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  1. #1
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    Default bush hoging hay fields

    My father in law just purchased 140 acres and about 40 of it is tall hay we want to mow it down at least once this year there is no one to cut and bail for us all we have is a bush hog and a finish mower since it is so tall should we bush hog it first then chop it up with a finish mower to prevent dead spots or will a bush hog be fine

  2. #2
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Default Re: bush hoging hay fields

    Quote Originally Posted by Crw View Post
    My father in law just purchased 140 acres and about 40 of it is tall hay we want to mow it down at least once this year there is no one to cut and bail for us all we have is a bush hog and a finish mower since it is so tall should we bush hog it first then chop it up with a finish mower to prevent dead spots or will a bush hog be fine
    IMO, bushhogging it will be just fine. The dead stuff will decay and new growth with grow right up through. Not sure how tall it is, but I regularly bushhog stuff that is ~24-30" tall. After the cut, it looks good. (everything is still green). But in a day or two it looks bad as the windrows of cuttings turns brown. But after a few weeks, it all looks green like a lawn again. (almost)

    If it is really tall, I wouldnt cut it real low first time. Maybe leave it @ 12-14" tall. Let those clippings decompose and in a few weels, hit it again down to final height.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: bush hoging hay fields

    Quote Originally Posted by Crw View Post
    My father in law just purchased 140 acres and about 40 of it is tall hay we want to mow it down at least once this year there is no one to cut and bail for us all we have is a bush hog and a finish mower since it is so tall should we bush hog it first then chop it up with a finish mower to prevent dead spots or will a bush hog be fine
    As LD1 said: ALMOST
    The bushog only has one big blade or 2 on a stump jumper that still cuts as one. It will tend to make windrows and if it has a tail wheel the tail wheel will leave an impression in the tall grass. In a few months, if you have plenty of rain the cuttings will rot. The field will not be any good for taking hay off of till next summer unless you want rotten moldy hay. The grass will come up through the cuttings but not evenly because of the windrows damaging the grass underneath. If you then cut the emerging grass with your finish mower it will suck up and clump the dead cut grass and it will look like crap most of the season.
    Solution... Use your finish mower. If it has adjustable wheels adjust them to leave 6-8 inches of grass height first. It will zoom through the stuff like it was butter and really not look too bad. After a couple week lower the finish mower to 3-4" and mow it again. It will look much better than doing it first
    with the hog and then again with the finish mower. If the finish mower is wider than the hog it will even save time and fuel.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Default Re: bush hoging hay fields

    Quote Originally Posted by pacerron View Post
    . If the finish mower is wider than the hog it will even save time and fuel.
    I dont know about that. From my experience, if you are cutting an overgrown field, a bushhog will do it in about half the time. You have to go painfully slow with a finish mower to get a halfway decent looking cut from my experience..
    ".........there is only one way to find out."
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: bush hoging hay fields

    i have bush hogged really tall timothy/grass/hay before. grass some places 4 ft tall. my process would be to bush hog it tall first. it probably will mow tough and not look great, but after the first high mowing, let it sit for a couple of weeks. then go back over it in the opposite direction, straddled over where the wheels knocked the grass down the first time mowed. gives a better look and result.

    mowing high grass real short the first mowing will really wilt it bad, especially with summer heat and dry conditions. as the grass grows, the sun does not get down low on the grass stalk any more and it grabs its sunlight all from the top leaf. if you come through and cut it real short, you will not only cut away all the fleshy leaf that feeds the grass, but since it has thinned out at the base from not getting much sunlight, now you bake it in the hot summer sun all the way to the roots.

    i also know of no finish mower that would cut grass THAT tall easily or make it look good. don't go back over it with the finish mower either. at least not until september time. that way you cut away all the up growth that would wilt over winter and mat down under snow. a shorter grass will green up quicker in the spring. just my 2 cents from experience.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member SSdoxie's Avatar
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    Default Re: bush hoging hay fields

    Bush hog it twice. First time can be higher if you wish, then cut it again in a few days when cuttings are starting to dry but go across at a different angle. I have done this and have cut it twice in same day without letting it dry. Either way works fine. Going at angle to the first cut helps pull up any grass that was pushed down by the wheels and the blades will shred up the cuttings in finer pieces so they don't windrow as much.
    Seems like the more I cut the pasture the faster and thicker it regrows.
    Dennis

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: bush hoging hay fields

    Quote Originally Posted by LD1 View Post
    I dont know about that. From my experience, if you are cutting an overgrown field, a bushhog will do it in about half the time. You have to go painfully slow with a finish mower to get a halfway decent looking cut from my experience..
    LD1. I thought your handle looked familiar
    Since he didn't indicate how wide a cut his bushog was compared to his finish mower let's not assume they are the same. Single head bushogs are normally sized narrower than the tractor back wheels while finish mowers are normally wider than the back wheels. If he has a 6 foot bushog and an 8 foot finish mower using the same overlap waste per pass he will make a lot less passes on a 40 acre field with the wider mower.
    We don't know what kind of power he is pulling them with so another unknown
    to deal with as far as going slow. Have you ever cut with your finish mower at a 6-8 inch height? I grant you if you cut a high thick hay field with a finish mower at 3-4" you will have to go slow and will still get some clumping.
    At 6+ inches for the first pass, unless it is rich, thick grass, he will be cutting a lot of seed tops and stems versus the thicker stuff close to the ground.
    If it is good hay he is chopping up a lot of money in 40 acres. They claim hay was going from $400-600 a ton in some of the drought states last year. Somebody should buy it from him if it is any good and do the baling, perhaps after it is prime, but still better than sagebrush. A lot of hay in Ohio is baled after it is prime, as you well know. A lot of weeds are baled as hay and sold as well.
    Another reason for going high the first time around is he isn't familiar with the field. How many junk car parts, high stumps, groundhog holes, and dead bodies are lurking in the high grass waiting to do harm to his equipment or cause him to be hurt?
    Just my opinion, as usual.
    Ron

  8. #8
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    Default Re: bush hoging hay fields

    Quote Originally Posted by Crw View Post
    about 40 of it is tall hay we want to mow it down at least once this year
    Anyone around with horses? You could put 100 head out there, they'd have it eaten down in a month.

    Keep an eye on your radiator screen, if there's seed heads on the hay you'll probably plug up pretty quick. I sometimes mow backwards through small stands of really high stuff if its fluffy, but with 40 acres that's not an option.
    Kubota B2710, New Holland CM274 front mower, Toro Zmaster ZTR, Ford 908 bush hog, New Idea manure spreader, Swisher trail mower

  9. #9
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    Default Re: bush hoging hay fields

    Since we all may have you a bit confused by now with all our various methods and justifications, I will offer my final comment on your question.
    Since you have 40 acres on which to experiment, a tractor, a bushog, and a finish mower why don't you pick an area with very similar growth characteristics and use your equipment to test mow a couple acres with each method.
    Only you can determine what you like best and what works best with your
    particular fields and what is now growing in it. Then finish the remaining acres that way instead of doing it all one way this year and wonder if you should
    have tried another way.

  10. #10
    Elite Member MotorSeven's Avatar
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    Default Re: bush hoging hay fields

    I've hogged many many a field that was way over the hood. Yes, the first time you cut it it's not going to look pretty, just don't worry about that and hit it again about mid summer. After the second cutting it will shape up and look nice. With that much land hogging 3 times a year is going to be time consuming and expensive. So, I would try and find someone to hay it, or fence it and run some cows.
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