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  1. #21
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    3,251
    Location
    NE USA
    Tractor
    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Quote Originally Posted by SI2305 View Post
    Leonz,

    Interesting point, might a flail mower be one of the few pieces of equipment that retain or even gain value?

    I kinda like the idea of hammers just for smashing debris, but this might be asking for too much.

    Do the side cutters leave a combed or striped look? I just can't get over what that will look like on my lawn.

    Thanks as always,

    JD 2305
    200CX, LX4, 60" Grader blade, 60" LandPride finish mower that replaced our old lawn mower, middlebuster, home made grass rake for long field grass collection, and now a specialized trailer to move heavy logs



    1. The side slicers give your lawn a better look and are less damaging to the
    shafts of the grass plant as only a tiny bit of the grass blade is taken as the
    flail mower rolls over it where a rotary mower tears the grass blade.
    (compare the two after mowing and you will see this, a flail cut lawn will
    suffer less shock damage from mowing as well and will grow back faster as
    there are little if any clippings left as they have dissolved back into the soil
    as compost.

    2. A side slicer will dig furrows in turf or brush and the blade tips will be
    come dull and need to be flipped IF the flail mowers rotor is lowered too
    much. The rule of thumb is your areas moisture level during the growing
    season. When the flail mower is at rest and one row of knives is vertical
    in relation to the sod the mower should have 2 inches of space between the
    knive edge and the ground ITSELF and no less unless you are beating the
    daylights out of reclaimed pasture which I do with ours. The crappy areas
    recover faster as the weeds have deeper roots.

    Please keep in mind if your turf is on good sod the longer the grass blade the
    deeper the roots which is what you want in the case of a drought as they will go dormant.

  2. #22
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    10,434
    Location
    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Quote Originally Posted by leonz View Post
    1. The side slicers give your lawn a better look and are less damaging to the shafts of the grass plant as only a tiny bit of the grass blade is taken as the flail mower rolls over it where a rotary mower tears the grass blade. (compare the two after mowing and you will see this, a flail cut lawn will suffer less shock damage from mowing as well
    Are you talking about a finish mower, or a bush hog here? A properly sharpened finish mower will cut the grass rather than ripping it. A bush hog will (by design) rip the grass as you want to have a dull edge to shatter trees or saplings rather than cutting them off (to prevent them from making holes in your tires).

    Quote Originally Posted by leonz View Post
    and will grow back faster as
    there are little if any clippings left as they have dissolved back into the soil
    as compost.
    I agree that a flail will cut better than a bush hog, but a mulching finish mower will give you as good of a cut and will leave the clippings just as fine.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  3. #23
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    686
    Location
    Coastal Rhode Island
    Tractor
    Jinma 354, purchased 2007

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    I'm going to be a little contrarian here. I have a rotary mower and a flail mower, and while their use may overlap some they are no substitutes for each other. The rotary mower is just a lot tougher. If I run over a 2" stick and hit it wrong, it can fly up and jam the flail mower. A rock the size of a softball will get caught in the flail mower and break some flails. High summer grass -- like 3 or 4 feet -- will tend to wrap around the rotor and jam the flail. All of those things the rotary mower will handle without blinking (although I do try to look out for rocks). In heavy brush you have to be able to knock stuff down to mow it, and the rotary mower will generally take as much force in reverse as I can generate without spinning the tires (although I have over-done it a few times). I would never back in hard with the flail, I know it just won't take it.

    This time of year, and in the fall, when the greenery is thin and brittle, the flail does well. In high summer I have to go so slow and so high that the flail just isn't worth it. It's faster to do one pass with the rotary mower and knock everything down to six inches or so, and then a second pass with the flail to put a nice finish on.

    The original poster mentioned wanting to have a shorter overall length to be more nimble. I find the thing that makes mowing easiest for me is to remove the front end loader. Without something sticking out in front of the steering wheels it's a lot easier to get into tight spaces, and the tractor rides better without the extra weight.

  4. #24
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    6,028
    Location
    Western Kentucky
    Tractor
    JD3720 Cab, 300X loader with 4-in-1 bucket

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Quote Originally Posted by SI2305 View Post
    might a flail mower be one of the few pieces of equipment that retain or even gain value?
    A few might, but they're the exception rather than the rule. I will say however, that a reasonably maintained flail should HOLD its value better than a rotary or finish mower.

    There are good used values out there too. I found a 74" Ford 917H languishing at a farm implement auction. Sitting on the ground, I couldn't even tell if the carrier was true, much less the condition of the bearings. But I got it for $150, so figured I wasn't out much if it was trashed. Turns out it was solid as a rock, and I spent about $350 rebuilding it; new PTO shaft, new belts, new blades/hangers/brackets. Now I've got a perfectly sound - albeit 40 year old - flail, for about 10% of what it would cost me to buy a new one (71" New Holland 918H for example).

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

  5. #25
    Bronze Member KRBrouwer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    88
    Location
    Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Tractor
    T2220 (previous 1320)

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Quote Originally Posted by SI2305 View Post
    Leonz,

    You have been very patient and informative for me and I think you just cleared up a source of my misunderstanding.

    1) Are you indicating that the flail mower has a considerable rear reach as it lowers into the mowing position? If so, how might this compare to my LX4, the rear wheel of which rests 6' from the link arms?

    2) My LX4 is just about 400#. BEFCO 60" is similar in weight. My RFM is about 575#. At present, as long as I have my loader attached, I don't have a balance issue, though this weekend I did load a huge section of tree trunk (maybe 20" diameter, 2'long) for balast.
    Under these circumstances, would there be any problem with weight/balance?

    3) You mentioned drive belts. Are drive belts a significant source of power loss from stretching/slipping? If so, I now understand why a flail mower would use so much more power to run. I was basing my assumptions on attachments that are powered directly by the drive shaft or in the case of my RFM, don't run on intense vegetation in the first place.

    4) If #3 is in fact accurate, is BEFCO overselling its products by advertising 60" and 72" flail mowers to be powered by as little as 15 PTO HP? Perhaps this is meant not for jungle clearing as I intend, but for turf mowing instead.

    5) Unfortunately, if I have understood correctly, I have some serious thinking to do. I was hoping for a do-it-all mower and retain my 60" cutting swath. Now I would have to decide if I want to sacrifice 12" of cutting width and render my other two cutters irrelevent, add a 60 inch flail but still have to change cutters based on the situation, or just stay with the cutters I have at present

    Whatever the decision it is I make, you have provided me with some valuable insight. Thanks for your gift of information.

    sincerely,

    SI2305

    JD 2305
    200CX, LX4, 60" Grader blade, 60" LandPride finish mower that replaced our old lawn mower, middlebuster, home made grass rake for long field grass collection, and now a specialized trailer to move heavy logs

    Thanks
    SI2305

    I have run a 4' Rhino bushog, a 5' finish mower and a 72" flail on my tractors (NH 1320, 18 HP at the PTO, and NH 2220 @ 28 HP at the PTO), and the 72" flail takes less power to run than the 5' finish mower. I have sold the bushog and finish mower, and the flail has replaced both of them. I don't think that you would have any trouble running a 4' flail with your machine.

    Ken

  6. #26
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Ken,

    Just to be clear, I think you meant that I would have no problem with a 5' flail. Was that your intended statement?

    SI2305

    JD 2305
    200CX, LX4, 60" Grader blade, 60" LandPride finish mower that replaced our old lawn mower, middlebuster, home made grass rake for long field grass collection, and now a specialized trailer to move heavy logs

    Thanks

  7. #27
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    5,666
    Location
    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
    Tractor
    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    I think you are asking too much of a flail mower. In your first post you talk of reclaiming woodland with saplings, vines and storm junk and then later about the same mower doing 3/4 acre of finish mowing to golf course standards. I just don't think that is going to happen. After all if you could clear the woods and mow the golf course with one unit we would all get rid of our other mowers.

    MarkV

  8. #28
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    MarkV,

    Your points are perfectly valid and are the very reason I am seeking advice instead of jumping right in on a fairly expensive piece of equipment, especially since one could make the point (as I myself even suggested) that quite possibly the only benifit I would gain was the relief of not changing implements. I also am quite conservative when buying and I like to gain as much information as possible, so I regard your comment as quite valuable in the overall decision process.

    One of the reasons I have spent so much time on this thread is that I have found a dearth of knowledge locally about flail mowers. I stopped by the JD dealer who sold me the tractor in the first place and he did not even know what a flail mower was, what it was used for, how much it cost, its HP requirements, etc. I was astounded and then explained to him my limited knowledge of flail mowers and why my interest in them. He replied to me that the next time he went to a "JD conference" he would inquire about my questions. That was about a year ago and I have yet to hear anything from him. Don't get me wrong, the man has been very helpful in the past and I continue to go to him with minor issues when they occur. He was an honest, decent salesman and I in no way am trying to denegrate him, but his very ignorance of flail mowers is somewhat endemic of the implement itself. That is why I seek information here.

    Thanks for your thoughts and I guarantee you I will take them into consideration.

    Thanks,

    SI2305

    JD 2305
    200CX, LX4, 60" Grader blade, 60" LandPride finish mower that replaced our old lawn mower, middlebuster, home made grass rake for long field grass collection, and now a specialized trailer to move heavy logs
    Last edited by SI2305; 04-25-2012 at 11:07 AM.

  9. #29
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    I'll post some pictures of what a Yanmar 1610D (16 pto HP) can cut on a regular basis with a BEFCO 60" flail. Love it.

  10. #30
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Knotweed,

    That would be wonderful. This would be about as close to a 1-to-1 comparison as could be practical. The fact that you have 2 fewer HP but still able to use the machine provides a verry good point of comparrison.

    Thanks for your input.

    SI2305

    JD 2305
    200CX, LX4, 60" Grader blade, 60" LandPride finish mower that replaced our old lawn mower, middlebuster, home made grass rake for long field grass collection, and now a specialized trailer to move heavy logs

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