Northern machinery manufacturer Quad-X has spent the last few years liaising closely with a number of farmers and contractors to develop a range of toppers to add to their extensive range of quad equipment.
Among the land-management machinery developed by the Co Antrim firm are a number of mowers that can be worked behind tractors, quads or UTVs.
Quad-X offers a range of mowers including flail mowers and shredder mowers for both tractor and quad. The tractor mowers are available in six widths, from 4ft up to 9ft.
The flail mowers are ideal for general topping of grassland and weeds.
The shredder mowers have been designed specifically for dealing with heavier vegetation thanks to optimal material flow through the deck and rotor. Using the shredder for grass topping will result in a finer chop and faster travel speed.
In comparison with a conventional tractor topper, the Quad-X tractor shredder is a bigger investment but it avoids the problem of a sward-like finish which can reduce grass growth by leaving larger lengths and clumps of rushes.
The shredder chops the rushes and material very finely into a mulch-like material and spreads them more evenly. Surprisingly, cut rushes contain 70pc of the NPK value of farmyard manure and put humus back into the land. So by using the shredder to cut rushes, Quad-X claims you are also fertilising the ground to help boost grass growth and profitability.
The tractor shredder is designed with special blades that have a double link to prevent stone damage by being able to tuck up around the rotor.
Extra-wide adjustable skids are fitted as standard, which are useful if working on soft ground.
A double-skin body made from special alloy steels ensures minimum weight with maximum strength to suit soft ground conditions. With most stock farmers using 80-90hp tractors, Quad-X has developed a range of shredders to ensure impressive capabilities with smaller tractors, which gives the advantage of being lighter and causing less damage.
Arthur Lagan, development engineer at Quad-X, explained: "The shredder rotor runs at a much higher speed than a tractor flail mower and up to three times faster than a tractor topper for more cuts per stalk and a finer chop.
"Our shredder has been shown to reduce diesel cost by up to 12pc compared to a tractor flail thanks to less load on the engine. Thanks to the multi-position feature, you can cut anywhere from directly behind to fully offset. It also has the ability to angle up and down. This means the 3-in-1 can be used not only for topping and shredding, but for hedges/ verges and embankments."
Quad-X has developed a range of shredders offering a choice of six widths from 4ft to 9ft, with the 3-in-1 available up to 6ft. Options include three different rotors and blade selections to suit your vegetation, ground type and how fine a chop you want.
Quad-X also manufactures a range of ATV-mounted rotary and flail mowers ideal for topping grass and weeds such as docks, thistles and nettles in areas where tractor access may be difficult.
The extreme-duty wildcut mower is ideal if you have heavy rushes, bracken or heather to cut.
Quad-X has also been working on other new developments to meet the demand for general topping machinery to cut hard grass and boost regrowth.
It is currently finalising a range of tractor-mounted toppers in 11ft to16ft widths.
The advantage of these is primarily ease of access in tight gateways and narrow laneways, or when mowing among trees.