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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
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    Jan 2011
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    Default Disc vs. Drum vs. Flail Mower

    I've been thinking about getting a disc or a drum mower instead of a Caroni flail mower and have a few questions before making a decision. First of all my tractor is a MX5100 and I do not have rear remotes. The area to cut would be about 30 acres and there is no brush, except maybe a sprouting tree along the edge of a field. I don't have the equipment to rake or bail hay at this time, but I want to keep the fields clear of unwanted growth. Someday I may decide to get into hay, but I am uncertain. I know the flail mower will chop everything up nicely, but I'm wondering if I might be better off getting something that I could use on hay. If I understand correctly, a disc mower pretty much cuts the grass and it falls where it's cut, while a drum mower tends to leave a windrow. It also appears that a drum mower is less expensive vs. a disc mower, and I've seen drum mowers that operate without hydraulics. If I'm not mistaken, this windrow would possibly kill the grass if left in place, and I would not want this to happen. I would like something about 6 ft wide and I have about $3500 dollars to spend, so price is an issue as well. So, I'm looking for some feedback and suggestions.

  2. #2
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
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    6,039
    Location
    Western Kentucky
    Tractor
    JD3720 Cab, 300X loader with 4-in-1 bucket

    Default Re: Disc vs. Drum vs. Flail Mower

    You may not realize, but drum and disc mowers are designed with the intent that what they cut - will be picked up later. If you just cut and let it lay, you'll smother the grass beneath. Don't think you want that. And I don't think you want to mow 30 acres with a 75" Caroni either. Because - as far as I know - that's the biggest size they make. I have a 74" Ford flail and 35 PTO hp, a combo that's pretty much met its match with 15 acres. $3500 will buy a used flail big enough for 30 acres, but then will be no good for hay down the road. Flails are harder to get rid of (sell outright or trade value) than other types of mowers as well.

    Given your current tractor, I'd recommend an 8' rotary cutter. Rear remotes are not required if you don't buy the hydraulic tail wheel option. Brand of your choice of course, but from personal experience I can give high marks to Kodiak. Then down the road you can simply trade the RC in for either the disc or drum mower of your choice.

    //greg//
    Last edited by greg_g; 03-07-2012 at 05:06 PM.
    USN (Ret)
    Former Chinese tractor owner (x4)
    Current John Deere owner

  3. #3
    Platinum Member kf4uda's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    805
    Location
    Middle TN
    Tractor
    NH TD5030, 861 Ford Powermaster, 555A Ford Backhoe, S150x SnapperPro ZTR, Polaris Ranger XP800

    Default Re: Disc vs. Drum vs. Flail Mower

    Quote Originally Posted by greg_g View Post
    You may not realize, but drum and disc mowers are designed with the intent that what they cut - will be picked up later. If you just cut and let it lay, you'll smother the grass beneath. Don't think you want that. And I don't hink you want to mow 30 acres with a 75" Caroni. Because - as far as I know - that's the biggest size they make. I have a 74" Ford flail and 35 PTO hp, a combo that's pretty much met its match with 15 acres. $3500 will buy a used flail big enough for 30 acres, but then will be no good for hay down the road. Flails are harder to get rid of (sell outright or trade value) than other types of mowers as well.

    Given your current tractor, I'd recommend an 8' rotary cutter. Rear remotes are not required if you don't buy the hydraulic tail wheel option. Brand of your choice of course, but from personal experience I can give high marks to Kodiak. Then down the road you can simply trade the RC in for either the disc or drum mower of your choice.

    //greg//


    I will second that recommendation
    Chris

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
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    Jan 2011
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    79

    Default Re: Disc vs. Drum vs. Flail Mower

    Most anything is better than the old MF 35 with a 5 ft. bush hog, the neighbor has been using an old Ford with a sickle bar for the last few years...takes about two or three days to cut...not counting breakdowns (himself & equipment). I've been using a 6 ft. rotary cutter in the areas he doesn't cut, usually cut twice per year, about four or six hours per field, so I'm looking for an improvement since I work full time and have the weekends to fight the weeds. It would be nice to have 20 or 30K to buy what I need, but that's not an option...I never really thought about trading at a later date. I'll have to look at the Kodiak brand, BTW, the Caroni is available in a 6ft. size.

  5. #5
    Advertiser sweettractors's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
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    7,205
    Location
    Central Kentucky
    Tractor
    JD 6403 CHA-JD 3130 CHA

    Default Re: Disc vs. Drum vs. Flail Mower

    Here are several new and used rebuilt disc mowers we have in stock today. Ken Sweet
    Really Nice John Deere 260 Disc Mower 8 ft. We can ship items in Sweetfarmequipment store on eBay!
    http://www.sweetfarms.com/

    Sweet Farm Equipment LLC (Internet Sales, Shipping All States)
    Shipping Facility
    1815 Defries Rd., Canmer, Ky 42722 Toll Free 1-866-528-3323
    Ken Sweet sweet@scrtc.com

    Shipping Example: Can ship 800 lbs from Ky. to Dallas for $165
    The Northeast shipping corridor is a little more expensive.

  6. #6
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Sacramento
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    Sold the farm, sold the tractors, moved back to the city

    Default Re: Disc vs. Drum vs. Flail Mower

    If you're not going to bale the cuttings, forget about disc, drum and sicklebar mowers. Get a 6-ft rotary mower (aka brush hog, bush hog, shredder, slasher). You can tilt it forward for rough cutting (the normal arrangement) or backward to mulch the cuttings. Mine is a Hawkline ($1150 when I bought it new in 2008) and I run it with my 2008 Mahindra 5525 (55 hp engine, 45 hp pto) which is about the same as your MX5100 in hp.

    -5525-delivery-jpg

    Your tractor is fairly lightweight compared to my 5525 so you'd probably have a problem handling a 6-ft disc or drum mower, which, again, aren't what you want for your job.

    For 30 acres of mowing, figure about 2-3 acres per hour with a 6-ft hog in tall weeds (2 ft +)-- faster if the weeds are shorter and you know where the potholes are in the field.

    Good luck.

  7. #7
    Bronze Member
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    Default Re: Disc vs. Drum vs. Flail Mower

    Quote Originally Posted by flusher View Post
    If you're not going to bale the cuttings, forget about disc, drum and sicklebar mowers. Get a 6-ft rotary mower (aka brush hog, bush hog, shredder, slasher). You can tilt it forward for rough cutting (the normal arrangement) or backward to mulch the cuttings. Mine is a Hawkline ($1150 when I bought it new in 2008) and I run it with my 2008 Mahindra 5525 (55 hp engine, 45 hp pto) which is about the same as your MX5100 in hp.

    Your tractor is fairly lightweight compared to my 5525 so you'd probably have a problem handling a 6-ft disc or drum mower, which, again, aren't what you want for your job.

    For 30 acres of mowing, figure about 2-3 acres per hour with a 6-ft hog in tall weeds (2 ft +)-- faster if the weeds are shorter and you know where the potholes are in the field.

    Good luck.
    It sounds like a disc or drum would not be the best choice at this time...I thought they probably wouldn't be, but I just wanted to confirm my suspicions. I wondered if I could make due for a year or two until I saved-up more money to get a rake and baler. I've spent a lot of time over the last few years getting rid of briers and multifloral rose bushes, clearing/burning brush, liming three fields, cleaning-out the old barn, removing small stumps, etc. The fields are in good shape now and I don't want to go through this process again.

  8. #8
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    51
    Location
    West Virginia
    Tractor
    Satoh S-650G

    Default Re: Disc vs. Drum vs. Flail Mower

    I'd vote for a flail mower.....

    I have a similar situation as the OP, and I'd suggest a flail mower. We have about 10 acres of fields that we mow a few times a year and lots of grassy access roads. We use a John Deere 25A flail mower. You can put fine cut or coarse cut flails on it. I love the way it mulches up EVERYTHING. Looks much neater than when we used the brush hog. With a 78 inch cutting width, it makes for pretty quick mowing (and I love the sound it makes - just a loud hum). I run it on our kubota L3830 with no problems (even in tall,dense grass). Saplings are no issue, but stay away from really rough stuff.

    I trolled craigslist until one came up for sale for $600. It looked kinda rough, needed rotor bearings, and new flails. I talked the guy down to $500. I did a complete "restoration" (even painted under the drum), put $300 worth of parts on it (Flailmaster.com is awesome), and I had me a $5000 flail mower for only $800 and some sweat. I'll never use anything else until this one breaks.

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