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  1. #1
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    Sep 2005
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    25

    Default Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    I recently purchased 35 acres in central Virginia, of which about 20 are in the open. 15 of these acres are in old pasture that I am in the process of reclaiming. Last year, I bought a JD 5205 and a medium duty Woods 7' bush hog (thanks to help I got here!) to start mowing the old pasture, which had bunch of privet, nettles, etc. due to many years with no mowing. The pasture is now looks a lot better, but there's lots of thatch and I'd like to get a more groomed look than I'm getting with the Woods rotary cutter. I have also cleared another 5 acres at the entrance of the property, which are about to be hydroseeded. I want this part to have more of a lawn type appearance (I won't be grazing horses in this area).

    My original intention was to buy a finish mower to improve the cut on the pasture area, as well as to use on the new "lawn" areas. However, some of the lawn area is fairly steep, and some has trees that have to be navigated around.

    So, now I am considering purchasing a finish mower for the JD, and/or a ZTR to do the lawn areas. This could get expensive in a hurry. Should I just get a finish mower, or is it worth the extra investment in a ZTR? The cost of hydroseeding is not small, and I'm a bit worried about driving the JD over these areas with a finish mower. That and the problem of navigating steeper grades with the JD are making me consider at ZT as well. Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member lhfarm's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    1,329
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Tractor
    NH TC40DA

    Default Re: Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    I am a big ZTR fan, but you want to have your dealer bring a mower to your property and do a demo - especially on the steep parts. A ZTR may not work for that part, but it can't be beat for covering a lot of ground.
    Barry
    Lawson Hill Farm
    NH TC40DA
    '64 IH Cub Lo-Boy
    '47 Willys Jeep CJ2a w/ PTO
    '49 Willys Jeep CJ3a w/ PTO & 3pt lift
    http://www.farmjeep.com/

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Oleozz's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
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    1,572
    Location
    Pa.
    Tractor
    International 1066 with Year Round Cab, Kioti DK 45S with Cab, 451 Loader

    Default Re: Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    There are certain brands of ZTR's that are much better on hills than others. There are lots of knowledgable people on www.lawnsite.com. that can give you good advice. I have a ZTR and had a Woods 6 ft finish mower pulled by a JD. For hills I prefer the Woods, I never feel real comfortable doing any hill work with the ZTR. If I was to do much hill work with a ZTR I would have ROPS and a seatbelt, many come equipped that way.
    "Land management is an art that builds on history and is based in science." Herb Stoddard Sr.

  4. #4
    Gold Member BleedGreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    471
    Location
    Iowa
    Tractor
    John Deere LX178

    Default Re: Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    Even as a long time Deere man, I have to recommend one of the larger Ferris ZT mowers, with the four-wheel Independent Suspension. They have changed some models around since I sold them, but I believe that the IS5100Z, the IS4500Z and possibly the IS3100Z all have the four-wheel IS. You definitely want a model with the four-wheel IS, not the (front) two-wheel IS. I have demo'd the Ferris units on some slopes that I really should not have been on - and they were rock solid. The four-wheel IS pushes each wheel/tire down for positive traction all the way around. You definitely want your dealer to bring a few models out for you to try, but I think you would be very happy with a Ferris.
    I can run a D100 and a 9560RT (and most of the models in between) all in the same day!!!

  5. #5
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
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    39,585
    Location
    Texas

    Default Re: Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    My original intention was to buy a finish mower to improve the cut on the pasture area
    A finish mower is a pretty expensive piece of equipment to use on a pasture. I would expect your rotary cutter to not be very sharp. In fact, I think you "normally" want about a one-eighth inch flat face on the edge rather than the sharper edge that finish mowers (lawnmowers) have. Now IF you are not going to be cutting brush and saplings, only grass and weeds, you can sharpen the blades on that rotary cutter and get a more finished appearance for the pasture.
    Bird

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    43
    Location
    New Jersey
    Tractor
    Kubota Dealer

    Default Re: Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    Felonious,

    A couple of things come to mind when considering maintaining 35 acres.
    1. Hills
    2. Wet areas
    3. Reclaimed areas
    4. Terrain "Rideability"
    First thing is a zero turn is gonna save you countless hours of mowing time. Second is compaction. A zero turn will weigh between 900-1200 lbs depending if you choose a 60 inch or 72 inch cut as opposed to your tractors weight and then adding the additional mower. Mowing the amount of acres you are, I would consider a 72 inch ZTR. It's wider stance and marginal weight increase are going to help you stick to the hills. Check out one of the Dixie Chopper Xtreme series 72 inch mowers. 5 acres plus per hour and a blade tip speed that you can do light brush hogging with. I think the biggest concern is the "Rideability" of your parcel. To get the true benefit of a ZTR you need to be moving quickly. Get a demo and try it on different parts of your place. It's more expensive upfront but you will be buying some of your life back buy getting the mowing done quicker.

    Brian
    Ace Outdoor Power
    732-237-8727

  7. #7
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    281
    Location
    albany, NY
    Tractor
    5030 tractor, ZD28 mower

    Default Re: Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    I have a zd28 kubota(28 hp diesel zeroturn) and I mow about 7 acres. Nothing comes close to the speed and the quality of cut of a ztr. Hands down will run circles around a tractor. With that said I an getting rid of my zd28 because you are taking your life in your hands when you try to mow steep slopes with a ztr. What happens is as you try to go down a slope as you pull the handles back to slow down the wheels lock up and it is like you are on skiis.Try go side to side and they will slide or spin out. I have used a 4wd tractor on same slope and no problem as the front wheels of the 4wd provide enough braking effect to stop sliding. I am looking at a F3680(kubota) which is kinda like a 4wd ztr. I really don't want to go with a 4wd tractor as they are slow, but if the f3680 doesn't work out I will mow the flats spots of my property with the ztr and the slopes with a small 4wd tractor.Anyway, follow the advice from the other posters and get a demo on whatever you buy.

  8. #8
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    6,456
    Location
    central New York
    Tractor
    all makes and models

    Default Re: Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    The F-series would be a good unit for you for ride and quality of cut. On several demo's the kubota Z has done very well against other makes of Z-s on side hills.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    OK, so I have zero experience with ZTR mowers and I really appreciate (but don't quite understand) what everyone is saying here. Why are ZTR's such time savers as compared to a tractor? Does it have to do with maneuverability? Speed over ground? Both? I would have thought that a 56HP JD tractor mowing open pasture would be pretty darn efficient. I may have mistated here, but my Woods rotary cutter is 84". Would a 60 or 72" ZTR be faster? If so, why? The advantage of less compaction for a ZTR is obvious though.

    I needed the bush hog to reclaim the pasture area. I might have destroyed a finish mower doing that job. Now that it's under control and nothing but grass, I'd like a cleaner and lower cut. According to a previous post, maybe I should just sharpen the blades on the Woods rotary cutter, now that it's doing lighter work? Or maybe I can mow the whole parcel with a large ZTR, skip buying a finish mower for the JD, and keep the Woods rotary cutter for the few tough areas?

    I may be mistaken, but finish mowers for the tractor are fairly reasonable in cost. I think the local dealer said a Woods RM 990 90" mower new was around $3000-4000 new. That's lot cheaper than even a medium duty 60" ZTR.

    Thanks for all the advice. I guess the question boils down to this. I've already invested a bunch of money in the JD. Am I better off just buying a finish mower for the tractor, or should I put this towards at large ZTR instead? I already have the heavy duty Woods rotary cutter, which I will need to keep. Or maybe I just sharpen the blades on the rotary cutter for the pasture, and buy a smaller ZTR or even a decent ride-on with a belly mower for the smaller lawn areas. Am I making sense here?

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Finish mower, ZTR, or both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Power Equipment
    Felonious,

    A couple of things come to mind when considering maintaining 35 acres.
    1. Hills
    2. Wet areas
    3. Reclaimed areas
    4. Terrain "Rideability"
    First thing is a zero turn is gonna save you countless hours of mowing time. Second is compaction. A zero turn will weigh between 900-1200 lbs depending if you choose a 60 inch or 72 inch cut as opposed to your tractors weight and then adding the additional mower. Mowing the amount of acres you are, I would consider a 72 inch ZTR. It's wider stance and marginal weight increase are going to help you stick to the hills. Check out one of the Dixie Chopper Xtreme series 72 inch mowers. 5 acres plus per hour and a blade tip speed that you can do light brush hogging with. I think the biggest concern is the "Rideability" of your parcel. To get the true benefit of a ZTR you need to be moving quickly. Get a demo and try it on different parts of your place. It's more expensive upfront but you will be buying some of your life back buy getting the mowing done quicker.

    Brian
    Ace Outdoor Power
    732-237-8727
    My terrain is varied. The majority is in easy sloped and flat pasture, that is now pretty clean due to two years of cutting with the heavy duty Woods rotary cutter. There are also about three acres of boggy low ground that I think would never work with a ZTR. (I probably would get stuck with the JD if it didn't have AG tires and/or 4WD in a few spots, and without the 56HP diesel the mower would stall). The newly cleared ares have some steeper slopes. I'm pretty sure a ZTR or my JD won't be a problem, it's more an issue of tearing up expensive hydroseeding with the JD's weight and AG tires. I don't know from experience, but I would also guess that a ZTR might not get enough traction to maneuver well on these steeper areas.

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