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  1. #1
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    Default Low HP flail mower

    Hi all,

    I know that there is a thread on flail mowers already and it is one of the longest one on the entire site. It appears that one becomes very loyal to their flail mower with just a few minutes of use. I am not trying to restart that very dense thread, but I was hoping for some insight as to a flail mower that I might be able to use myself.

    I own a JD 2305 (thus, the handle) which has just 18 PTO HP. Given the ability of the 2305/LX4 to absolutely shred to pieces anything in its path, I have to wonder if it isn't powerful enough to run a flail mower. When I use the LX4 I cut tall grass, weeds, woody type weeds, vines, and as of lately, even some trees as I am trying to clear up my 3 acres of woods that were decimated by sustained winds of over 100 mph on May 8, 2009.

    That particular storm was one of the most intense I have ever seen, and some locally have even termed it an "inland hurricane" as it actually had an eye wall, two episodes of storms blowing in opposite directions and a serenely calm 1/2 hour rest in between eye walls--just like in a hurricane. Of course it was not actually a hurricane, but the damage was absolutely intense and my woods seemed to take a direct hit. I estimate that I lost 20-25 large, mature trees. without those, the underbrush has shot up like a rocket and the whole area is almost impassible even if one is just trying to walk through. I have never seen vegetation so dense and on the rare occurrence when I have gotten a view over the underbrush, the area looks like Vietnam Jungle.

    I have started to finally clear some of the brush with the LX4. Don't get me wrong, that machine is a beast in those woods and I have yet to see the vegetation that can stop it. Of course, I am not trying to take on hickory or oak trees, but sapling, especially those of fast-growing, soft-wood type are no match for the blades of my LX4. The problem I have is maneuverability. From rear wheel to bucket, I am operating a machine over 20 feet long. In those woods, with that kind of length, even the few trees left standing can make turning a real niucance. I also don't want to hit some piece of hidden vegetation that might take its revenge on me. Worst of all, I could slide and get stuck, being unable to maneuver my entire machine back out the same way it got in.

    I would think that a flail mower would be the ideal piece of equipment for the area. It would be MUCH shorter and more maneuverable than the LX4. I would think that so long as I am going slow it would eat the vegetation like candy and my understanding is that it is not going to be harmed by those hidden objects (like a large piece of limestone I luckly missed while mowing--I literally mowed right past it and was thankful the blades did not make contact).

    In addition to clearing brush/woods I need to maintain a couple thousand feet of fenceline, maintain trails, occasionally mow tall grass and generally maintain several acres of tall grassland. Is the flail mower the tool for me? I will try to summerize my thoughts as follows:

    1) Is there a flail mower out there that I can safely operate with my JD2305 (18 PTO)?

    2) Can any of these be offset/adjustable for mowing under dense brush?

    3) Can a flail mower chew up vegetation like my LX4 does?

    4) I have read a little about BEFCO flail mowers. They claim to have some flail mowers that operate in my HP range. Has anyone out there used BEFCO equipment and flails in particular? Are they a quality unit that I will not regret later?

    5) Are there any other brands out there that are worth looking at that are reasonably priced?

    6) As far as mowing width, I would not buy less that 48 cutting inches--That barely exceeds the width of my 2305 now. Ideally I think I would like a 60 cutting inch unit. Would that work with my HP range?

    7) At present, when I am not clearing vegetation with my LX4 I am mowing our 3/4 acre lawn with a LandPride RFM 60. The LandPride is a really nice unit and I have never been anything but thrilled by its performance. It leaves a VERY nice finish and I can mow at racecar speeds when I have a nice long shot. I have no problem with either mower, but switching is a pain slightly aleviated withh a Pat's easy change. Can the same flail that roars through the wilderness leave a beautiful, clean, even cut that could be compared to a golf corse (in the front yard at least? The back is still recovering 3 years after the storm--long stroy).

    8) Final question: Am I being at all realistic with all the info that I have thrown out there or is a flail really that good? Can it be both my rough cutter, my finish mower, mow quickly, and do it all with my 18 ponies?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and responding. I sure appreciate reading these posts and I hope to glean some knowledge, which is after all, what this internet community is about.

    Thanks in advance

    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

  2. #2
    Bronze Member
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    86

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    I bought a used Befco 5 footer. I use it on a Yanmar 1610D with great success. I know for a 20 HP engine, I should not go over 4 feet but the tractor handles the 5 foot just fine.
    In short weeds, I run in 1-3 and in tall stuff, 1-1. It also has an offset which sticks out the right side when you cut counterclockwise allowing you to run a foot of the mower over already cut ground causing no drag.
    I think your tractor will handle it if you pay attention to speed and how much of the row you allow your mower to bite.

  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    Sep 2008
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    3,923
    Location
    NE USA
    Tractor
    JD LA115, WH 244, Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Quote Originally Posted by SI2305 View Post
    Hi all,

    I know that there is a thread on flail mowers already and it is one of the longest one on the entire site. It appears that one becomes very loyal to their flail mower with just a few minutes of use. I am not trying to restart that very dense thread, but I was hoping for some insight as to a flail mower that I might be able to use myself.

    I own a JD 2305 (thus, the handle) which has just 18 PTO HP. Given the ability of the 2305/LX4 to absolutely shred to pieces anything in its path, I have to wonder if it isn't powerful enough to run a flail mower. When I use the LX4 I cut tall grass, weeds, woody type weeds, vines, and as of lately, even some trees as I am trying to clear up my 3 acres of woods that were decimated by sustained winds of over 100 mph on May 8, 2009.

    That particular storm was one of the most intense I have ever seen, and some locally have even termed it an "inland hurricane" as it actually had an eye wall, two episodes of storms blowing in opposite directions and a serenely calm 1/2 hour rest in between eye walls--just like in a hurricane. Of course it was not actually a hurricane, but the damage was absolutely intense and my woods seemed to take a direct hit. I estimate that I lost 20-25 large, mature trees. without those, the underbrush has shot up like a rocket and the whole area is almost impassible even if one is just trying to walk through. I have never seen vegetation so dense and on the rare occurrence when I have gotten a view over the underbrush, the area looks like Vietnam Jungle.

    I have started to finally clear some of the brush with the LX4. Don't get me wrong, that machine is a beast in those woods and I have yet to see the vegetation that can stop it. Of course, I am not trying to take on hickory or oak trees, but sapling, especially those of fast-growing, soft-wood type are no match for the blades of my LX4. The problem I have is maneuverability. From rear wheel to bucket, I am operating a machine over 20 feet long. In those woods, with that kind of length, even the few trees left standing can make turning a real niucance. I also don't want to hit some piece of hidden vegetation that might take its revenge on me. Worst of all, I could slide and get stuck, being unable to maneuver my entire machine back out the same way it got in.

    I would think that a flail mower would be the ideal piece of equipment for the area. It would be MUCH shorter and more maneuverable than the LX4. I would think that so long as I am going slow it would eat the vegetation like candy and my understanding is that it is not going to be harmed by those hidden objects (like a large piece of limestone I luckly missed while mowing--I literally mowed right past it and was thankful the blades did not make contact).

    In addition to clearing brush/woods I need to maintain a couple thousand feet of fenceline, maintain trails, occasionally mow tall grass and generally maintain several acres of tall grassland. Is the flail mower the tool for me? I will try to summerize my thoughts as follows:

    1) Is there a flail mower out there that I can safely operate with my JD2305
    (18 PTO)

    2) Can any of these be offset/adjustable for mowing under dense brush?

    3) Can a flail mower chew up vegetation like my LX4 does?

    4) I have read a little about BEFCO flail mowers. They claim to have some flail mowers that operate in my HP range. Has anyone out there used BEFCO equipment and flails in particular? Are they a quality unit that I will not regret later.

    5) Are there any other brands out there that are worth looking at that are reasonably priced.

    6) As far as mowing width, I would not buy less that 48 cutting inches--That barely exceeds the width of my 2305 now. Ideally I think I would like a 60 cutting inch unit. Would that work with my HP range.

    7) At present, when I am not clearing vegetation with my LX4 I am mowing our 3/4 acre lawn with a LandPride RFM 60. The LandPride is a really nice unit and I have never been anything but thrilled by its performance. It leaves a VERY nice finish and I can mow at racecar speeds when I have a nice long shot. I have no problem with either mower, but switching is a pain slightly aleviated withh a Pat's easy change. Can the same flail that roars through the wilderness leave a beautiful, clean, even cut that could be compared to a golf corse (in the front yard at least. The back is still recovering 3 years after the storm--long stroy).

    8) Final question: Am I being at all realistic with all the info that I have thrown out there or is a flail really that good. Can it be both my rough cutter, my finish mower, mow quickly, and do it all with my 18 ponies?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and responding. I sure appreciate reading these posts and I hope to glean some knowledge, which is after all, what this internet community is about.

    Thanks in advance

    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
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++


    About your mowing needs:


    1. A 48 inch flail mower is a realistic option for your needs.

    2. A few brands of PTO powered vineyard duty flail mowers
    can be offset either hydraulicly or manually.

    3. yes

    4. I do not own BEFCO flailmower but they have been on the market for
    a few years and i am sure any reputable dealer will help you by contacting
    an owner for permission to speak to him or her.

    5. There are many brands of P.T.O., powered flailmowers for sale.
    a. If you have a mid point Power Take off you can purchase a flail mower to
    mount on the front of your 2305. Trimax is just one manufacturer of front
    mounted flailmowers with representatives in the Unites States.

    6. A sixty inch unit is not something I would buy for dense vegetation with that low a horsepower as you will be consuming a great deal of power just operating the prime mover!!, NO,NO!!


    7. A flailmower used in brush mowing with good sharp knives can and will
    provide you with a beautiful lawn.


    8. yes and yes and yes and yes.

    You have to decide how much you can afford and which type of knive you want to use and then look for the right 48 inch flail mower.

    A flail mower with two or three rows of kinves is a very good mower for brush
    and good turf.



    The side slicers Y blades are offered in hardened and standard strength steels. The scoop knives are ment for turf and can be used for brush.


    There are a great number of small width Vineyard specific flailmowers available for sale and that is where I suggest that you start.

    If you want a flail mower you can buy one with a 48 inch cut with no problems other than waiting for it to come if it is not in inventory.

    Pleas PM me if you have more questions



    __________________________________________________ _______________
    Once you go flail you never go back
    Pronovost or not at all!!!
    Last edited by leonz; 04-23-2012 at 04:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
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    86

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    I also have a bush hog rotary which I quit using because of the stuff it throws. I also found an inexpensive source for blades. I use the Y blades (which are reversible) and it really shreads a lot of stuff.

  5. #5
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    250

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Leonz, Knotweed,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. Leonz, thanks especially for addressing my specific concerns so richly. This really helps to formulate an idea as to what type of flail I might eventually (wife understanding) buy.

    About BEFCO,

    I poured over threads yesterday, and they do not appear to be the fly-by-night operation I feared. But they do claim to offer a60 inch in my range. They even claim a 72" in my range, but this must only work when the tractor move at a snail's pace. Are they overselling their products? I would not get a 72" RFM even though it was rated for my tractor. Seems like a 60" might work if I go slow, which I do in tall grass anyway, and in the jungle that is my woods, I MUST move at a snail's pace lest I go into a ravine or smack a hidden log. Would a 60" work on those circumstances? Could I still race over the Lawn? Am I pipe dreaming? Is BEFCO pipe dreaming?

    Again, thanks for your advice,

    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

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

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    The ratings are often based upon what a tractor will lift. Whether or not it will actually cut is a different matter. You might be able to get by with a 5 footer - if you were only trimming grass on a fairway. Anything heavier than that, you'll go to sleep behind the wheel.

    Tractordata.com lists your 2305 width at just under 45 inches. When selecting a mower, the idea is to select a swath that will encompass the wheel tracks. So unless the mower offset won't accomplish that, 18 hp pretty much keeps you in 48 inch territory

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    greg-g,

    Though I had not everr found difinitive evidence, I have come to suspect much of what you just stated. Rear weight makes a huge difference and is probably more important that HP alone. Actually, my personal view on the HP issue is that is not like a light switch--19hp it works, 18 it fails--but more like a reccomended minimum--you will have to mow awfully slow if you have less than x HP but you can do it if you want. Technically, my 2305 is rated for an LX5, but I am sure that I will pay for that with it bogging down even in minor mowing conditions as opposed to the storm I can unleash with my LX4.

    The other issue I have is wheel overlap. I want to make sure that I am at least mowing my tracks. Now, given that the flail mower mows by sweeping in the reverse direction of the tractor direction, those tracks probably get mowed well.

    However, I would also like to use some degree of offset to get under hedgerows--I have well over 1000 feet of hedgerows--and I don't see how I can do this with 48 inches.

    Is there a 54 inch model out there? It might be just enough to get me under the hedgerows and not overburded the 2305. Further, the weight issue might be within tolerences also. I would think that the LX4 would out weigh any flail mower I am likely to use as it is both heavy and sticks WAY out the back, a flail mower would not do this.

    My last question (I have babbled too much already): I have never understood how a 2305 can use a PTO tiller in rock-hard clay soil (48" wide), but have problems with a 60" flail mower that is cutting through grass. The LX4 actually has the greatest "trouble" with fresh green, long grass, woody or dry materials simply disapear before its blades. If these two implements can operate so well with so much reserve power, why can't it run a 60" flail mower (I already run a 60" finish mower). A flail mower is essentially much like a tiller (converts parrallel rotation to perpendicular rotation). Obviously, I don't run my 2305 at rocket speeds when clearing out my woods (actually, I crawl as slow as possible as I don't always know what I am getting into). Similarly, when mowing through tall grass, I don't just blindly plow across the prarie, but rather I alter my speed based on conditions.

    Don't the same conditions I have listed above still apply to a possible 60" flail mower where I mow faster across a lawn and slow down going across an open field?

    Sorry for the rant, but I always appreciate the input.

    Thanks,

    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

  8. #8
    Elite Member
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    JD LA115, WH 244, Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Quote Originally Posted by SI2305 View Post
    greg-g,

    Though I had not everr found difinitive evidence, I have come to suspect much of what you just stated. Rear weight makes a huge difference and is probably more important that HP alone. Actually, my personal view on the HP issue is that is not like a light switch--19hp it works, 18 it fails--but more like a reccomended minimum--you will have to mow awfully slow if you have less than x HP but you can do it if you want. Technically, my 2305 is rated for an LX5, but I am sure that I will pay for that with it bogging down even in minor mowing conditions as opposed to the storm I can unleash with my LX4.

    The other issue I have is wheel overlap. I want to make sure that I am at least mowing my tracks. Now, given that the flail mower mows by sweeping in the reverse direction of the tractor direction, those tracks probably get mowed well.

    However, I would also like to use some degree of offset to get under hedgerows--I have well over 1000 feet of hedgerows--and I don't see how I can do this with 48 inches.

    Is there a 54 inch model out there? It might be just enough to get me under the hedgerows and not overburded the 2305. Further, the weight issue might be within tolerences also. I would think that the LX4 would out weigh any flail mower I am likely to use as it is both heavy and sticks WAY out the back, a flail mower would not do this.

    My last question (I have babbled too much already): I have never understood how a 2305 can use a PTO tiller in rock-hard clay soil (48" wide), but have problems with a 60" flail mower that is cutting through grass. The LX4 actually has the greatest "trouble" with fresh green, long grass, woody or dry materials simply disapear before its blades. If these two implements can operate so well with so much reserve power, why can't it run a 60" flail mower (I already run a 60" finish mower). A flail mower is essentially much like a tiller (converts parrallel rotation to perpendicular rotation). Obviously, I don't run my 2305 at rocket speeds when clearing out my woods (actually, I crawl as slow as possible as I don't always know what I am getting into). Similarly, when mowing through tall grass, I don't just blindly plow across the prarie, but rather I alter my speed based on conditions.

    Don't the same conditions I have listed above still apply to a possible 60" flail mower where I mow faster across a lawn and slow down going across an open field?

    Sorry for the rant, but I always appreciate the input.

    Thanks,

    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





    __________________________________________________ _______________



    As Greg has so kindly mentioned you are
    limited by your tractors actual lifting ability to
    deal with an integral implement and provide proper
    balance.

    Your tiller operates at a much slower rotating speed
    in the dirt you are working through with its transmission
    of rotary power through its gear box and chain drive and
    sprockets.

    You are always limited by the mass of brush or
    turf your mower encounters due to the water
    in the fibers of the grass of growing brush.


    If the 2305 model you have has a
    Mid-Mount Power Take off you can
    install a front mounted trimax flailmower
    and avoid the touchy issue of blance and rear
    lifting weight limitations for your three point hitch.


    Many manufacturers offer front mounted
    flailmowers with the proper guarding required for
    european safety standards which are much more
    stringent than our agricultural mower safety
    standards.


    A front mounted flailmower will allow you to use
    the mid mount Power Take Off of your tractor
    effectively for mowing but you are limited by
    the density of the brush and or turf.

    The front mount mower is simply lifted a short
    distance in front of the prime mover with a single acting
    cylinder (assuming your 2305 has one equipped with
    the mid mount Power Take Off option.



    There is Trimax Mower Dealer in Buffalo, New York also.

    The Vrisimo folks offer a 46 inch cutting width flailmower
    that can be manually shifted left or right to suit mowing
    conditions to overlap the rear tires.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    Sorry, did not mean to rant.

    I was just thinking that the rotary cutter was likely heavier and positioned further back than a flail mower would. I absolutely understand about the importance of easing through dense vegetation, that is exactly what I do now.

    Are flail mowers that much heavier than rotary cutters? My LX4 weighs over 400 pounds and much of that weight is located far from the tractor's center of gravity.

    A front mounted mower sounds intriguing indeed--sort of a snowblower for brush. Unfortunately, I would have to take off my loader which is invaluable as I move material around in the woods now. Some of the downed limbs/trunks can be positioned so that I can get a better shot than as it fell. I think that I would want to leave the bucket in place, maybe even add teeth to it to enhance its ability to get under debris and drag it if necessary.

    I keep coming back to the BEFCO H-40 series that comes in a 60 inch model and claims to be rated from 15-40 HP. The weight is comperable to my LX4 and I believe less than my RFM-60. Better yet, its weight would be located closer to the tractor so the tractor would have a good mechanical advantage. Is this an even remotely reasonable option, knowing that I will have to slow down for dense vegetation, just as I do now? Thank you for all the help you are offering, this site is the only source of experienced, practical information that I have on the subject as flail mowers are reletively rare pieces of equipment.

    thanks as always,

    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

  10. #10
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Low HP flail mower

    I dont have a flail, but I run a 60" bush hog on a similar size tractor (kubota B7500, 21/16HP). When mowing heavy grass (like in a wet spot or a 3' tall hayfield) you will have to crawl. When mowing dry weeds and other such stemmy stuff, you will be fine.
    We also run a 60" tiller with that tractor and it handles it just about the same as the bush hog, but the weight distribution is better.

    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

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