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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    2000 New Holland TC29D with 7308 FEL, and top & tilt. 1950 John Deere B. 1940 Farmall A.

    Default Flail Mower vs Finish Mower or Bush Hog

    Does anyone here have experience with flail mowers? I realize they won’t replace a bush hog, but I am curious about what they will do and how they compare to a bush hog and a finish mower.

    My questions are:

    1) How does the cut compare to a finish mower?

    2) Do they handle taller grass or do you have to keep the grass mowed regularly? For example, can I cut 4’ grass with one?

    3) Do they typically cost more or less than a bush hog?

    4) What can I do with a flail mower that I can't do with a finish mower? For example, I saw an add for one that is "offsetable" which would be handy.

    5) What can I do with a finish mower that I can't do with a flail mower?

    6) Can I go as fast with a flail mower as I can with a finish mower?

    7) What are some pro and cons of flail mowers that anyone can think of?


  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Cherry Valley, New York (near Cooperstown, NY)
    Kubota L4630, with cab and loader, 1951 Ferguson TO-20, 1986 Ford 5610 with loader

    Default Re: Flail Mower vs Finish Mower or Bush Hog

    The only thing I know about flail mowers is what my friend told me. He had one to use on his pastures, and he said it was a maintenance nightmare. He said he had to constantly work on it. He finally just stoped using it and bought a brush hog.

    "What a long strange trip it's been."

  3. #3
    Elite Member rbargeron's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    L5450, L48, L3250, L345

    Default Re: Flail Mower vs Finish Mower or Bush Hog

    Flails can be great - if your place is not rocky. In answer to your questions:

    1) Not quite as smooth as finish mower, better than rotary.

    2) The handle taller grass better than a finisher, just need to slow down.

    3) Depends on the quality - there's a wide range from less to much more.

    4) Offset is possible ($$ if variable), follows uneven ground a little better, will grind orchard prunings & small brush better than a finisher or rotary.

    5) Finish mower leaves the most uniform cut. Blades for finisher are cheaper (depending on flail model)

    6) Yes mowing speed is similar.

    7) Pro - Makes woody brush disappear - compact unit - good ground compliance. Con - the better ones have heavier forged blades - work great but are expensive to replace and don't seem to tolerate rocks as well as other mowers. High speed, high inertia means more bearing maintenance. Failed bearings can mean shaft replacement (big $$).

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Hartford, South Dakota
    JD 1050, JD 955 MFD & Loader

    Default Re: Flail Mower vs Finish Mower or Bush Hog

    I had a Ford flail, sorry, can't remember the model number. it was a very good machine, and produced an excellent cut. Late last fall, I bought a JD 25A flail. I have not mowed with it yet, but have had it on the tractor and everything is fine with it.

    In answer to your questions:

    1) As good or better

    2) I've seen a city owned tractor with right and left side flails, and one on the rear mow 5' grass, weeds and cattails.

    3) More than a brush hog. The 25A's run about $3500 new.

    4) Offset, as you mentioned, is a great advantage.

    5) Throw rocks.

    6) Yes, JD manual claims mow up to 7 mph.

    7) Pro: In our operation, mowing 250+- subdivision lots in a residential setting, safety is utmost. Launching rocks and other items is less than desireable for us. Easy to manuver around lot stakes, power poles, pad mount transformers, ect., offset makes trimmimg a lot easier. Flail knives are a lot less weight to handle when changing blades. I've changes a set of flails on the Ford, 72 blades, in 20 minutes with an air ratchet.

    Con: Cost of a new unit.

    Check out this link,<A target="_blank" HREF=>FlailMaster</A> has an extensive line of replacement parts for many different manufactures mowers, and with better prices than OEM dealer.

    For the average home owner, the flails are spendy compaired to finish and rotary mowers. For our business use, I can easily justify the added expense, when safety is concerned. As long as they are used properly, and cared for, they provide many years of service at a reasonable price.


  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Default Re: Flail Mower vs Finish Mower or Bush Hog


    <A target="_blank" HREF=;Board=implement&amp;Numbe r=63517&amp;Search=true&amp;Forum=All_Forums&amp;W ords=Flail&amp;Match=Entire%20Phrase&amp;Searchpag e=1&amp;Limit=50&amp;Old=allposts&amp;Main=62726>H ere's an older post on rotary &amp; some flail...</A>

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Columbia county NY
    87 Ingersoll 444, 84 Ingersoll224/'44 GreavlyL/60'sGreavlyL/49 Ford 8N

    Default Re: Flail Mower vs Finish Mower or Bush Hog

    My dad had a flail mower on his old Farmall. The only problem he ever had with it was the broken flails. He used to replace about 10-15 each spring. Not that bad considering he was mowing a junk yard. The one problem I could see with the setup was noise. Made a LOT of racket.

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