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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    58
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Tractor
    1999 Kubota L3710GST

    Default Sizing tractor for 5\' bush hog

    Well I've read Muhammad's book 2-3 times, and web pages till my eyes are crossed, talked to several folks I know, and made LOTS of trips to the dealers to look at different models; and I think I've got the list narrowed down. But before I really head down the purchase path, I'd like to submit my specs to The Collective and see what y'all think.

    I suppose a little background is in order.
    1. I've never owned a tractor.
    2. My wife an I are in the process of purchasing 50 acres in S.W Virginia where we live.
    3. Of that 50 acres, about 25-30 acres are in existing pasture/hay field. The rest will remain native woods. The fields have good, thick grass. I don't plan to hay them, though neighbors with the similar fields do. I just plan to mow (bush hog) them. They will be home to our two horses.
    4. I plan to use the tractor to mow the fields, clean out the barn stalls, drag the riding ring, maintain about 700-1000 feet of gravel driveway, install fence posts, and the various landcaping and "movin' dirt around" kind of stuff that comes up on a farmette.
    5. A NH/Massey dealer is the big player in my area. We have a couple of kubota dealers within a reasonable distance, another NH/Massey dealer, and a couple of JD dealers. But the one dealer is about twice the size of anyone else. They are also the one closest to our property. They have good looking parts and service departments, and my two interactions with the sales folks have been very positive. A farmer friend of my wife's does business with them, and is positive about them. All good marks.
    6. Based on my research, it appears that a tractor in the 30-35 engine HP range with a 5' rotary cutter is probably the best fit. A 6' cutter would be nice, but the reponses I've gotten about putting a 6' cutter on a 30-35 HP tractor have been luke warm, and the price of going to a bigger tractor is just prohibitive. Because my fields are already established, a light weight cutter seems like it will be sufficient. About the toughest thing I will hit is some berry vines growing along the edge of the field. Because my wife (small person) will also be using the tractor, I can't go for one of the big old monsters (e.g., MF 240) that are around. We need power steering, synchro selector or better transmission, live or better PTO, wet brakes, FEL....
    7. A major item to me is to ensure that the design of the tractor is sturdy enough to run a 5' hog for years without damaging the tractor. No use in buying something that will get torn up in a few years. Unless something unexpected happens, this tractor should do everything I will ever need to do with on property. Yea, yea, I can hear the chuckles. I've ridden motorcycles all my life, so I'm very clear about the difference between "needing a new tractor" and "wanting a new tractor."

    What my research has turned up is that
    1. The second tier of brands (e.g., Long, TAFE) just aren't represented enough in my area to be viable.
    2. The little Masseys (e.g., 1240, 1250) don't fit me. The levers hit me in the knees and are behind my legs. So they are out.
    3. The little Deeres (e.g., 4300, 4400) crowd the levers too close to sides of the seat for me. So unless I was to turn up a great deal on one, they are probably out too.
    4. I've gotten sizings/quotes from two major I'net Kubota dealers, and they both recommend a L3410 (34 HP) over a L3010 (30 HP). I'm not considering an L3000 (30 HP econo) because I want the mid-size frame, and the L3000 is built on the small frame.
    5. The NH dealer feels that both the TC33D (33HP) and TC30 (30 HP econo) are a good fit for my requirements. The fit of the TC30 is OK, but I can easily appreciate the added creature comforts of the TC33D. So for the NH line, that is probably my fist choice. Well, actually a TC35D would be, but that money issue comes up again.
    6. If I could find a good, clean, used Ford 1920 (33 HP) the search would be over. Because it is built on a bigger, heavier frame, it would seem to be an almost perfect fit. But unfortunately, good, clean examples appear to be hard to find. Would seem that others share the same opinion I have come to.

    Well there you have it, the rest of the story. Now, what I'm hoping you will be so kind as to do, is to provide me a sanity check.

    Have you run a 5' hog on this class of machine? Especially any of the current or reasonably current Kubota or NH models.
    Will they cut thick grass at a reasonable rate? I won't be doing this for a living, so I am willing to slow down a little, but I don't want to have to go at 1 MPH.
    Will they handle running a 5' hog for a long time without damaging the tractor?
    Any other salient thoughts are always appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    3,676
    Location
    Grayson County, TX
    Tractor
    Kubota B2710

    Default Re: Sizing tractor for 5\' bush hog

    I run a 5 foot brush hog on my B2710, which is only 20 PTO HP, and it works fine. My father in law runs one on an L3010 just fine. Those tractors you are considering should be perfect for a 5 foot cutter.

  3. #3
    Elite Member Gary_in_Indiana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    3,388
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Tractor
    John Deere 4200 MFWD HST w/ JD 420 FEL w/ 61" loader bucket & toothbar & JD 37 BH w/ 12" bucket

    Default Re: Sizing tractor for 5\' bush hog

    I agree. I have a JD 4200 with 20 PTO HP and intend to buy a 5' brush hog for it. I think anything you mentioned there will accomodate that size rotary cutter.

    As to your comment on the closeness of the controls to the seat on the John Deere models I'm going to guess you are what I might refer to as "a bigger boy." [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    At 6'-8"+ and 285 lbs., I can not only sympathize but also empathize with your situation there. Rather than eliminate JD from consideration (a dramatic error for a number of reasons) I might suggest you check out this link entitled http://Tall Man's Modified Joystick by CVHoss. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/clever.gif[/img] I took his idea and love it. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/love.gif[/img] I think you would, too.

    Good luck in your search.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,927
    Location
    Home-1+ acres New Hope, TX / 24 acres-Fannin County
    Tractor
    JD 950

    Default Re: Sizing tractor for 5\' bush hog

    I run a 6' Howse light duty rotary cutter behind my JD 950 (27 PTO hp). I use it to mow pasture, ditches, and clear brush along the creek. It does fine. The only time I have any problem is if I let the coastal bermuda or the johnson grass get too tall when it is really growing fast, green, and heavy. I normally run in 2H, but may have to drop down to 1H or even 4L if the grass is too heavy. If I mow regularly, I could run in 3H, but that is just a little faster than I want to go. With 25 acres to mow, I would recommend as a large cutter as you can manage.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Sizing tractor for 5\' bush hog

    <font color=blue>...about 25-30 acres are in existing pasture/hay field. .. I don't plan to hay them...I just plan to mow (bush hog) them. They will be home to our two horses...</font color=blue>

    Have you considered having a local farmer "cut/hay" your fields and come up with an arrangement for $$$ (him paying you), bales of hay for your horses...?

    It would become a win-win situation for all, you'll generate some dollars (it doesn't matter how much/little), have constant supply of hay for your horses, the farmer has extra hay, your fields are mowed regularly, and no tractor/fuel/maintenance expense on your behalf... [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Then you still get your dream tractor ~~ 30 PTO hp for the rest of your plans, buy a do-all 5' rotary cutter that won't bog down on tall grass, and will actually cut tough stuff it was designed to do (1-2" saplings/real brush)...


  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    1,444
    Location
    South-central Michigan
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40D

    Default Re: Sizing tractor for 5\' bush hog

    With that much mowing, I think a 5' is undersized. You'll be at it for days. Do as John suggests with a local farmer or look at something bigger. A 6' should pull in most situations just fine behind a 33 to 35 hp tractor. If you run into any difficulty you'll just have to mow a little longer to give the hog the ability to get the cuttings out quicker.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Charlie_Iliff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    1,896
    Location
    Arnold, MD
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT1845, John Deere 2240, John Deere 950, John Deere 755, Jacobsen Turf Cat II

    Default Re: Sizing tractor for 5\' bush hog

    You should have no trouble with a 72 inch rather than 60 inch. We have had the same experience as BB_TX. For 15 years, we have been mowing pastures with a 2wd John Deere 950 - 27 PTO HP. and a heavy duty Woods 6 foot single spindle rotary. It has mowed heavy growth with no complaint, fairly fast, and has chewed though multiflora rose and other brush with no problems at all.

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