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  1. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    35
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Tractor
    John Deere 318, John Deere X758, Kubota L4200 GST

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    Just came across this thread today.
    I use a Woods finishing mower to groom my 4 acre apple orchard which used to be a hay field. The finishing mower is 72" with a rear discharge which really works great. The rear discharge does not windrow the clippings but rather scatters them evenly across the ground surface. I do not mow brush with it but it will do a job on high orchard grass although you may have to go over it twice to make it look good. I normally maintain a height of about 4" and not let the grass (mixed hay grass) get above 8" before mowing it again. That way once over and it looks great. Keeping the PTO RPMs up, sharp blades and proper ground speed to match conditions will give you a very nice cut.

  2. #12
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,403
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Tractor
    MF 135

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    A finish cut flail mower will cut as nice as a finishing rotary so you have to compare the proper machines. Flails will cut much taller grass and use less HP than a rotary. Mott used to put out a booklet called the art of flailing. A properly set up flail could be used for every mowing task on a golf course except for cutting greens. Fine cut flail mowers have been used on sod farms as well. A finish rotary will be cheaper but isn't as versatile as a flail. If all you're doing is cutting a lawn, a flail won't need much more maintenance than keeping it greased.

  3. #13
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    211
    Location
    Morriston, Fl. 40 miles west of Ocala. More cows than people in this town.
    Tractor
    Kioti DK 40 HST

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    Tried both. Now flailing and will not look back!

    It is quieter and the flail I have gives a cut which, in my opinion is more manicured than my finish mower ever was.

    The model I have has 88 knives and is designed for a fine cut.

    Having said that i also have used it to clear light brush.

    Just be aware that this particular mower is not intended to clear heavy brush but in a pinch will do the job,

    Flail Mower, Caroni, Flail Mowers, Caroni Flail Mower | Agri Supply, 53413

  4. #14
    Gold Member gaproperty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    282
    Location
    Nova Scotia
    Tractor
    Kubota 4740

    Default

    I have a chance to buy a KUHN 6 foot. I will be running it with my l4740. 47 hp. Will I be able to mow tall grass.

    2 what rpm do I run it at.

  5. #15
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    278
    Location
    Brookshire, Texas
    Tractor
    Ford 1215 & New Holland T4.75

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    I run a 6 foot finish mower, 6 foot shredder and 7 foot flail mower with 42 HP and they all work just fine. Most mowers are set up to run at a PTO speed of 540 RPM's. If in doubt ask a local dealer.

  6. #16
    Super Star Member IslandTractor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    15,979
    Location
    Prudence Island, RI
    Tractor
    2007 Kioti DK40se HST, Woods BH

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    I am a flail owner and also run a rotary "bush hog" and have had a finish mower in the past. I could easily join the flail love fest and indeed I do think they are great mowers but in this instance I'll give my thoughts on the relative negatives. First, it is absolutely true that they require more maintenance and more expensive parts (per year) than either a finish mower or rotary. Finish mowers require blade sharpening. Rotaries require occasional blade replacement (maybe every few years if used pretty heavily in a non commercial environment). Flails, at least in my experience (rocky New England soil and used for brush clearing as well as pasture mowing) require replacement of broken clevis shackles and blades at a rate of about three to six per year at about $20 per set and 10-15 minutes per replacement. Also consider that other than blade sharpening/replacement on the rotary mower types, you usually only need to check the gearbox oil a couple times a season. On a flail you grease it (three minutes) every time you use it. Not a big deal really but definitely on the negative side of the score card vs finish or rotary.

    I have very little use for a true finish mower as I am happy with the flail quality of cut in the fields I mow using flail blades that are optimized for brush. As others have pointed out, you need to specify what set up a flail has in comparing it to finish or rotary in terms of cut quality. A finish flail gives just as good a cut as a finish mower. A rough cut flail like mine gives a much better cut than a rotary but less perfect than a true finish mower unless I travel very slowly (about half typical finish mowing speed).

    A positive for flails that hasn't been mentioned in this thread is the safety issue. A flail mower is inherently safer than a rotary with regard to risk of sending high speed projectiles out from under the mowers. It basically cannot happen with a flail whereas it happens all the time with bush hogs and can also happen when a finish mower hits an unseen object in the grass. Flails are much safer mowers period.

    After using my flail for six or seven years, I have found myself never needing a finish mower and sometimes choosing a rotary bush hog over the flail for tough brush clearing or first spring mowing to discover new rock crops. I save on flail blade replacements by using the bush hog (with slip clutch) when blindly backing into thick brush or when there is a good chance I will hit an unseen rock. Other than those situations, I use the flail. I only do thick brush clearing mid week in the early spring or late fall when there is little chance that a thrown rock or branch will hit a human. The rest of the time I just use the flail and don't need to be concerned.

  7. #17
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    6,028
    Location
    Western Kentucky
    Tractor
    JD3720 Cab, 300X loader with 4-in-1 bucket

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    Quote Originally Posted by gaproperty View Post
    I have a chance to buy a KUHN 6 foot. I will be running it with my l4740. 47 hp. Will I be able to mow tall grass.
    2 what rpm do I run it at.
    All flails I've had experience with operate at 540 PTO rpms. If your tractor has a hand throttle, set it to sufficient revs to produce 540 at the PTO. "Tall grass" depends upon your definition of tall. I've successfully mowed waist high stuff with a single pass, but it has to be dry. Taller than that and you might have to make a first pass with the mower lifted up a foot or so, then lower it to the ground for a second pass. Again, wait for dry conditions.

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

  8. #18
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    231
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Tractor
    Kubota M7040

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    Had a Mott flail. Keeping it from vibrating, which it does when knives and associated parts get knocked off, became too onerous. I now have a Land Pride 72" finishing mower and it is better in that less work is required to keep it running. Each spring I need to make certain the spring tensioner for the deck belt is not seized otherwise kiss an expensive belt good by. Don't try to use it for a bush hog! My gear box shattered into a collection of unrepairable parts. A new gear box from Land Pride was expensive.
    If your land is perfectly flat with no humps or protruding rocks the flail will do a good job but if these are not your conditions the finishing mower can cope quite a bit better.
    Dave M7040

  9. #19
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    278
    Location
    Brookshire, Texas
    Tractor
    Ford 1215 & New Holland T4.75

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    There is one situation where my Bush Hog makes a better/cleaner cut than my flail and that is during the Winter when my 7 acres is in Winter Oats and Winter Rye. This type of ground cover is "whispy" in growth and the tractor tires lay it down as I mow forward. The flail mower cutters spin above the layed down grass and do not cut it well or at all. The next day these rows of wheat and rye where the wheels rode the day before stand back up and leave ugly strips of un cut grass which has to be gone over again or it looks terrible. The rotary type bush hog on the other hand creates a whirlwind of air under the deck and much of the strips of grass laid down by the tractor wheels is "sucked' up by the vacuum caused by the motion of the blades and then cut as usual. I will be using the bush hog in the Winter and flail mower during the warmer months. We have such mild Winters here on the Texas Gulf Coast that many still mow once a month on fields and lawns with Winter Oats and Winter Rye growing.

  10. #20
    Silver Member DocDryden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    148
    Location
    Dryden, MI
    Tractor
    JD 110 TLB

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    Quote Originally Posted by greg_g View Post
    Taller than that and you might have to make a first pass with the mower lifted up a foot or so, then lower it to the ground for a second pass. greg//
    So what you are saying is it's ok to use the flail mower a foot or two off the ground?
    The reason I ask is that I'm not done clearing the stumps, roots and limbs yet and the grass is already starting to grow and the ground is nowhere near level to cut with a mower.......

    -fire-pit-003-jpg -fire-pit-005-jpg -fire-pit-006-jpg
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