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  1. #1
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    Default rotary cutter+finish mower -vs- flail mower

    I have about 10 acres of pasture to mow, and I am trying to decide which would be better attachments to own. Would I be better off with getting two attachments: rotary cutter and finish mower, or would I be better off just getting a flail mower? Basically I want the pasture to look like a nice lawn, not a rough pasture. But I also want to be able to cut the grass even if I go on vacation and it grows to 3 feet tall or more. There's Reed Canary Grass on the pasture, and it can grow really tall, really fast. It basically used to be a hay field, so there are not a lot of rocks on the pasture, but there is a gravel driveway, and that of course has a lot of rocks on it that could possibly hit the blades if I get too close to it by mistake.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    Default Re: rotary cutter+finish mower -vs- flail mower

    Well Art if you want it to look like a nice lawn that to me means cutting once a week during the growing season. If I were going to cut 10 acres once a week the only option would be a bat wing rotary mower and a good size tractor with cab. A finish mower or flail mower would give a better cut but with 10 acres you need a mower of size so mowing does not become a career.

    MarkV

  3. #3
    Super Member scott_vt's Avatar
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    Default Re: rotary cutter+finish mower -vs- flail mower

    Mornin Art,
    As Mark stated allready, thats alot of area to cut on a frequent basis ! I cut my pasture with a rotary mower usually three times durring the course of the season and it usually looks pretty good ! I cant imagine cutting it more often than that with the equipment that I own, just too labor intensive IMO ! The 1 1/2 acres around the house gets cut when it needs it with my ZTR to keep it looking nice. As Mark stated, to do the acreage on a regular basis your going to need some big equipment if you dont want to make a career of it !
    scotty

    ,,,course,,it is gas,and gas is,,well,gas,,so,,but it kills the @#$$ oughta them yellow jackets,,,thingy

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/content/...onth-scott_vt/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: rotary cutter+finish mower -vs- flail mower

    I'd go with a good quality Flail mower with some rough cut blades. It won't windrow the long grass when you cut it. It should be able to handle 3 ft grass and can certainly fly over 1 ft grass. Rocks won't hurt it too much as the smaller blades will either bend over it or get broken and they are easy to replace.

    You might be able to go wider with a finish mower but you will have to mow more often since it won't handle the 3 ft stuff very well.

    The RC cutter is great for blackberries and thick stuff like Scotch Broom or sapplings. You can get a decent cut from an RC Cutter if you set it up properly with a good flexible top link.
    A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: rotary cutter+finish mower -vs- flail mower

    It depends. Lots of variables. How big is your tractor, pto hp? How often do you want to mow? How much time do you have? How much money do you want to spend? Is your land flat?

    The higher the grass/weeds, hiller the terain, the more power you will need depending upon how fast you want to go. Something in the the 50 to 60 pto hp with a 10' rotary cutter would be a starting point. You could get by with less if you cut more often and speed is not critical and on flat land. What you don't want is globs of cut grass that sufficates the ground. You want the grass mulched to provide nutrition back to the soil. That is why grass condition at time of cut is important, sharpness of your blades and the speed at which you cut. You could say this is a situation where the tail wags the dog. The finished product dictates how fast you can go.

    Hope this helps. Lots of threads on this topic.
    Slippy

  6. #6
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
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    Default Re: rotary cutter+finish mower -vs- flail mower

    Quote Originally Posted by PBinWA
    I'd go with a good quality Flail mower with some rough cut blades.

    The RC cutter is great for blackberries and thick stuff like Scotch Broom or sapplings.
    I can tell PB is from the NW with the berries and broom. There is one fella here on TBN IslandTractor who has just begun using a flail mower after an RC and makes a good case for having one. The flail is shorter and close to the tractor for maneuvering, storage, transport, etc. The flail won't kick out the missiles like a RC so the safety improvements are very good. The flail doesn't windrow either. The cost of them is somewhat higher than an RC but really they are not that expensive.

    The safety, low cost, and small size of the thing is what would sway me. Performance sounds at least as good as an RC.

    10 acres will take a long time. How much tractor do you have? How wide is your desired swath? Really wide mowers are almost always rotary cutters but if you keep it in line with a more normal 6 or 7 feet then a flail might work for you.
    Kioti CK30HST, FEL w/toothbar, 60" RC, 60" BB, PJ 10k trailer. Weekend warrior hauling 50 miles each way.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: rotary cutter+finish mower -vs- flail mower

    I have two flail mowers and a brush hog. They are all different. The mower I prefer is an old Mott Alamo flail mower with fine cut blades. It's 6' with 99 blades and does a super job. Not great for really tall stuff where the brush hog does a better job because it uses less horse power but doesn't chop up everthing either. Flails are great but use more power. I wouldn't use the alamo in rough stuff with small trees, the blades bend more easily but it does leave a golf course finish. My other flail is a 6-1/2 foot Ford 22-124 with only 33 blades. It is a horsepower pig but it can be used in heavy brush and stems. I cut 6 acres of overgrown pasture with it yesterday. Up to 4 ft tall, heavy blackberries and 2-3ft saplings. It chopped it all up and left a very nice finish. With 42 PTO hp and a steep hill, I had to crawl through parts of it though. I use the brush hog when I have no idea what's in there and how big the rocks might be....

    C.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: rotary cutter+finish mower -vs- flail mower

    Quote Originally Posted by charleyfarmall
    I have two flail mowers and a brush hog. They are all different. The mower I prefer is an old Mott Alamo flail mower with fine cut blades. It's 6' with 99 blades and does a super job. Not great for really tall stuff where the brush hog does a better job because it uses less horse power but doesn't chop up everthing either. Flails are great but use more power. I wouldn't use the alamo in rough stuff with small trees, the blades bend more easily but it does leave a golf course finish. My other flail is a 6-1/2 foot Ford 22-124 with only 33 blades. It is a horsepower pig but it can be used in heavy brush and stems. I cut 6 acres of overgrown pasture with it yesterday. Up to 4 ft tall, heavy blackberries and 2-3ft saplings. It chopped it all up and left a very nice finish. With 42 PTO hp and a steep hill, I had to crawl through parts of it though. I use the brush hog when I have no idea what's in there and how big the rocks might be....

    C.
    Charley, when I read Art's question the 10 acres of regular mowing is what caught my attention. You have experience with several of the options being considered. On regularly mowed unobstructed pasture, how much time per acre with your 6 mowers? You have both finish and rough cut flails mowers as well as a rotary mower, how do they compare in mowing speeds?

    Thanks,
    MarkV
    Last edited by MarkV; 09-17-2007 at 08:23 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: rotary cutter+finish mower -vs- flail mower

    I'll second the other benefit of the Flail mower is it's short tail. You can get closer to things and make sharper turns with the Flail mower.

    Also, if you can get an offset Flail it is kind of nice since you only have to deal with one row of tire tracks if you mow in the right direction.

    I love my Befco Flail and I bought it used for $800. I put a new belt on it and some new finish cut blades and it works like a champ.

    I sold my Rotary Cutter after I hadn't used it all summer. The Brush Hog is a big tail for any tractor.
    A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
    -Gerald Ford

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