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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    125
    Location
    Jewel Lake, ID

    Default Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    I got my latest ebay purchase yesterday, an Alamo flail mower. I've been looking locally for a year or so with no luck. I thought I'd post my first impressons of the machine and operation. Pics coming over the weekend.

    My impression of the unit is that it's a tank. Side walls look to be 5/16" the main housing 1/4" or better, the roller equally robust. I think it's what I'm going to want for my use. I have 20 acres of uneven, rocky ground with lots of brush and plenty of hidden stumps and logs.

    First impressions of operation:

    * With the roller raised a flail mower makes like a rototiller.

    * Using a flail mower as a tiller in rocky ground makes for lots of "flail tinkle".

    * Former owner wasn't too bright, roller wasn't adjusted equally side to side.

    * A floor jack makes adjusting roller height fairly painless.

    * Unit works much better with roller adjusted. Cutting heavy grass and light brush went very well, tractor doesn't seem to feel the load and cut looks good, given what I'm cutting. The tractor turns the flail fine at low RPM, seems to cut much better with 2000 RPM (450 PTO) or more.

    * Clumps of heavy, 1-2" brush bend over readly under the weight of the mower and don't seem to strain the mower frame or roller at all. It doesn't cut much going backwards, the roller holds them down, but forward cut knocks down the bulk of it. With this material it leaves quite a few stripped stalks that pop back up. Sharpening/reversing the flails might help, they are pretty worn. Also, I have the light (standard) flails on it, heavier ones might help.

    * Large rocks and hidden stumps create a lot of "flail tinkle", but don't seem to do much damage. Makes me wonder about the heavier flail blades, they might knock down brush and small stumps better, but the extra weight might add drama with rocks.

    * Barbed wire and flails combine to make unpleasant noises.

    * "They don't make them like they used to" applies to barbed wire. This old stuff was thick. No damage to the mower.

    * I was impressed how quiet and vibration free mowing in nasty stuff is with a flail. I didn't notice any "projectiles" evey after hitting some softball to basketball sized rocks.

    * Getting brush under control probably should be done in the spring before it leafs out, or after the leaves drop in the fall. Seems like it would be a whole lot easier to see obsticles and avoid them.

    * Trying to type a long post with a new kitten walking across the keyboard every couple of minutes is very aggrevating.

    I think I'm going to be happy with this impliment. My intentions are to use this once or maybe twice a year just to keep brush under control in my forest. Once I get the heavy brush knocked down and the stumps cut back, I think this work well for my use.

    I'll probably spring for a set of the forged, "heavy duty" (M-108318) blades from Flailmaster. At $1.45 each times 72 flails, it's not too bad. It will be interesting to see how they compare to the standard ones. One nice thing about the standard blade (100759), at $.70 each it's not painful when one needs to be replaced. At that price, I'm not sure it's worth sharpening them, run one side, flip it and toss might be in the works.
    Kubota L3240HST, LA 724 FEL, filled R4s
    Landpride RBT3584 with hydraulic offset and angle
    Box blade and Jap tiller
    Broken Shibaura D23F

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    306
    Location
    Barton NY
    Tractor
    JD 5420 MFWD 541 FEL JD X758

    Default Re: Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    I've wanted a flail mower for years, but haven't found the right one at the right price. Your impressions seem spot on.

    FYI, my hay mower is a New Idea 272 Cut/Ditioner (see pictures). It is a 7' wide cut flail mower on steroids (overall width nearly 10'). The flails are ~ 5" wide and are made of some thick steel (never measured, but I would say 1/4"). On the rare ocassion that I hit a small tree (1"), it strips the bark and leaves the majority of the stem. So heavier flails are not necessarily the answer. Sharper flails and slower ground speed will give a cleaner cut.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -ni-272-cutditioner_macro-jpg   -ni-272-cutditioner_flails-jpg   -ni-272-cutditioner_gear-box-jpg  
    Last edited by burnetma; 05-29-2009 at 02:08 AM. Reason: Adding Pictures
    5420 MFWD w/541 MSL FEL - Only 900 hours and turning green.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    Very informative post. Thanks!

    I just bought one of these and am planning on firing it up on the weekend. I am anxious to see how it cuts thick grass when going in reverse. (I have new, sharp knives).

    -dbk123

  4. #4
    Gold Member sunspot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    414
    Location
    Rural Birmingham, AL
    Tractor
    Ford 3910 86'

    Default Re: Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    Ain't flails great

    dbk123, if your unit is anything like other flails, forget about reverse. That's the one little drawback vs a RM.
    Dana in Alabama

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    125
    Location
    Jewel Lake, ID

    Default Re: Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by burnetma View Post
    I've wanted a flail mower for years, but haven't found the right one at the right price. Your impressions seem spot on.

    FYI, my hay mower is a New Idea 272 Cut/Ditioner (see pictures). It is a 7' wide cut flail mower on steroids (overall width nearly 10'). The flails are ~ 5" wide and are made of some thick steel (never measured, but I would say 1/4"). On the rare ocassion that I hit a small tree (1"), it strips the bark and leaves the majority of the stem. So heavier flails are not necessarily the answer. Sharper flails and slower ground speed will give a cleaner cut.

    Thanks for the info on that. Those cutters are pretty massive, I'd have guessed they would have chopped 1" material like an ax. I'll spend some time replacing/sharpening/flipping mine over the weekend and see if it whittles through the thick stuff better. I'd guess you're right about ground speed. Since all sides of the stem are being stripped it would seem that the flails are making contact all the way around, hence more time might allow them to whittle things down to mulch. I'm also thinking that letting these stripped stalks dry out should make them more brittle and more readily cut. What dry, woody stalks I have seem to get ground up better than green woody stuff, which bends over more.

    One other little issue I should mention, old, rotten stumps are pretty well pulverized into mulch. Glad to see this in that I have quite a few. I'm also pretty impressed how most cuttings are mulched, they just seem to disapear.

    I'd be curious to see how this works vs a rotary in the same material. I'd be concerned about projectiling rocks given what I'm hitting, plus the potential for blade damage and lots of noise and vibration with a rotary. On the other hand, I'd guess one would chop through some of this thick brush a little better.

    dkb, I'll be looking forward to comparing notes. I mowed a creek bottom with some 4 foot tall grass and small, dense brush, seemed to go through it like it wasn't there. That was going forward though. One thought, has anyone tried removing the rear roller when cutting (backing) into thick stuff? Seems like it would keep from flattening down brush clumps prior to cutting. I didn't think about it before, but raising the rear roller (and controlling the cutting height via 3pt) might work too-the roller still acts as a bumper to protect the housing, but the flails would be more exposed to whittle on brush.
    Kubota L3240HST, LA 724 FEL, filled R4s
    Landpride RBT3584 with hydraulic offset and angle
    Box blade and Jap tiller
    Broken Shibaura D23F

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Flatheadyoungin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,074
    Location
    Southern, OH
    Tractor
    New Holland TC45 Shuttle

    Default Re: Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    hey, sounds good....glad you're pleased......there's always a worry when you purchase something new as to whether or not it'll perform as you want...

    even my new replacement blades are NEARLY as sharp as the ones i sharpened with my angle grinder......time consuming but basically free....

    yes, acts just like a rototiller.....and will leave little lines in the dirt.....

    i really love how there's pretty much nothing left behind.....just pulverizes it....
    TC45 Shuttle, 270 hours, 758C backhoe, 16LA loader

    Well, I looks like I just bought myself a lot of work.....

  7. #7

    Default Re: Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    I thought about raising the mower a bit when going in reverse too. I will give it a try this weekend assuming that things dry out from 2 1/2 days of straight rain here in Vermont.

    -dbk123

  8. #8
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    125
    Location
    Jewel Lake, ID

    Default Re: Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by dbk123 View Post
    I thought about raising the mower a bit when going in reverse too. I will give it a try this weekend assuming that things dry out from 2 1/2 days of straight rain here in Vermont.

    -dbk123
    In brush anyway, just raising the mower doesn't seem to do much, the roller bends the brush over and it doesn't touch the flails. Now, doing so with the roller raised might have different results.
    Kubota L3240HST, LA 724 FEL, filled R4s
    Landpride RBT3584 with hydraulic offset and angle
    Box blade and Jap tiller
    Broken Shibaura D23F

  9. #9

    Default Re: Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    That seems reasonable. I suspect the same thing will happen in tall grass. My fields are about 6-8" tall now and very dense grass with a few weeds scattered in. We'll see what happens.

    -dbk123

  10. #10
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    125
    Location
    Jewel Lake, ID

    Default Re: Alamo SHD74 Flail Mower First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by dbk123 View Post
    That seems reasonable. I suspect the same thing will happen in tall grass. My fields are about 6-8" tall now and very dense grass with a few weeds scattered in. We'll see what happens.

    -dbk123
    Have you had a chance to try it out yet? I'm guessing that with 6-8" tall grass you'll be able to drive through it as fast as you are comfortable driving and the tractor won't feel the load. I mowed similar grass along my road, no issues and did a nice job.

    I just tried a limiter chain rather than the top link. I didn't like the results in my conditions, the flail is short enough that the chain allows a lot of change in angle of the mower, the flails ride up and down alot as the mower pivots. I put the top link back on.

    Flatheadyoungin, thanks for the reply and the one on my other post about blades. I've been holding off responding until I had some experience and something useful to add.
    Kubota L3240HST, LA 724 FEL, filled R4s
    Landpride RBT3584 with hydraulic offset and angle
    Box blade and Jap tiller
    Broken Shibaura D23F

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