R & J Barrell, PA5565 and PA6570T

A beautifully cut hedge shows off your skill as a contractor and is the best way to win new business!

That’s the verdict of Herefordshire contractors Rob and James Barrell, who believe the key to delivering a consistent, high-quality finish is to use a Power Arm with the kind of advanced feature set that allows a professional to excel at his task.

“We often get picked by customers because of the smart, tidy job we do - so the quality finish delivered by McConnel machines is very important to our success,” Rob explained. “We take a great pride in the job and we hate to see a badly cut hedge.

“What really sets McConnel machines apart is the finish. We’ve seen plenty of rival machines in action and they cut okay but the material always seems to sit on top of the hedge. McConnel flailheads are faster; deliver a far better mulch; and always leave a more attractive finish.

‘In our job cut quality is everything so there’s only one choice for us and that’s McConnel because the machines are so manoeuvrable and precise, they really enable you to be skilful.”

Rob and his son James cut around 10,000 to 12,000 acres of hedgerows a year, and also look after verge-mowing and specialist green maintenance tasks.

During the peak season they can work for up to 16 hours a day so need well-built heavy duty machines that can thrive on busy workloads.

Rob says he choose a McConnel machine because of the company’s proven track record for delivering robust, reliable machines.

He explains: “McConnel Power Arms are really well built and have excellent durability – essential for us because of the heavy workload we have.

“You can rely on a McConnel machine to keep going all day with no major issues. They are very reliable. I’ve owed my current Power Arm for four years without any serious problems.”

James has a new PA5565, while Rob prefers the extra reach and flexibility of the PA6570T with its telescopic arm extension that allows him to add or retract up to 1.0m reach on demand.

Rob also equips an Orbitor bracket which gives him an extra axis of movement for greater precision when working in confined environments.

He says: “The Telescopic arm extension is smooth and intuitive. I also use an Orbitor bracket because I work a lot of narrow lanes so it would be impossible without it. The Orbitor is also great when tackling heavy growth because it allows you to tilt the flailhead for a more open cutting action. This is ideal for the first cut and gives you a cleaner more attractive finish.”

The pair also handle verge-mowing duties and rely on McConnel’s award-winning Easy Drive System for enhanced comfort and working speed.

A hands-free floatation system that automatically adjusts the position of the cutting head to the contours of the ground up to 30 times a second, EDS enables operators to work smarter, faster and safer and mow at speeds of up to 18 km/h – more than four times the norm.

Rob says the system makes a big difference:  “EDS is extremely impressive. It makes mowing easier and faster and is far more effective than manual adjustment. The quality of the cut is very good and there’s no scalping of the ground.

‘James has gone for the hydraulic roller and it does allow you to motor on a bit. I like it too and will get one for my new machine.”

James is a big fan of REVOLUTION – McConnel’s elite Power Arm control system that works perfectly with EDS and is the most advanced in the world.

REVOLUTION delivers precise proportional control of eight different functions (as well as two further bang-bang services) and puts all key functions at an operator’s fingertips – as well as allowing full customisation.

James says: “It’s so far ahead of the competition and allows you to be extremely precise. I picked it up very quickly. It gives you an edge when hedge-cutting or verge-mowing.”

Rob and James have owned eight different McConnel machines over the years so have extensive experience of how well the company’s Power Arms perform in the field. So would the pair consider trying a rival reach arm?

Rob says: ‘We would only ever have a McConnel machine – nothing else comes close.”