It has been said that due to the expense of developing a new machine to compete with the Big M, Krone is likely to have the self-propelled mower market to itself for the foreseeable future.

This view has now been challenged by the swiss company, ARB-Tec which has just launched an 11m machine it has called the Cutaro which has been undergoing trials this year.

Mercedes powers the Cutaro

11m is 36ft, and when conditioning is required, the demand for power is substantial – the Big M packs 450hp, the Cutara 100hp less at 350hp.

This might be thought an immediate disadvantage, yet the Swiss machine is almost half the weight of its German competitor at 8.5t against the Big M’s 15.5t.

Cutaro mower nature
Compact in size and nimble in the field, yet it boasts an 11m cut

Indeed, its light weight is the chief selling point with the company making much of this virtue and the consequent preservation of the soil structure, as well as being more agile in the field.

It is, ARB-Tech points out, designed for “careful protection of nature”. The lack of mass will save fuel, and so energy efficiency is another claimed advantage.

Yet it doesn’t stop there. Being accustomed, as we are, to consider only pesticides as a threat to insect life, it is a little surprising to see that the disengagement of the conditioning tines is highlighted as being insect-friendly rather than fuel efficient.

Feature rich, but Irish friendly?

Other features include constantly adjustable cutter disc speed and hydraulically adjustable swath former. The mower beds fold back along the body, wasp-like, rather than butterfly.

The mower also boasts hydropneumatic suspension with electronically controlled guidance, which is said to improve performance on uneven ground. Being from the Alpine region, stability is also part of its DNA.

mower Swiss alpine compact
An impressive machine in a small package, yet it remains unchallenged by an Irish first cut

However, the lack of weight comes at a cost, with one major drawback for Irish conditions being the apparent lack of 4WD.

Despite the doubts over its suitability for Ireland, the company has brought a fresh approach to the concept of self-propelled mowers, which might well give its only rival pause for thought.