For Gordon Black, going wider to deliver more mowing capacity, helps to make the most of short weather windows around Cormiston Towers Farm, Biggar, south Lanarkshire.


“I had been using an old Kverneland-Taarup front-rear combination, with a swath belt, which had been great,” he says. “Though a triple with nylon tines looked an easier way to find more output, without needing a bigger tractor.”

Gordon Black

 With cattle housed at Cormiston Towers on a bed and breakfast arrangement for nearby livestock producers, high quality baled silage has become an essential part of the enterprise. Each season he cuts around 700 acres, including mowing for a neighbour, and sought to improve output, reducing the time it takes to make high dry matter baled silage. “If we can improve forage quality, the livestock will also benefit,” he says. “Weather windows have become more unpredictable, so it’s important to drop the grass, ted it, rake it and bale it within a couple of days. And this made the swap to a triple, a no-brainer.”

 Supplied by Ross of Lanark, he opted for a 5087MN butterfly unit with nylon tine conditioner. This kept the weight down compared to a steel-tined unit, and could be comfortably handled by his MF 7618 tractor. “I’m not interested in racing around and shaking machinery to bits, and I’m always mindful of compaction and staying off the land until conditions are right,” he says. “A wider cut gives a useful increase in productivity, and with lightbar guidance, I can make the most of the working width and enjoy what I do.”

 Kit is stored undercover each night, contributing to strong residual values and overall longevity, which helps to reduce the cost of upgrading. “Machinery has become a big investment and needs to be looked after just as well as tractors,” he adds. “There’s plenty of life left in my 17-year old Taarup 3532F front mower, which has proved a cost-effective purchase. And I’m expecting similar longevity from the 5087MN.”