Video: Mower test: Pottinger Novacat 305H ED

Mechanical suspension, straightforward controls and sturdy construction make the Novacat a robust mower for everyday use. The 305H is one of the higher-spec machines, fitted with a conditioner denoted by the ED which stands for “extra-dry”.

Watch the video and read the full report below.

 

Attaching & detaching

Two hydraulic services, one single-acting and one double-acting are required when hitching on the Pottinger, which is fitted with a Category 3 linkage. The single-acting spool is used in float for mowing, while at the headlands it’s powered for lifting.

To keep things simple, all parking components are coloured yellow. It’s important that before unhitching, a clamp is put in place over the lifting ram, which stabilises the mower.

The mower can be folded either from the side or lengthways for parking and an additional stand stabilises the rig when the latter is opted for.

Pottinger is the only manufacturer to offer the choice of three transport positions, giving operators a great deal of choice depending on their particular circumstances. These are vertically upright from the side, vertically from the mower laid behind the tractor and horizontally behind the tractor, like that of the Deere and the Kuhn.

Because it uses mechanical suspension, there are no precautions when unhitching, simply put the second stand under the conditioner in place to prevent the mower from slipping backwards.

Folding

The double-acting spool moves the mower backwards or forwards into and out of work, while a rope in the cab unlocks the clamp and allows the mower bed to move into position.

The single acting spool lifts the mower either up on the headlands or into transport position both to the side and horizontally, depending on how it’s configured.

Power transmission

Two universal joints and two transfer boxes deliver power directly to the first disc bed via a shaft, which is protected by the disc drum. The rest of the mower beds are driven by an oil-immersed gear assembly and the conditioner is driven by three V-belts.

Protection

If the mower hits an obstacle, it tilts backwards thanks to a double-acting hydraulic protection system, which consists of a valve that releases pressure in the cylinder on impact. This also means the cutterbar returns to cutting position once the obstacle has been passed.

Suspension

Two large springs provide mechanical suspension. The tension of these springs can be adjusted between six settings depending on the ground conditions. The tighter the tension, the lower the pressure on the ground.

The speed at which the mower operates is also crucial, though. The lower the ground pressure, the slower you’ll have to go.

Conditioner

The double ‘V’ steel tines are mounted on rubber bushes. Measuring 2.8m wide, the conditioning rotor has 48 of these double ‘fingers’. There are seven degrees of conditioning between 1.5cm to 9cm, adjustable via a lever that’s a bit stiff to use.

Swathing

The Novacat has both swath boards and vanes, adjustable via allen bolts which can be unscrewed using the handy knife-changing tool supplied with the machine. All the panels are sliding, making them easy to change on your own as you don’t have to undo them completely, and switching from swathing to spreading is done pretty quickly.

Cutter bar

The cutterbar has a total of seven disc beds, each equipped with two knive that cut a width of 5cm each. To reduce the risk of debris effecting the discs rotation, small steel tongues are welded behind each knife.

Unfortunately, access to the cutterbar is the worst on test as it’s impossible to lock the protective skirt out of the way. But, on the upside, the side opening panel has it’s own mechanism making accessing the end of the mower very straightforward.

The Pottinger’s quick-change system is well designed, however the tool is a little cumbersome, especially for right-handed operators. It’s actually easier using one of the other wrenches from the other manufacturers.

Working width: 3.08m

Weight distribution: 150/100kg

Number of discs: 7

Conditioner speed: 900rpm

Price: £14,875

Likes:

  • Three ways of folding for transport
  • Six pressure settings
  • Ease of use

Gripes:

  • Access to the cutterbar
  • Awkward tool for changing knives
  • Having to use the second leg when unhitching