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  1. #1

    Default Mowing with a compact tractor

    I will be purchasing a 30hp 4wd tractor (probably a JD 4310 ehydro) with FEL. I will need to cut a "lawn area" of about 3 acres. My ultimate plans call for a zero radius mower but with the house being built, etc, I can only enjoy so many toys. My question concerns using a belly mower versus a 3 point finishing mower. Does anyone have any opinions? Thanks.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    180
    Location
    Southern Michigan
    Tractor
    NH TC18 Hydro

    Default Re: Mowing with a compact tractor

    I've got a 60" MMM. My lawn is not completely in yet, but I can mow my 2 ac. in 1 hour. My opinion about the RFM and my experience with other 3PH attachments is that they might be more difficult to swing into tight spaces than a belly mower. Someday, mowing will make up most of the work I do with my tractor and I plan to have a lot of landscaping, so that is important to me. I don't have any other mowing machines planned for my future though, so that would probably make a difference. The biggest advantage to the RFM is the ease of taking it on and off. I don't know how the JD system works, but I can switch between my Loader and Mower deck in about 15min.

    Just my $.02

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mowing with a compact tractor

    Wbender
    There a many threads on this site discussing the benefits and costs of both mmm and rfm. Run a search and start reading. I would say every possible opinion and aspect of these two mowers has been explained on the threads you can find here. Once your decide on mmm or rfm you can start to figure out if side or rear discharge meets your needs. After doing the research I ordered a rfm rear discharge in a 72" size for my B2910 to be delivered tomorrow I might add! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]
    I have about three open acres to mow so the rfm seemed to be the right choice in my case. I think you will find that the guys that have a lot of trees and obstacles opt for the mmm while the guys with open areas seem to go for the rmm. What ever works for you. Good luck.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    542
    Location
    Campbellville, Ontario
    Tractor
    Kubota L3010, BX2200

    Default Re: Mowing with a compact tractor

    Well, much as I love my 3010, I use my little John deere 18HP lawn tractor from my grass. Its only about 2 acres, but it gets done real quick with the lawn tractor. Its easier on the grass because it weighs less, and can scoot under trees, get close to the house, and so on.

    Of course for tall grass it would bog down, but when thats been a problem I simply mow with 'deck up'.

    Just my opinion, but a good lawn tractor is easier on the pocketbook and probably better suited to your job, if all you intend on doing is cutting a few acres of lawn.

    Naturally, if you see other uses, even snow clearing, a CUT may be a better choice.

    You could, maybe, look into renting or borrowing to try it out.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    873
    Location
    N Central Ohio
    Tractor
    NH TC35D/SUPER H&M/F-20/JD B&D/FORDSON/JD250 SSL

    Default Re: Mowing with a compact tractor

    Have u looked at any of the NH CUT w/ SS.
    My 35D w/ 84" MMM turns almost like a zero turn.
    It will turn right back for the next pass.
    Taking the mower off is a couple minute job and 5 or so putting on.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    582
    Location
    Seattle area
    Tractor
    JD 855 4WD, HST

    Default Re: Mowing with a compact tractor

    wbender,

    I didn't purchase my tractor primarily for mowing but eventually I will be mosing a few acres. I bought my tractor used and it didn't come with the belly mower. I ended up purchasing a RFM (First Choice 60"). This decision was based mostly on money as the RFM is about half the price but also I'd heard that taking the MMM on and off can be quite a pain. The RFM cuts perfectly, adjusts easily, and works well in areas where the "grass" couldn't really be considered lawn. The belly mower might work equally well in those areas but I'm not sure.

    Now with all that being said. If I had to do it all over again I think I would have looked very hard for the stock MMM for my machine. I don't think I'd get a better cut but I think mowing would be far simpler. I don't take my loader off when mowing so when I'm tooling around my tractor is pretty long with the loader and the RFM on. My 2 cents says if you are buying a new machine go ahead and get the MMM. Good luck

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    800
    Location
    East Tennessee
    Tractor
    B2910 & BX23 (previously B2150 & B7100D)

    Default Re: Mowing with a compact tractor

    wbender,

    I guess that I am spoiled. I have two Kubotas; one with a mid-mower and one with a rear-mower. I use them both on a regular basis (or should I say that my wife and I use the two tractors...). Here are my opinions:

    Maintenance: With regards to maintenance, the rear mower is much easier when tasks such as blade sharpening is required. Mid-mowers typically require you to remove the deck to access the blades.

    R&R: With regards to installation and removal of the mower, the rear-mower used to be extrememly easier, but with modern mid-mower designs, the difference has been reduced, but the rear mower is still easier to deal with.

    Storage: When storing the tractor with mower attached, the mid-mower has a decisive edge as it takes MUCH less garage space to store.

    Availability: Rear mowers are readily available, and can be assumed to stay that way. Mid-mowers are typically custom designed to the tractor; therefore, chances are that at some time in the future the mid-mower that is available today may no longer be available.

    Cost: The custom built mid-mower is almost double the cost of a rear-mower.

    Issues with Mowing...

    Maneuverability: The mid-mower is much more maneuverable than the rear mower. Plan to let someone with lower operator abilities mow?

    Breathing Dust & Debris: Have allergies? The rear mower offers the advantage of having the discharge chute located much further away from the operator relative to the mid-mower. A rear discharge mower is even better in this regard.

    Hard-to-Reach areas: The rear mower allows the operator to put the mower in areas that would be impossible for mid-mowers. For example, I'll use my rear-mower to mow over the edge of a bank, over the edge of a river, or under tree limbs.

    Stability: I feel much more comfortable mowing questionable slopes using the mid-mower than with the rear-mower. If I mow down a slope with my 3-point mower and am not perpendicular to the slope, the mower will have a tendancy to push the tractor sideways as it obviously wants to travel down the hill faster than the tractor is moving.

    Bottom Line: I think that answers to the "which is better" arguement varies greatly based upon the answers to the following questions:

    (1) What is the percentage of time is the tractor used for mowing?
    (2) Does the area to be mowed dictate one type over the other?
    (3) Do you frequently use the tractor for other tasks that requires the mower to be removed?

    The majority of my tractor's operating hours (80%?) are used for mowing. In general, I actually like mowing with the mid-mower best, when the area to be mowed allows. This statement assumes that I am comparing a side-discharge mid-mower with a side-discharge rear-mower. Since I like rear-discharge mowers better than side-discharge mowers, I usually end up mowing with my 72" rear discharge 3-point mower.

    Good Luck,
    Kelvin

  8. #8
    Veteran Member chim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,763
    Location
    Lancaster County, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3200, Ford 1210

    Default Re: Mowing with a compact tractor

    Kelvin, excellent post. You covered the subject well. Most of us have a tendency to "sell" our preferences, but your post is very informative.

    Mower choice is pretty much a matter of going through a checklist like yours, and seeing what characteristics are more important to the individual. I had a tractor with a MMM, and now have two with RFM's. When I bought the last RFM (Landpride AT2560), the big decision was between side and rear discharge. My Mom-in-law has a 60" mowing machine with RD, and it always leaves windrows between the blades where the grass blows out. I didn't want to end up with that scenario.

    Some people prefer the RD so they can trim along sidewalks/flower beds/etc travelling in either direction. I kinda like being able to use the mower to gather leaves and such using the side discharge as an overgrown leaf blower................chim

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    180
    Location
    Southern Michigan
    Tractor
    NH TC18 Hydro

    Default Re: Mowing with a compact tractor

    Well said Kelvin. One thing I've wondered about and maybe this will impact wbender's decision too is this...

    I've got 2 acres of almost lawn and 1 acres of old farm field that's not too rough but has lots of rocks. I've mowed the area with my MMM up but I wonder if the rear mower would be any better for rough cutting until this is converted to lawn also? I can see most big rocks before I hit them, but occasionaly I've hit the top of a few. It seems I might be able to raise the RFM a little higher than the MMM.

  10. #10
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    244
    Location
    Geneseo, New York
    Tractor
    John Deere 4300

    Default Re: Mowing with a compact tractor

    I just purchased a lawn tractor to cut the grass around the house and will be buying a new RFM for my 4300 to cut the rest of our eight acres. I tried cutting the area around the house with the 4300 with a rear mower and just was not happy. I have the R4 tires and the tight turns were a problem even out of 4wd. I bought a twenty-five hp 42 inch cut tractor and it does a much better job.

    I can just get in places that the 4300 just could not go. My goal is to set the landscape up so everything can be cut in the seated position.

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