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  1. #1
    Silver Member
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    Feb 2004
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    St. Clair, Michigan
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    2000 TC40D, TnT, 758B BH

    Default Flail Mower advice

    I've owned a used John Deere 25A flail mower for a couple of years now and I've used it sparingly around my 5 acres to keep the weeds down. The mower is 50 plus years old but is in really good condition, I did put on a new belt when I bought it, and I put a couple of pumps of grease in each fitting each time I use it. My tractor is a New Holland TC 40D, hydro that handles the flail without any problems.
    I've been approached by a business land owner about mowing a large field for them. The field is supposedly composed of wild flowers and weeds and no sapplings or woody brush. It is however 40 acres in size. The 25A is only 78" wide and has what I'll call scoop type hammer knives like these GE709-P fits Rears & Vrisimo - $1.48 : Hard Hitter, Wear Parts With Muscle. I estimate it would take me 30 plus hours to cut it. I'm not interested in buying another cutter or renting something.
    For any of you with more experience using a flail am I dreaming here or is this feasible? Will the belt last through it? Is my time estimate reasonable and what would be a good hourly rate $50 - $75?
    Thanks, Bud

  2. #2
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    6,453
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    Northern California-Tehama Co.
    Tractor
    2008 Mahindra 5525, 1964 MF-135 diesel, 1951 Farmall Super A, 1951 Minneapolis Moline BF, 1945 Oliver 60 Row Crop, 1949 JD B widefront

    Default Re: Flail Mower advice

    40 acres with a 6-1/2 ft wide flail--no way I'd do it. Wrong implement. Way too slow compared to a rotary mower (aka brush hog, bush hog, shredder, slasher). I'd double your time estimate if you intend to use your flail. Belts: I'd have a few sets of spares handy.

    My setup is a 6-ft wide Hawkline brush hog and a Mahindra 5525 tractor (54 hp engine, 45 hp pto). It would take me 20-25 hours to mow 40 acres at normal ground speed. For a first time mowing on an unknown field, 30-40 hours-- going slow to avoid damaging the mower by hitting the (inevitable) junk you'll find in the weeds.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    785
    Tractor
    New Holland Boomer 50

    Default Re: Flail Mower advice

    I pull a 6' flail behind my NH Boomer 50 hydro, and mow field as you describe at an average rate of about 1.7 acres per hour. That does NOT include travel time, loading time, maintenance time, Dr.Pepper time, etc. It's just mowing time. That rate is for known, decently maintained field, so it doesn't include going slow for either unknown ground or excessive growth.

    Hope that's of some help,
    xtn

  4. #4
    Silver Member
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    Feb 2004
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    St. Clair, Michigan
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    2000 TC40D, TnT, 758B BH

    Default Re: Flail Mower advice

    Thanks for the reply guys. I just noticed the thread on "Large area Mowing" and read through it. I got some insight on others thoughts there. Flusher and xtn do you cut for hire and if so what are you charging per hour?

  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    Sep 2008
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    NE USA
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    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: Flail Mower advice

    When one is mowing for hire its either done by the acre or by the hour.

    The mowing of the fourty acres in question should be approached by charging by the hour.

    The flailmower should have the rear roller lowered to its last position allowing you the highest mowing height when working the flailmower and tractor.

    The mower will still create enough suction to cut the grass and brush quickly
    when it is being mowed.

    After the initial mowing is done you can lower the cutting height to bring it closer to the sod.


    Figuring 40 hours for mowing at $15.00 U.S.D., per hour provides you with $600.00 U.S.D., this will provide you with the money for fuel and spares.


    If you charged by the acre the cost to your client would be $2000.00 U.S.D., for the fourty acres and that may or would kill the opportunity right there for both of you.

    Custom plowing is typically $50.00U.S.D., per acre and mowing takes less fuel and time.

    When you have the area knocked down it will take you less time to mow or you can still mow at the same speed with the flailmower lower to its lowest mowing setting by repositioning the rear roller in the upper mounting holes.


    Edit for added material:

    for reference;

    One acre is 43,500 square feet.


    The dimensions of the property are what is important here as the forty acres may not be uniform in size-unless it was left as colonial military grant tract
    and no reduction in actual dimensions has occured.



    At three miles an hour you will be able to mow 264 feet per minute at 78 inches of cutting width.

    264*12*78=274,104 square inches divided by 144 square inches= 1,716 feet per minute at 3 miles per hour of advance.

    Using this figure for the fourty acre property for mowing alone would require
    40*43560 or 1,742,400 square feet/1,716 square feet per minute=1,015 minutes or 17 hours of "actual" mowing time.

    Its better for you to plan on mowing an acre every two hours just to be safe time wise and "Mowing Quality Wise" for the 40 acres in question as you may have to slow down to mow and simply charge by the hour plus the cost of fuel for the actual hours worked.


    As a guide:


    one mile per hour is equal to 88 feet per minute.

    two miles per hour is equal to 176 feet per minute.

    three miles per hour is equal to 264 feet per minute.

    four miles per hour is equal to 356 feet per minute.



    I like to use my flailmower taking it down to the 2 inch or so height
    of turf or brush as it allows the natural grasses more of an opportunity
    to become re-established


    I want you to succeed and not to fail.
    Last edited by leonz; 02-02-2012 at 02:12 PM. Reason: spelling whoopsie!

  6. #6
    Silver Member
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    2000 TC40D, TnT, 758B BH

    Default Re: Flail Mower advice

    Thanks for chiming in Leon. So if I can infer from your response you don't see a problem with the Flail mower doing the job. I did base my hourly estimate on ground speed (you didn't quite finish what you were saying) and came up with the 45 min/per acre. I wasn't real confident in that figure and that's why I wrote 30 plus hours. And it sounds like you are recommending a 2nd pass to make it right.

  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    NE USA
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    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: Flail Mower advice

    Quote Originally Posted by TO_Bud View Post
    Thanks for chiming in Leon. So if I can infer from your response you don't see a problem with the Flail mower doing the job. I did base my hourly estimate on ground speed (you didn't quite finish what you were saying) and came up with the 45 min/per acre. I wasn't real confident in that figure and that's why I wrote 30 plus hours. And it sounds like you are recommending a 2nd pass to make it right.

    I jumped off the track for a minute there and was distracted but the use of flailmower will give you a better quality of cut and it will also allow you to reshred the grass if it needs it due to the pressure gradient-suction created by the flailmower rotor and the knives and you wil have very little in clippings to see.


    If you mow in a spiral pattern the mowing will go quicker as the need for braking stopping and turning will be avoided untill you reach the perimeter of the property. (this is where I make a few passes along the edge and worry less about the uncut parts/corners until I am done.


    The tire tracks will be gone in a day or two also and the turf will look very nice after the initial mowings.


    If you have had the chance to read about the flail mowers here on the forum you have seen that we have a lot and I mean a lot of happy flailmower owners.

    My dad had a Ford Jubilee that he reclaimed 12 acres of pasture with that had 10 foot golden rod and underbrush and used a JD finish flail with three rows of grass slicer knives for years.

  8. #8
    Silver Member
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    2000 TC40D, TnT, 758B BH

    Default Re: Flail Mower advice

    OK Leon thanks for the info and the tip on the circular cut technique.

  9. #9
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
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    Western Kentucky
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    JD3720 Cab, 300X loader with 4-in-1 bucket

    Default Re: Flail Mower advice

    I'm a flail advocate, but I think that's too much acreage for a 78 incher. And 35 PTO hp might come up a little short if there's any matted patches. My own 74" flail is turned 35 PTO hp as well, and struggles through a few thick patches on my own acreage. Besides, you've got brush knives on there.

    I'd suggest to the property owner that he get someone to rough cut with a batwing first. They can take a helluva lot more abuse from unknown stuff that's almost always found on unfamiliar ground. Then walk the acreage yourself, and see if you're still willing to try it on a more regular basis.

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

  10. #10
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: Flail Mower advice

    Greg can you explain why the brush cut knives are a detriment, I've cut with it 6 or 7 times on my 5 acres and the cut seemed pretty good, better than the brush hog type mower I used to have. The other caveat here is they only cut once a year, late summer early fall. I was going to take my atv there this spring and drive it to see what the terrain is all about. They claim it has been planted in wild flowers and that it doesn't get that tall. In my mind wild flowers is just another name for weeds. Anyway I would reserve the option of cutting it after I observed the property come cut time. If necessary I can buy the slicer style knives if the brush type are improper.

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