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  1. #1
    New Member
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    North Texas
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    MF 1533, 2006

    Default Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    Just getting started in small acreage coastal haying. I've heard that drum/rotary mowers shred the hay unless you go fast while mowing. I've been advised that the sickle mower is the way to go for small acreage. Any opinions are welcome.

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    central New York
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    all makes and models

    Default Re: Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    A sickle mower should be cheaper to buy and requires less horsepower to operate. The sickle mower normally does only one cut once at most all forward speeds.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
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    Dec 2004
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    Kentucky
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    Mahindra 4110

    Default Re: Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    Quote Originally Posted by BEETLEINTX
    Just getting started in small acreage coastal haying. I've heard that drum/rotary mowers shred the hay unless you go fast while mowing. I've been advised that the sickle mower is the way to go for small acreage. Any opinions are welcome.
    A drum mower and a rotary mower are not the same beast. The rotary mowers shred whatever they are cutting, and a drum mower doesn't.

    If you are buying new the drum mower is a better investment. At $2400-$2900 they have a lot of advantages in that they do not have high horsepower requirements and do not clog easily. They will leave you a nicely cut field and you can cut under any conditions, such as the field being wet from dew. HayMAXX Drum Mowers by CCM

    Sickle bar mowers are the tired and true hay mowing machine and there are a lot of used ones on the market that can be bought at decent prices. You have to be careful when buying used to make sure you don't end up spending more to rebuild the mower than it is worth. New sickle mowers are going to run around $2200 and up. These mowers can give a nice cut under the right conditions. They are not speed demons and you will have to keep the ground speed down to keep them from clogging, and if you have really thick hay it can clog the sickle mower.
    Mahindra 4110 w/ FEL, Dearborn 10-152 12" plow, Ford LIFT E Disk, 1 row cultivator, PHD, 6' Box Blade

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Grrrr's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
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    Devon, UK
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    John Deere!

    Default Re: Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    If I was you I would go with the drum mower anyday. You will not have any problems with shredding up the hay. Almost all hay is cut with similar machines to this anyway now.

    Theres nothing better to be mowing along with a drum mower at 15 MPH

    Sickle bars you are down to about 4 MPH (To slow for my liking)

    And old ones are a PITA once they start getting broken or when they keep on getting clogged up.

    We will be using a drum mower tomorrow to start cutting our hay and our smallest field is about 2 acres. The drum mower has no problems getting around in there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith_B
    A drum mower and a rotary mower are not the same beast. The rotary mowers shred whatever they are cutting, and a drum mower doesn't.
    I wouldn't go cutting any hay with a Rotary Mower as I don't think you will have much luck baling it
    Jake

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Kentucky
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    Mahindra 4110

    Default Re: Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grrrr
    I wouldn't go cutting any hay with a Rotary Mower as I don't think you will have much luck baling it
    That's for sure. The shredded grass is hard to rake and bale.
    Mahindra 4110 w/ FEL, Dearborn 10-152 12" plow, Ford LIFT E Disk, 1 row cultivator, PHD, 6' Box Blade

  6. #6
    Elite Member zzvyb6's Avatar
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    michigan
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    jd 1070

    Default Re: Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    A sickle bar mower "1 armed bandit" is just that. It cuts the hay and it falls down in lengths ultimately suitable to rake and bale. A sickle mower conditioner combines sickle mowing with crimping (conditioning). They take little power (I've used an 18hp Yanmar to run this NH479). Its a 9' cut although they come in 7', 12' and 16' widths. With my 38hp JD I can run in top gear if I need to but you don't want to outrun the reel speed which combs the cut hay into the conditioning rolls. These machines are fairly simple devices and are easy to service in the field if a knife or guard breaks. I have not broken a guard in 10 years but often will crack a knife on a gopher hole stone. This machine stores a spare knife in the suspension frame so its easier for me to swap out the whole knife than to change a section. I converted to bolt on sections from riveted ones just because rivets can be a pita. I use under-serated blades for grassy hay. You can tow these machines down the highway with ease, too, behind a truck.
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  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Kentucky
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    Default Re: Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    Quote Originally Posted by zzvyb6
    A sickle bar mower "1 armed bandit" is just that. It cuts the hay and it falls down in lengths ultimately suitable to rake and bale. A sickle mower conditioner combines sickle mowing with crimping (conditioning). They take little power (I've used an 18hp Yanmar to run this NH479). Its a 9' cut although they come in 7', 12' and 16' widths. With my 38hp JD I can run in top gear if I need to but you don't want to outrun the reel speed which combs the cut hay into the conditioning rolls. These machines are fairly simple devices and are easy to service in the field if a knife or guard breaks. I have not broken a guard in 10 years but often will crack a knife on a gopher hole stone. This machine stores a spare knife in the suspension frame so its easier for me to swap out the whole knife than to change a section. I converted to bolt on sections from riveted ones just because rivets can be a pita. I use under-serated blades for grassy hay. You can tow these machines down the highway with ease, too, behind a truck.
    What's the HP requirements for the NH 479?
    Mahindra 4110 w/ FEL, Dearborn 10-152 12" plow, Ford LIFT E Disk, 1 row cultivator, PHD, 6' Box Blade

  8. #8
    Silver Member
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    Aug 2005
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    Southwest Maine
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    JD 5205 JD 5203 Ford 3600 JD 850 JD 755 Kioti DK65

    Default Re: Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    The 7' mower specs at 30HP and the 9' at 35HP.
    http://www.newholland.com/FILES/tbl_...neMC_specs.pdf

  9. #9
    Gold Member
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    Jan 2007
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    Default Re: Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    Drum mower is the way to go. For several years, I had been cutting hay with a Bush-hog model 205, with the side removed. It would cut, condition a little, because of the rolling action, and throw the hay to the right. Problem with it is that no matter how sharp the blade is, you still left uncut strips of hay where your tires knock the hay over before the cutter gets to it. Not too bad in orchard grass, but when you get into sudax, the uncured hay would get pulled up into the round baler, and add enough moisture to ruin the hay. When I got my Hay Max after the 4th of July this year, I had already cut 1st cutting of orchard grass, 1st cutting of sudax, so I still had those experiences fresh in my mind so to speak. There is no comparison, the drum mower wins hands down. I have also cut with a sickle bar mower, and it don't compare either. The only minor drawbacks I see is that the mower is heavy, both in field and road positions, and you can't hook a conditioner or tedder behind it, like you could with an older sicklebar. I just got done mowing down about an acre of sugar corn for fodder, and it works good for that, too

  10. #10
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    2008 Mahindra 5525, 1964 MF-135 diesel, 1951 Farmall Super A, 1951 Minneapolis Moline BF, 1945 Oliver 60 Row Crop, 1949 JD B widefront

    Default Re: Drum Mower or Sickle Mower?

    Quote Originally Posted by BEETLEINTX
    Just getting started in small acreage coastal haying. I've heard that drum/rotary mowers shred the hay unless you go fast while mowing. I've been advised that the sickle mower is the way to go for small acreage. Any opinions are welcome.

    Check this out for what is, I suppose, an informed opinion on this subject:

    Hay Harvesters by Hobby Horse Ranch L.L.C.

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