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  1. #1
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    Default Bush hog hp requirements

    Is there a general rule for how much pto hp is needed for various sizes of bush hog type rotary mowers? I will be needing to cut tall (2-3ft) grass hay, lots of blackberry bushes , small diameter saplings. Am I going to need at least 25hp, or will 18 to 20 work? Any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bush hog hp requirements

    The rule of thumb is 5 HP per foot of cutter. Thus a 5 foot bush hog requires 25 HP.
    M-5040 w/cab, 05 RTV 900, Where the maple sap flows

  3. #3
    Elite Member Gatorboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush hog hp requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by dennis5150
    Is there a general rule for how much pto hp is needed for various sizes of bush hog type rotary mowers?
    Every rotary cutter should have a minimum PTO-HP spec.

  4. #4
    art
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    Default Re: Bush hog hp requirements

    Sometimes the type of terrain requires a larger tractor to hold a mower then the horsepower per foot but that is a good rule in general.

    The type of transmission also changes the requirements a bit as a hydro gives more flexibility.

  5. #5
    Super Star Member RoyJackson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush hog hp requirements

    You can do it with 18-20 HP. I used a 60" cutter behind a 16 (PTO) HP tractor. But you'll be going slow, which is a good idea if you've never cut the field before.
    As far as gear vs. hydro...either works so you mow with what you got.
    Roy Jackson

    "Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one."
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  6. #6
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush hog hp requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Deerlope
    The rule of thumb is 5 HP per foot of cutter. Thus a 5 foot bush hog requires 25 HP.
    Dennis - whereas I agree with Deerlope's rule of thumb, it should be qualified that he's talking 5 PTO horsepower per foot of rotary cutter. Another general rule is to try to get a cutter that is at least as wide as your tire tracks.

    //greg//
    USN (Ret)
    Former Chinese tractor owner (x4)
    Current John Deere owner

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bush hog hp requirements

    Dennis:

    Deerlope is correct about the rule of thumb of 5hp/ft. My practical experience indicates that you may be able to get by with a little less if you have a "light duty" mower like the Bush Hog Squealer that uses 3/8" thick blades rather than 1/2" (or even 5/8") thick blades like the medium and heavy duty Bush Hogs.

    I have both a light duty Bush Hog Squealer 480 (4' with 3/8" thick blades) and a medium duty Bush Hog 285 (5' with 1/2" thick blades). I was surprised when mowing side by side in 3' grass/weeds (an overgrown pasture) that the light duty Squealer on an 18hp (pto) tractor could travel significantly faster than the medium duty 285 on an 29hp(pto) tractor, yet the Squealer had only 4.5hp/ft and the 285 had 5.8hp/ft. I could attribute the difference only to four things: 1. The light duty mower had 3/8" x 3" blades while the medium mower had 1/2 x 4" blades; 2. the light duty blades were "flat" with no wing to create an uplift while the medium duty blades had the wing at the back of the blade ends; 3. the light duty mower had a 40hp gearbox while the medium duty had a 70hp gearbox, which probably had slightly more friction losses; and 4. with a 6" overlap on the prior cut, the actual cutting widths were 3 1/2ft and 4 1/2 ft, which changes the hp/cut ratio to 5.14 and 6.44, respectively.

    If there is a lesson in my experience it is that there are disadvantages (in addition to higher cost) in buying a heavier duty mower than is required. The light duty Squealer is rated for 1" brush, but I have used it on 2" softwoods for years and it seems to have suffered no damage. If your saplings are no larger than 2" softwood (pine, etc.) or 1 1/2" hardwood (oak, etc.), consider a "light duty" mower like the Bush Hog Squealer. You will save on the original cost, it will cut hay, grass, etc. faster than the heavier machine, and you can use a smaller tractor.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member jbrumberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush hog hp requirements

    dennis5150:

    Welcome to TBN ! Deerlope is stating the general "Rule of Thumb". I read somehere that light duty rotary cutters require 2 HP per foot and heavy duty RC's require 5 HP and that a HD unit could take on 2" diameter saplings (I am assuming soft woods.). I have no current problems going through 7A's of vegetation like yours including cutting up weeds 5' -6' and the occassional +1.5" softwood sapling with my 60" MD RC powered with 23+HP PTO. I also cut the same area with a lot more poplar sapling in the 2'' range with a 40" HD RC powered with 11HP PTO with my old tractor (It would stall out on occassion.). What you can cut also depends on whether or not your RC is light, medium, or heavy duty with the respective upgrades in metal, gear boxes, and weight with corrsponding upgrades in HP. Jay
    NH TC29DA with 14LA and HD QA 60" bucket, weighted R-1's, FOPS, CCM M-160 (58") Tiller, Tebben MD 60" Rotary Cutter, Woods LR 108 (96") Landscape Rake, FEL cutting edge and tooth bar, Woods GB60 (60") Box Blade, Wallenstein BXM32

    1995 John Deere 455 Diesel with 48" mower, MC 519 Cart with PowerVac

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bush hog hp requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Deerlope
    The rule of thumb is 5 HP per foot of cutter. Thus a 5 foot bush hog requires 25 HP.
    Based on my experience to date I think this is a good rule of thumb. I have 8 PTO hp per foot (6 ft cutter and 47 PTO hp) and I find that this setup is massively overpowered.

  10. #10
    Silver Member dweitzel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush hog hp requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by Z-Michigan
    I find that this setup is massively overpowered.
    Yea, maybe, but isn't it somewhat satisfying just knowing that you can back that thing over just about anything and grind the he** out of it?

    Sometimes I just like to "see" if I can cut it up rather than digging it out. Ok, testosterone out of my system now.

    dw
    1999 - 7360ss, 36 hp Mitsubishi, 4 cyl engine. 168 hours

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