Billy Goat’s Self-Propelled Overseeder
The self-propelled hydrostatic drive offers intuitive forward and reverse drive controls, which eliminate pushing, and features a simple auto release switch for transport in the off position.
Ryan Lawn & Tree, which began in 1987, is employee-owned and operates seven facilities in six cities throughout Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Our company focuses on turf applications, total tree care and shrub management, as well as irrigation services. For turf in particular, we offer weed and insect applications; fertilization; disease prevention; and seeding and aeration services.
One of the biggest challenges we face in seeding is seed-to-soil contact and watering. Our preferred method has always been to spread the seed first and verticut it into the soil. While seeding sounds simple, it is complicated. There is a lot of time involved, and the customer controls the watering. When the seed doesn’t come up, it is not unusual for a customer to say or think “bad seed.” The problem is the watering, because we know we have done our job correctly. Faster seeding tools that do an even better job in seed-to-soil contact offers us a huge time savings and additional profit potential.
The AutoDrop system automatically starts and stops seed drop with reel engagement and disengagement conserving seed. This feature allows for one-step overseeding and is a time-saver.
The Billy Goat overseeder offers us a “once over, the job is done” approach. Its advantages are the design, including hydrostatic drive and unique floating cutting head; it is not too heavy, but still powerful; and it easily adjusts and is accurate. The floating head maintains more consistent contact with the ground and improves cutting contact with the soil over fixed-head models. The seed goes down first, and then is consistently verticut into the soil, and that is what we want.
The first thing that stood out was separate grips for forward and reverse. No more having to hold the handgrip in just the right place. Simply squeeze the Billy Goat on the right for forward; squeeze the left handle, and I am in reverse. Our learning curve was quick, with no accidents. This machine performs better than if I had designed it. We seed around trees, on hillsides, on dry ground and in overly wet soils; the machine needs to be flexible, maneuverable and easy to run, and the hydrostatic drive smoothly handles these different property challenges.
After testing the Billy Goat hydrostatic overseeder, Larry Ryan bought four of them for his company, and plans on purchasing eight more by year’s end.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF RYAN LAWN & TREE.
It’s also good to see the Auto Drop feature combined with an overseeder for time savings. The benefit for us is one-step overseeding versus two. There is also an advantage to use a setting and stick with it. Currently, it is easy for an associate to not set a traditional spreader correctly, or not space the application the correct distance; either will throw off the application rate. There is also the tendency for an applicator to overapply with a traditional spreader, especially when a customer is watching. I call this “the effect principle.” With an overseeder, this is usually not an issue because the client cannot see the product coming out in the same way since the rotary spreader is eliminated. It is pretty straightforward for the operators to determine and set seed drop settings, but remember, you also have to figure out your walking speed, as that is a factor that many people overlook, but once you get it down, it will be very accurate. There is some variation with any product.
As far as the support we received from Billy Goat and their dealer, they have been over the top. We are extremely pleased with their timeliness. The seeder we tried out needed a few adjustments, but their staff came out to our place and resolved them right away. You don’t get any better than that. We really like the company behind the machine; they stand behind their work. We have purchased four of the overseeders since, and plan to purchase at least eight more by year’s end. We would not spend that kind of money if we did not believe in the product and the company. We do a lot of our overseeding in the fall because of the transition zone, and this machine offers us the potential of doubling our productivity. That is huge!