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  1. #1
    Elite Member KentT's Avatar
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    Power Trac PT 425

    Default Brush mowing steep slopes

    Just bought an overgrown 15 acre farm that has some steep hillsides -- at least 30 degrees, maybe more -- to mow and clear up. I can clear a lot of it with my Power Trac and 48" brushcutter, but there's some places too steep or too constrained (no runout, no turnaround, etc.). Plus, my Kohler's pressure-lube oil system is limited to 25 degrees. I have all sorts of needed attachments for the PT that makes it a "must-keep" scenario for use... so changing to a Ventrac or Steiner is not an option.

    So, I'm looking for something 2-wheeled to handle the steeper areas, the treeline, etc., to minimize the use of a weed-whacker/brushblade. After a lot of research, I'm leaning toward the following USED machines:

    1. Used DR weed/brush mower, with pressure lube engine AND locking differential. From what I've found, the locking diff came and went over the years, and I have to make sure the machine has both those features. That would allow me to also use it to mow the lawn which also has steep spots.

    2. Used BCS tractor, but I am unsure of which models would be best suited. The BCS approach would allow me to initially clear it with a brush-cutter, then later maintain it with a sicklebar, while also replacing my 20+ year old Troybilt tiller at some point...

    I've so far eliminated the following:

    1. Gravely - because they're heavy, most (if not all) are splash lubed, and trying to find one with steering brakes is like looking for a needle in a haystack...

    2. Billy Goat & Swisher because neither have locking diff, and reviews are mixed.

    Any suggestions on what specific BCS models might work, since I know little about them...

    Any other alternatives that I've missed?

    Any feedback on using the DR or a BCS in these types of hillsides?

    How does the BCS finish mower perform for mowing the lawn?

    Thanks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -dsc05683-jpg   -dsc05674-jpg   -dsc05675-jpg   -dsc05678-jpg  
    Last edited by KentT; 05-05-2012 at 12:54 PM.
    Power Trac PT-425 w/numerous attachments
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  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Brush mowing steep slopes

    Why fight it? Let the steep slopes go back to forest.

    Bruce

  3. #3
    Platinum Member farmerboybill's Avatar
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    Southwestern Wisconsin
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    BCS 850 diesel and 735 diesel

    Default Re: Brush mowing steep slopes

    When searching for diff lock, you'll be looking for the following models - 730 w/diff, 732, 735, 737, 604, 605, 830, 850, 852 or 853.

    Lets eliminate a few, shall we?

    First - those without brakes. 730 w/diff, 732. Both can have brakes added after the fact, but they have a few more pitfalls. The 730 with Diff lock is very hard to find because they made them only a couple years. Most 730s are solid axle. Also, the handlebars a a little light. The 732 is a nicely built machine, but overpriced when considering the loss of brakes and lack of a third working speed.

    Second, those with limited ground speed - 730 w/diff lock, 732, 735. these three have two working speeds in mowing mode - .7 mph, and 1.7 mph. This can be sped up 20% with taller tires, but they're still slow. Slow is fin when you're in tight, difficult areas, but not for open areas.

    Third, those with front mount only - 604. It's a fine machine for front mount only attachments, but if you ever decide to own a tiller, you're SOL.

    This leaves you with the 737, 605, 830, 850, 852, and 853.

    The 737 is a good all-around machine. It has three working speeds forward and reverse. It has a reverser, and the brakes are easily used. Fourth gear is transport and in tilling mode.

    The 605 is the twin to the 737 - only difference being fourth transport is in mowing mode

    The 830 and 850 are the same machines, but the 830 came with smaller tires (sometimes) and smaller engines. This model has stops at every gear to make shifting easier, easily accessed brakes, and heavier duty 3 dog PTO. Transport gear is in mower mode.

    The 852 and 853 are like the 605 and 737 - twins, except the 852 has transport in mower mode and the 853's transport is in tiller mode. There are other points you have to watch on these models. First, some had the brake levers on the steering column. They're a little more of a pain to access. Also, being the newest machines and currently in production (until they force the powersafe down our throats) they're gonna be the highest priced used models.

    My own personal machine is an 830 I mounted an 11 hp Lombardini diesel to. It's a very nice machine.

    BCP - I have about 80 acres of solid woods and it's overgrown with non-native invasives - Buckthorn, Honeysuckle, Honey locust, Multiflora Rose, etc. Right now, I need to get a skid steer mounted mulcher to take down the big stuff, but once it's cleaned out, I need to run through it with smaller mowers to keep the invasives from taking over again. I imagine Kent is thinking similarly
    BCS 850 w/ Kohler Diesel, 30" tiller, Berta double rotary plow, 18 inch combined ridger, Caravaggi BIO90 chipper, Bellon 32"rough cut mower, Del Morino 26 inch rough cut mower, trencher, 2 way plow, ridger,

    Deere 60, 2040, 3020, 4010, 4430, and all the implements to work 'em

  4. #4
    Elite Member KentT's Avatar
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    Power Trac PT 425

    Default Re: Brush mowing steep slopes

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerboybill View Post
    This leaves you with the 737, 605, 830, 850, 852, and 853.

    The 737 is a good all-around machine. It has three working speeds forward and reverse. It has a reverser, and the brakes are easily used. Fourth gear is transport and in tilling mode.

    The 605 is the twin to the 737 - only difference being fourth transport is in mowing mode

    The 830 and 850 are the same machines, but the 830 came with smaller tires (sometimes) and smaller engines. This model has stops at every gear to make shifting easier, easily accessed brakes, and heavier duty 3 dog PTO. Transport gear is in mower mode.

    The 852 and 853 are like the 605 and 737 - twins, except the 852 has transport in mower mode and the 853's transport is in tiller mode. There are other points you have to watch on these models. First, some had the brake levers on the steering column. They're a little more of a pain to access. Also, being the newest machines and currently in production (until they force the powersafe down our throats) they're gonna be the highest priced used models.

    My own personal machine is an 830 I mounted an 11 hp Lombardini diesel to. It's a very nice machine.
    Thanks! This is exactly the kind of feedback that I was looking for...

    And yes, it is overgrown with non-native invasives in several areas. I may selectively leave some native trees, but the rest needs to be brought under control. Thank goodness that I've seen no evidence of Kudzu at this point, largely honeysuckle and privet hedge...
    Power Trac PT-425 w/numerous attachments
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  5. #5
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    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Smile Re: Brush mowing steep slopes

    Quote Originally Posted by KentT View Post
    Just bought an overgrown 15 acre farm that has some steep hillsides -- at least 30 degrees, maybe more -- to mow and clear up. I can clear a lot of it with my Power Trac and 48" brushcutter, but there's some places too steep or too constrained (no runout, no turnaround, etc.). Plus, my Kohler's pressure-lube oil system is limited to 25 degrees. I have all sorts of needed attachments for the PT that makes it a "must-keep" scenario for use... so changing to a Ventrac or Steiner is not an option.

    So, I'm looking for something 2-wheeled to handle the steeper areas, the treeline, etc., to minimize the use of a weed-whacker/brushblade. After a lot of research, I'm leaning toward the following USED machines:

    1. Used DR weed/brush mower, with pressure lube engine AND locking differential. From what I've found, the locking diff came and went over the years, and I have to make sure the machine has both those features. That would allow me to also use it to mow the lawn which also has steep spots.

    2. Used BCS tractor, but I am unsure of which models would be best suited. The BCS approach would allow me to initially clear it with a brush-cutter, then later maintain it with a sicklebar, while also replacing my 20+ year old Troybilt tiller at some point...

    I've so far eliminated the following:

    1. Gravely - because they're heavy, most (if not all) are splash lubed, and trying to find one with steering brakes is like looking for a needle in a haystack...

    2. Billy Goat & Swisher because neither have locking diff, and reviews are mixed.

    Any suggestions on what specific BCS models might work, since I know little about them...

    Any other alternatives that I've missed?

    Any feedback on using the DR or a BCS in these types of hillsides?

    How does the BCS finish mower perform for mowing the lawn?

    Thanks!



    Hello Kent,

    I will candidly tell you that a 2 wheel tractor or any rubber tired tractor is not for this mess and I will tell you why.

    The angle of attack and the angle of the slope are the two issues you are dealing with; as you say there is no means of turning around you have NO angle of attack which is the angle the tractor approaches the incline.

    You will be much better off renting or hiring the largest skid steer loader with tracks that has a brush mower on it as the angle there is much more than 45 degrees and that is unsafe to walk with a 2 wheel tractor or any 2 wheel tractor!!!

    The other thing is that side hill mowing is out of the question as the angle is much greater than 15 degrees as well.

    You do not appear top have enough room from bottom to top to create switchbacks to allow you to ascend or desend the slope anyway.



    Its a situation where a lot of weed killer is the only solution as the contractor or owner had no desire to fix it when the home was built but if you have drilled well that is not a good combination.The issue is stability and a two wheel tractor foes not and will have enough weight, traction or tread to deal with this.

    Having someone come in with a mulcher head on an excavator or a timberjack tracked tree feller is the best way to deal with this angle as the tree feller can tilt to maintain a level machine at all times.

    Its just to steep to work safely with a 2 wheel tractor as the tractor will run out of adhesion before it runs out of hill and gravity will not be your friend in this case.
    Last edited by leonz; 05-06-2012 at 12:30 AM. Reason: spelling whoopsie

  6. #6
    Elite Member KentT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brush mowing steep slopes

    Quote Originally Posted by leonz View Post
    Hello Kent,

    I will candidly tell you that a 2 wheel tractor or any rubber tired tractor is not for this mess and i wil tell you why.
    I appreciate the candid response. However, paying someone to come with expensive machinery on a regular basis to maintain it is simply not an option -- I can't afford it. I'll just have to do what I can safely do, and go from there...

    The first item is to see how far I can climb those slopes with my Power-Trac with the brush-cutter raised, before losing traction. Note that the Power-Trac also lifts and tilts its front-mounted cutter, so I can handle that angle of attack, where I do have runout at the bottom.
    Power Trac PT-425 w/numerous attachments
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  7. #7
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    CNH 4020

    Default Re: Brush mowing steep slopes

    Quote Originally Posted by KentT View Post
    I appreciate the candid response. However, paying someone to come with expensive machinery on a regular basis to maintain it is simply not an option -- I can't afford it. I'll just have to do what I can safely do, and go from there...

    The first item is to see how far I can climb those slopes with my Power-Trac with the brush-cutter raised, before losing traction. Note that the Power-Trac also lifts and tilts its front-mounted cutter, so I can handle that angle of attack, where I do have runout at the bottom.
    Has the area in your pictures been strip mined in the past? If so be very careful of what outcrops might be hiding in the brush and of sinkholes.

  8. #8
    Elite Member KentT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brush mowing steep slopes

    Quote Originally Posted by pacerron View Post
    Has the area in your pictures been strip mined in the past? If so be very careful of what outcrops might be hiding in the brush and of sinkholes.
    No stripmining... just steep hills.

    There's shale rock that is close to the surface in some areas... most of the land is of zero value for anything other than pasture -- and privacy.
    Power Trac PT-425 w/numerous attachments
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  9. #9
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    John Deere 3038E

    Default Re: Brush mowing steep slopes

    I'd consider renting or obtaining a small heard of goats. They do wonders here at cleaning invasives off slopes.

  10. #10
    Elite Member KentT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brush mowing steep slopes

    Quote Originally Posted by DKCDKC View Post
    I'd consider renting or obtaining a small heard of goats. They do wonders here at cleaning invasives off slopes.
    I've considered that... as a last resort, but goat-proof fencing can be a challenge all its own, as I understand it. It has 4 strands of barbed wire around it, but that won't contain goats, I don't think...
    Power Trac PT-425 w/numerous attachments
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