Professionals and Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute.

For more information visit www.gie-expo.com or www.hardscapena.com.

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Bobcat reveals lineup of new zero-turn mowers

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WEST FARGO, N.D. – During a recent livestream media event, the Bobcat Company debuted its all-new lineup of Bobcat zero-turn mowers.

With an extensive 21-machine lineup that includes both zero-turn (ZT) sit-on and zero-turn stand-on mowers (ZS), Bobcat mowers allows the company to expand upon its established presence in the landscape industry and capture additional opportunities in the turf and lawn care markets.

The new zero-turn mowers join compact track loaders, compact excavators, skid-steer loaders, compact tractors, utility products, small articulated loaders and mini track loaders in the bundle of Bobcat products in landscaping, grounds maintenance and turf applications.

The company also recently released its new line of large excavator attachments.

“We have an opportunity to bring high-performance, high-quality equipment that Bobcat is known for to the world of turf with zero-turn mowers,” said Ron Scheffler, a senior product manager. “Our customers in commercial landscaping already know Bobcat equipment, now they can round out their fleet with Bobcat zero-turn mowers. And because we know that residential turf customers are just as enthusiastic, introducing mowers is an opportunity to welcome a new audience.”

Bobcat zero-turn mowers will be manufactured in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin. They will be distributed through select Bobcat dealerships in the U.S. and parts of Canada.

Zero-Turn Mower Models
Models vary in engine, horsepower, deck width, and fuel capacity. To determine which models offer the best performance for the application, refer to each machine’s corresponding model number as shown below:
  • ZT2000
  • ZT3000
  • ZT3500 (Commercial)
  • ZS4000 (Commercial)
  • ZT6000 (Commercial)
  • ZT6100 (Commercial)
  • ZT7000 (Commercial)
 

Among the notable features are the Bullnose AirFX Cutting System, which is available on the new ZS4000 through ZT7000 zero-turn mowers. Its deep profile and bullnose design lift the grass to the blade, and it creates a powerful vacuum for a razor-sharp, uniform cut.

Meanwhile, the engine provides a major strength for professional mowing operations. The Bobcat zero-turn mowers come with a Kawasaki or Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engine, depending on the model. And with the heavy-duty Hydro-Gear transmission, landscapers can take on challenging turf conditions. The transmission features hydrostatic transaxles to quickly and efficiently power through turf. The pump and motor are housed together in a single sealed housing for better durability and reduced maintenance.

The commercial models – ZT3500 through ZT7000 – hold up to 15 gallons of fuel, and the mowers are equipped with an ergonomic design and placement of controls, pedals and gauges to ensure operation is easy and intuitive. On the right-hand side, customers can find the “comfort command center” as well as a high-back suspension seat, almond-shaped handles, anti-vibration footplate and smooth, responsive controls that provide intuitive operation.

A swing-away bumper also gives operators fast access to internal components, so tune-ups are more efficient. There’s also an additional hitch system.

Whether landscapers are working on a residential or commercial property, Bobcat zero-turn mowers can be equipped with parts and accessories that fit the job.

  • Mulching Baffle Kit
  • ECO Plate
  • Grass Catcher: Poly-Dump, 3.75 or 5.0 bushel
  • Weight Kit
  • BOSS-Vac™ Pro 12-bushel Collection System
  • BOSS- Vac™ 8-bushel Collection System
  • Deck Striping Kit
  • ZT Hitch Kit
  • No-Flat Caster Wheel Options
  • Magnetic Light Kit, 12V
  • Light Kit, Footplate
  • ROPS Kit
  • Canopy Kit

To learn more about the mowers, click here.

 

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Work Truck Week returns to Indianapolis for 2021, 2022

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FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry announced Work Truck Week will return to Indianapolis in March 2021 and 2022.

The dates and general information for the events are listed below:

Work Truck Week 2021

March 9–12, 2021

Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, Indiana

Sessions begin March 9

Exhibit hall open March 10–12

Work Truck Week 2022

March 8–11, 2022

Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, Indiana

Sessions begin March 8

Exhibit hall open March 9–11

 

The Work Truck Show features the latest vocational trucks, vans, vehicle components and truck equipment, as well as extensive educational programming, including Green Truck Summit.

The show is intended for anyone who works with commercial vehicles, including public and private truck fleet operators, manufacturers, dealers, equipment distributors and upfitters.

Registration for Work Truck Week 2021 opens this fall. Sign up to receive event information at the show’s website. 

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It’s all about fall

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Annual turf packages, which typically consist of six to seven applications, including pre-emergents, fertilizer and insect control, are a staple for LCOs. “Fall is the ideal time to renovate turf,” says Jim Foglio, president of Lasting Impressions Landscaping in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. “About 10% of our customers opt for fall packages such as aeration and overseeding, which has a huge impact for next year.”

Many companies admit that fall turf services are not necessarily a huge moneymaker, mostly because not every client opts for them. But they are still an essential part of the lineup of total turf care offerings. “Services such as aeration may provide only a small profit, but it’s more a benefit to customer retention,” says Brian Ethridge, chief technology officer with Waynes Environmental Services, based in Birmingham, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee.

“Your customers expect the service, especially for cool season grasses, and healthy lawns lead to customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals, which are huge in this business sector.”

While annual chemical treatments typically range from $5 to $10 per thousand square feet of application, services for fall turf care like aeration and reseeding usually are priced at 1.5 to 2.5 times that rate, LCOs say. Pricing also may increase depending on the complexity of the property, such as slopes or the number of gates.

Generally, the companies we spoke to for this article realize a 30 to 40 % profit margin from fall turf services.

Build in additional services.

Working fall care into your packages is a simple way of selling long-term turf health to existing contracts. For example, it’s prudent to add a fall soil testing service or a lime application to maintain soil pH as the last service of the season. Improved turf performance also keeps customers coming back year after year. “We are constantly studying what works or doesn’t,” Ethridge says. “Our mindset is that our customers are not buying applications, but rather 365 days of full-service lawn care program.”

A few companies offer a la carte turf services in autumn.

“You do occasionally get someone calling in the fall to ask if you can do anything to help their lawns,” says Erik Sweetser, president of Green Grass Lawn Care in North Hampton, New Hampshire.

“But it’s not that common. The majority of our clients opt for the annual package starting in the spring.”

Educate your clients.

It’s no use trying to sell a service your clients don’t understand. Stay up to date on turf care, and be generous about sharing your knowledge with customers. Blog, send out email newsletters and include information with billing statements. “Explain how fall work such as aeration benefits lawns now and in the future,” Foglio says.

“Teach customers that although we start improving the soil now, it will take a full season to see the effects of our efforts.”

In addition, instruct customers on how to water properly so they’re partners in working with you, not inadvertently against you, to build healthy turf that’s more resistant to stressors.

Educate your technicians.

Make sure your employees inspect turf before any product application. “We walk every lawn and look for disease, weeds and signs of insect activity prior to service,” Ethridge says.

Identifying potential problems such as thinning areas also yields an opportunity for selling services such as fall renovation that will benefit the turf health and appearance in the long-run.

Offer renovation services.

Most lawns benefit from regular aeration. Aeration improves soil impaction, reduces thatch and creates pores from the removal of soil plugs through which moisture or plant nutrients are absorbed by the soil.

“We always recommend aeration and overseeding when a lawn begins to decline,” says Linda Smith, owner of Progressive Lawn Managers in the Greater St. Louis area. “But ideally, it should be done annually.”

It’s also essential to tailor the service to the individual property. “It’s not one-size-fits-all,” Foglio says. “For example, overseeding can be lucrative, but you have to look at that specific lawn’s needs. Is it shade or sun? We don’t use the same seed for everyone. You’re not going to get good results or promote customer retention that way.”

Don’t forget that aeration should be done when grass is actively growing so it recovers quickly to fill in the openings in the turf left by the aerator.

That means fall is the ideal time for aeration of cool season grasses, which grow fast after emerging from summer stress. But warm season grasses should be aerated in spring or early summer, which is their period of active growth, Ethridge says.

Get the word out early.

Selling fall services starts early in the year. Technicians can leave information starting with the first application of the season.

Periodic email blasts, social media and notes on the bottom of electronic billing remind customers of the importance of preparing their lawns for winter.

Some companies do direct mailers or offer discounts on annual packages to new clients picked up during the fall push. The point is to get the word out repeatedly. “We make lots of mentions to keep the concept of year-round turf care ever-present in our customer’s minds,” Ethridge says.

The author is a freelance writer based in the Northeast.

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How Adding Far-red Radiation Affects Supplemental Lighting of Plant Plugs

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Lighting in Plugs Figure 2 Calibrachoa Kabloom Light Pink BlastMichigan State University researchers determine the minimum duration of far-red radiation required during plug production to induce long-day requiring plants into flower after transplant.

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Kohler cv18

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Hey guys, I’m working on an older Great Dane super surfer with the kohler cv18 engine. I got a new wiring harness for the engine because it was all hacked up and I have a new harness for the Great Dane side on its way. My question is, the new kohler harness I got is a little different from the existing one. For example, the old harness has a large black wire that grounds to the manifold and goes to the plug, the new harness has an open spot on that pin and no wire. The green wire in the old…

Kohler cv18

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Toro Z500 74296 Deck Belt Keeps Coming Off Zero Turn While Cutting

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Howdy!

I thought I had this problem resolved. I keep having to purchase new deck belts for my Toro 74296 zero turn lawn mower. It has a 60" deck. I went through 3 belts this season alone. This mower has perpendicular mower drive pulley mounted on a 27HP Kohler engine. The belt goes over this pulley in the rear, then over two perpendicular pulleys also in the rear, before getting routed to the deck in the center of the mower. I took apart the rear pulleys and cleaned them, installed a…

Toro Z500 74296 Deck Belt Keeps Coming Off Zero Turn While Cutting

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BrightView reports third quarter financial results

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BLUE BELL, Pa. – BrightView recently reported unaudited results for the third quarter ended June 30, 2020.

“Our quarterly results highlight the resiliency of our contract-based business and reflect the positive underlying trends of our strong-on-strong acquisition strategy, cash generation and liquidity, and our on-going focus on working capital and reducing capital expenditures,” said Andrew Masterman, BrightView President and CEO. “Despite ancillary softness and project delays, COVID-19 impacts to date have been modest due to our resilient contract revenue base and our earnings have benefited from cost management actions. Cash generation remains exceptional, margins strong, our capex requirements are modest, and we expect our M&A pipeline to continue to be a reliable and sustainable source of revenue growth,” Masterman said.

Masterman added that BrightView expects COVID-19 impacts to be felt "over the next few quarters as conditions remain fluid."

Third Quarter Fiscal 2020 Highlights

  • Net cash provided by operating activities of $76.2 million, an increase of 71.2% compared to $44.5 million in the prior year.
  • Free Cash Flow of $66.5 million, an increase of 385.4% compared to prior year of $13.7 million.
  • Total revenue of $608.1 million; a 7.5% decrease compared to prior year of $657.2 million.
  • Maintenance revenue of $460.0 million; a 6.5% decrease compared to prior year of $492.1 million;
    • Land revenue of $454.9 million; 6.5% decrease compared to prior year of $486.4 million.
  • Development revenue of $149.1 million, a 10.3% decrease compared to prior year of $166.3 million.
  • Net Loss of $2.4 million, or $(0.02) per share, and a net loss margin of 0.4%, compared to Net Income of $31.7 million, or $0.31 per share, and a net income margin of 4.8%, in the prior year.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $91.0 million and Adjusted EBITDA margin of 15.0%, compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $101.9 million and Adjusted EBITDA margin of 15.5% in the prior year.

Nine Months Fiscal 2020 Highlights

  • Net cash provided by operating activities of $161.9 million, an increase of 48.3% compared to $109.2 million in the prior year.
  • Free Cash Flow of $119.8 million, an increase of 208.8% compared to prior year of $38.8 million.
  • Total Revenues for the nine months were $1,737.9 million, a 2.4% decrease compared to $1,779.9 million in the prior year.
  • Maintenance revenue of $1,295.1 million; a 4.6% decrease compared to prior year of $1,358.0 million;
    • Land revenue of $1,132.0 million; 1.7% growth compared to prior year of $1,112.6 million;
    • Snow revenue of $163.1 million; a 33.5% decrease compared to prior year of $245.4 million.
  • Development revenue of $445.5 million, a 4.9% increase compared to prior year of $424.7 million.
  • Net Loss of $35.5 million, or $(0.34) per share, and a net loss margin of 2.0%, compared to Net Income of $19.3 million, or $0.19 per share, and a net income margin of 1.1%, in the prior year.

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The Latest in Ag Labor: H-2A Gets Easier, Lawsuit Over H-2B

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labor-supply-and-qualityThere’s good news and bad news when it comes to farm labor. Learn more how it could affect you.

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