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  1. #1
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    Default "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    Here is what I need to do:

    1)clear an area with lots of small saplings (approx 2 acres)
    2)cut a hay field (approx 10 acres)
    3)cut and mulch up cover crops and green manures (3 acres)before tilling under with a reciprocating spader or tiller.
    4)"shred" compost materials to speed up composting (50 tons/year of straw,hay,leaves,grass clippings etc.

    In an ideal world I'd employ a rotary cutter for 1 and 2, a flail mower for 3, and a chipper shredder for 4. Unfortunately, I can't afford all those implements. So I was wondering if I could compromise a bit and try doing all these tasks with a good medium duty rotary cutter. I figure I could break up cover crops and compost materials pretty well if I run over them several times with the rotary cutter. Any thoughts on this? I'd probably be pulling a 6 footer behind a 40 horse tractor. Any suggestions on rotary cutters/make/model/specs.? Thanks

    Jan


  2. #2
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    Pretty tough question. I don't know whether you'd be happy with the different jobs with a single rotary cutter.

    1) How big are the saplings? Some of the "light" duty rotary cutters handle 1" to 2" stuff pretty well.
    2) I've never know of anyone cutting hay with a rotary cutter because it would chop it up too much (although there may be some folks doing it).
    3) I mow down my garden (everything from the light stuff like bean vines to the heavy cornstalks and okra plants) with the rotary cutter when it's through for the year, then till it in; works quite well.
    5) You can chop things up with the rotary cutter, but you many have to start with it not piled very deep, and then you're going to scatter it more when you run over it with the rotary cutter. I'd say it's doubtful that you'd be happy with it.

    As far as the makes and models, I think most of the major manufacturers made an assortment including light, medium, and heavy duty units.

    Bird

  3. #3
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    Default Re: "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    Thanks for the advice, Bird. Well I don't really know much about pull type rotary cutters as I've never owned one. I just assumed I might be better off with a medium duty for all those jobs even though the saplings are probably less than 2". I live in S.E. PA and often use a rye/hairy vetch mixture for a winter cover crop/green manure. I plant it in the fall. If the winter is mild the stuff can easily be taller than a man by late April. I try not to let it get that high but during busy times it can get away from you. I have been using a 4' mid mount mower on a kubota lawn tractor to take it down, but it struggles something fierce. And then it is a lot easier to incoporate and get it decomposed in the soil when it's chopped up real good. I should have clarified earlier that I don't cut "hay" for animals. I will be cutting grass/alfalfa before it goes to seed for mulch/compost in which case chopping it up is a good thing. As for the compost, you're right about not bieng able to pile it up very high. I have used the same mid mount mower for chopping up compost materials. It works reasonably well as long as the material is relatively dry and not piled very high. The side dicharge helped cause I could sort of direct the material into bigger piles. With a bigger tractor (I'm currently looking at NH TC40-45D) and a rotary cutter I thought I could handle more material. How far to you think the material would scatter? Sorry for bieng so long-winded.

    Jan


  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2000
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    14
    Location
    Connecticut USA
    Tractor
    John Deere 855 with loader, backhoe and 5 foot rotary cutter

    Default Re: "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    I have a "do it all" rotary cutter. It mows my lawn and woods roads, levels out the high spots, keeps the kids out of my hair when I'm using it, mulches my tree and shrub prunings, and finds all the toys the kids leave laying around the yard. What more could I ask of it?


  5. #5
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    You're sure right that a rotary cutter will handle the cutting jobs you're talking about much better than a mid-mount finish mower. The only ones I've used discharge out the rear, and because of the rotation of the blade, slightly to one side.

    Now I don't recall ever hearing the term "hairy vetch". In fact, I haven't heard much of vetch at all in many years. When I was in my early teens, my dad used to plant rye and vetch for winter pasture for the milk cow and my horse. If I remember right, the vetch made a bluish purple blossom. The worst part was that I had to help him move 7 bee hives from up by the fruit trees and garden down in the bottom where the vetch was for the winter, then move them back the next Spring.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    Bird

  6. #6
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    Yep, they really are good for all those things, aren't they, DarrylG.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img] Sounds like some of my work.

    Bird

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2000
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    14
    Location
    Connecticut USA
    Tractor
    John Deere 855 with loader, backhoe and 5 foot rotary cutter

    Default Re: "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    Bird - What surprises me is that it does a decent job on the lawn. Beats the heck out the tips of the grass which causes them to turn brown, but better than my other option, which is a 20 inch push mower. I think mayve I'll put a sharper edge on the blades after I'm done wacking down all the brush that I need to. Any reason I shouldn't do that guys?

    Darryl


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    271
    Location
    Alabama
    Tractor
    JD 5210, JD 521 Loader, JD MX6 Rotary Cutter, TufLine 6' Disk, TufLine 6' Grader Blade, TufLine 6' Box Blade

    Default Re: "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    Want to see some hairy vetch? Try this site. http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/ccrop/ and click on List all crops in the Cover Crops Database" and then click on "Hairy Vetch" and then click on "Images of Hairy Vetch". You may also want to look at some other stuff that you, and I, have never seen.


  9. #9
    Veteran Member wen's Avatar
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    1,513
    Location
    Central Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota M6800SD/LA1002 Loader Kubota RTV900

    Default Re: "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    You should be able to do everything pretty well with a good rotary cutter except cut hay. I have seen it done with a rotary cutter, but most people prefer a cutter made for that job and let the same guy who rakes and bales it cut it. Older rotary cutters would do this by removing the cover on one side and installing an attachment to windrow the cut hay. Guess they decided that a 6 ft blade running with no guards was too dangerous for people now. Mulching of leaves, etc work fair for a garden, but they rot when you till them under. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    I have a six foot medium duty Bush Hog Model 260 which works well. The sides are 1/4 inch plate, so the chances of sending a blade through the side are significantly reduced. It is well made and includes chain guards and a slip clutch on the one I have.

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by wen on 6/9/00 09:53 AM.</FONT></P>

  10. #10
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Do it all" rotary cutter...

    Very interesting. I wonder if there were that many different kinds of vetch 45 to 50 years ago. I didn't know there was more than one, and looking at those pictures, I'm not even sure which one it was that Dad used. I just know he sowed rye and vetch under the pecan trees after we picked up all the pecans in the Fall.

    Bird

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