Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.
House Votes to Overturn OSHA Recordkeeping Rule
On March 1, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to overturn an OSHA recordkeeping rule that was passed during the Obama administration and took effect in January. The next step is Senate approval, which is anticipated, before it lands on President Donald Trump’s desk, where it’s expected to be signed into law.
The House voted 231 to 191 to block a rule that clarified employers’ obligation to record all injuries and illnesses for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness — a period of five years. According to OSHA, “the duty does not expire just because the employer fails to create the necessary records when first required to do so.”
Alabama Republican Bradley Byrne, who introduced the legislation that was passed by the Republican-controlled House, called the OSHA rule a “power grab.” The Senate is expected to follow suit, and President Trump is expected to sign both bills. Some observers say the vote signals the beginning of regulatory rollbacks expected to characterize the Trump White House.
Altoz’s New TRX Shipping to Dealers
Altoz has began shipping for the new tracked zero-turn mower last week. TRX was introduced to the industry in October and received a 2016 Pro Tool Innovation Award. Altoz tracks are specifically designed for the TRX with track patterns for maximum traction and stability yet minimal ground disturbance when turning. TRX models include the choice of either Altoz’s Aero Deck finish cut deck or an all-terrain deck, both available in 61-inch or 66-inch widths.
John Deere Partners with Kespry
John Deere and the drone-tech startup Kespry announced a partnership while in Las Vegas at CONEXPO. Kespry offers cloud-based software and big data analytics, as well as their own unmanned aerial vehicles. A predecessor that does not have its own hardware to offer but does provide sophisticated software and analytics to the same industries, Airware, has a similar partnership with and an equity investment from Caterpillar.
Bobcat Announces Latest Leasing and Warranty Plans
Bobcat is bundling lease offers with extended warranty programs. Bobcat is offering a leasing option packaged with an extended warranty program called the Protection Plus warranty. All new Bobcat skid-steer loaders, all-wheel steer loaders, compact track loaders, mini track loaders, compact excavators, utility vehicles, Toolcat utility work machines, VersaHANDLER telescopic tool carriers are eligible to lease.
LawnStarter Survey Shows LCOs Forecast Higher Revenue in 2017
In LawnStarter’s annual survey of lawn care business owners, 91 percent of lawn care providers in the U.S. say they expect revenue to rise this year compared with last year. Six percent of the providers we surveyed indicate their revenue will be the same this year as last year, while 3 percent anticipate lower revenue in 2017. In line with their revenue expectations, 52 percent of lawn care providers list getting more customers as their biggest business concern this year, followed by hiring qualified people (22 percent) and maintaining cash flow (15 percent).
Gravely Unveils Commercial for National Advertising Campaign
Gravely unveiled a new commercial, which showcases the brand’s professional zero-turn mowers. This commercial will be used as part of the brand’s national advertising campaign for spring 2017. Gravely’s “Built to Mow the Distance” TV spot was created to show what landscapers put their mowers through. The TV spot will be shown on a variety of nationally-airing programs, including the SEC network, NCAA basketball tournament, Fox News, CNN, select MLB in-game programs and more. Gravely commissioned Cramer-Krasselt, a national award-winning agency, to lead the development and creation of the commercial.
Irrigation Association Acquires Irrigation & Green Industry Magazine
The Irrigation Association has announced the acquisition of Irrigation & Green Industry magazine from ISG Communications, Inc. The acquisition, which was over a year in the making, was finalized on Feb. 28. Irrigation & Green Industry magazine is a monthly publication focused on the business of landscape and irrigation. It is a national magazine with circulation of nearly 47,500. Headquartered in Reseda, California, the magazine was founded in 1995 by Denne Goldstein. The current magazine staff will remain in place in California, and Goldstein will remain an integral part of the publication.
Greenworks Launches 60-Volt Line of Battery-Powered Equipment
Greenworks Tools announced that it has expanded its cordless outdoor power equipment offering with the introduction of its new 60-volt family of products. The Greenworks Pro 60-volt battery platform utilizes lithium-ion technology in combination with brushless electric motors to provide power and torque, while reducing noise and vibration, and completely eliminating emissions. The core line is comprised of the 60-volt Mower, String Trimmer, Hand-held Axial Blower, Hedge Trimmer, Chainsaw, and Backpack Blower. Additional 60-volt specialty tools – like the Pole Hedge Trimmer – and other accessories will also be available. The same battery can power all of the products in Greenworks’ 60-volt offering.
Toro Reports Record First Quarter Results
The Toro Company reported net earnings of $45.0 million, or $0.41 per share, on a net sales increase of 6.1 percent to $515.8 million for its first quarter ended February 3, 2017. In the comparable fiscal 2016 period, the company delivered net earnings of $39.3 million, or $0.35 per share, on net sales of $486.4 million. The company continues to expect revenue growth for fiscal 2017 to be about 3 to 4 percent, and now expects net earnings per share to be about $2.25 to $2.30 for the year. For the second quarter, the company expects net earnings to be about $1.00 per share. Professional segment net sales for the first quarter were $371.8 million, up 9.7 percent from $338.8 million last year. Professional segment earnings for the first quarter were $68.2 million, up 10.7 percent from $61.6 million in the same period last year.
Massey Services Acquires Insight Pest Solutions
Massey Services has announced the purchase of Insight Pest Solutions of Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina. Massey currently has residential service centers in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina.
STIHL Recalls Chain Saws Due to Fire and Burn Hazards
About 100,000 STIHL chain saws have been recalled that were sold at authorized STIHL dealers nationwide from July 2012 through December 2016 for about $1,000. STIHL has received 117 reports of pinched or leaking fuel lines. No fires, property damage or injuries have been reported. Users should immediately stop using the recalled chain saws and return them to an authorized STIHL dealer for a free inspection and free repair.
Heaviland Landscape Management Reports 2016 Water Savings Numbers
While the drought in San Diego County may be over, the recent years-long dry spell will continue to impact Southern California residents and its landscape for years to come. Heaviland Landscape Management’s 2016 commercial landscape and irrigation renovations are projected to save San Diego more than 14 million gallons of potable water annually. Two categories of commercial landscaping projects contribute to the projected water savings calculations: turf removal projects and recycled water retrofit projects. These water savings projections are based on the State of California’s estimated water use calculations.
Senninger Launches New Interactive Pivot Products Catalog
Senninger has announced the launch of the new interactive pivot products catalog for computers and mobile devices. The newest version has information on product features, benefits, and installations, with the aid of application photos and videos. The Senninger interactive pivot products catalog expands on current Senninger literature (brochures and catalogs) to help dealers show growers which Senninger irrigation product is better for their fields, and what solutions they can implement to address various irrigation issues.
Read last week’s industry news: JCB Partners with Williams Martini Formula One Racing