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  1. #1
    Elite Member
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    Feb 2012
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    4,040
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    Holland, PA
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    Kubota L5740, Case IH 255, Gravely 8199G

    Default Safe mowing on slopes

    I searched this but didn't find a good thread, though I'm sure it's here. I'd appreciate some advice. I have 18 acres to mow with a 2000 pound IH compact tractor, 25hp, Land Pride 1260 mower on the three point.

    I have mowed my friend's property with a Gravely garden tractor and had no stability problems whatsoever. Then I mowed it with a zero turn and it got pretty dicey at the tops of hills when trying to turn. I've got a bunch of places where the tree line stops and the grassy part drops off from there, one is like an amphitheater, a big bowl, kinda. My tractor has a ROPS and I will sure use the seat belt, but I'm trying to avoid the OH NO feeling when the thing starts to tip at the top of the hill when I'm making a 90 degree turn.

    Grew up on a farm driving a JD B that was tippy as heck. And 25 years ago, while an active volunteer fireman locally, I was second on the scene with the rescue squad on a well known and respected local farmer's property, where his sixteen year old son had rolled their tractor, I think an older Farmall, on top of himself on a hill. When I got there his Dad was holding him in his arms while the son died. Talk about leaving a lifetime impression.

    So, not wanting to repeat that awful memory, could you pros give some tips on what to do and what not do do? I've got common sense but I'm still a little nervous about running a tractor and rear mower on slopes. Since I haven't done it before, I don't have the "seat feel" on this.

    Seriously oversize R1 tires on the rear and new turf tires on the front, which really should be tri-rib or something else with better lateral grip. I am also installing a 300 pound weight box in front shortly.

    So what's the safest way to do this? Thank you. Drew
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Safe mowing on slopes-p1010082.jpg  
    2012 Kubota L5740HSTC3 with FEL and Long grapple, 1986 Case IH 255, Land Pride PD10 PHD, Land Pride RCR60 & RCF2084 mowers, Land Pride 4' box blade and rear rake, Fred Cain subsoiler, County Line potato plow, County Line 1 bottom plow, 1986 Gravely 8199G with tow behind DR rototiller, 50" deck+40" Gravely wing mower, Gravely snowblower, Swisher 44 rough cut mower,Ariens snowblower, Echo 450-18 & 600-24, Echo PPT280, 2006 JD LX280, , 1968 Cub Cadet 125, Husky-Speeco 35 ton splitter

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    751
    Location
    Covington, GA
    Tractor
    JD 870

    Default Re: Safe mowing on slopes

    If you are nervous maybe you should get a cage built for the tractor with thick padding anywhere you can hit with screens to keep your body parts inside the cage. Cage is cheaper than death. Widest offset of rear tires if you have offset rims. Or use alternative mowers like a higher horsepower line trimmer at the top of the hills. An hour of weed wacking beats rolling down the hill. Remember, which I am sure you will, that getting close to the edge of rollover performance on a tractor can quickly go over the edge with a groundhog hole or anything that is a quick drop off. Heck even a bit of dew can cause some excitement.

    Pictures of the property?

  3. #3
    Platinum Member KYDan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    690
    Location
    Frankfort, KY
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100 HST 4WD

    Default Re: Safe mowing on slopes

    Do you have 4WD on the tractor? If so, the front and rears should be matched. I have some steep terrain that I mow and I either drive up and back down or vice versa. It takes a little more time and fuel, but it works. A rollover even with ROPs and seat belts is still scary and dangerous, not to mention damaging to your tractor. Be careful!

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Deere Dude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    923
    Location
    Hohenwald, TN
    Tractor
    John Deere 3720

    Default Re: Safe mowing on slopes

    Not knowing how steep your property is and the cutting pattern, would it be possibly to just mow up and down the hill? If it were me, I would consider loaded rear tires with RimGuard and wheel weights at the very least. This puts a lot of weight right on the ground. The bad thing about that is you are pushing and extra 1000# around. Consider also about 4" spacers for the rears.

    I have a 3720 which is narrow when new, but spacers and fluid makes all the difference in the world. But I still wouldn't take it on a hill that a weighted garden tractor handles with ease. The center of gravity is way different with a taller tractor.

    I would work on less steep area to just get a feel of the tippiness and graduate up as the comfort level goes up, knowing that a pot hole or a rock can suddenly throw the center of gravity off.

    You will get lots of input on this thread coming, I am sure. Be safe and don't push it past the comfort mark.
    3720, Frontier 6' BB; 6' Rear Blade.; Loaded tires and Ballast Box; Dirt Scoop.

    X740; 62" Deck; w/47" Snoblower; 42" Hydraulic Tiller.
    54" Front blade; 48" Belly Blade

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    5,657
    Location
    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
    Tractor
    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: Safe mowing on slopes

    Sometimes going up and down to eliminate the turn is the best option. Several other things that will help with stability is liquid ballast in the rear tires, set the rears at the widest setting if adjustable, stay off the grass when wet. Is there anyway to cut back the tree line to provide a safer turning area?

    MarkV

  6. #6
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    4,040
    Location
    Holland, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota L5740, Case IH 255, Gravely 8199G

    Default Re: Safe mowing on slopes

    I'm a retired insurance agent and pretty risk averse so before I let out the clutch, I'm trying to think this one through. I know there are different mowing patterns that can help here. And my "fallback" position (not a good term here....) is to just mow the steep parts with my Gravely garden tractor, which has a super low center of gravity plus all terrain tires on it.

    I don't think I have the right pics onfile so I'll take a few in the next day or so and post them. Some of these fields are just beautiful rolling fields, but a few near the main house are on a pretty hilly sloping area. I may just wuss out and just mow it with something I know works and is within my comfort level, and experience. I'm too old to start experimenting with gravity...

    And to further add caution, the good retired doctor who owns the beautiful property on which I farm had his own mishap last year. After all that rain, the sod near his pond slid out from under his big Gravely zero turn and pitched him over the edge of the pond, he flying into the water, with an 1100 pound zero turn literally landing on top of him. Many broken bones, for a guy in his mid seventies, and truly lucky to have gotten out alive. So his wife is constantly on his case, and mine, about being safe. I don't care if I walk out a rollover unscathed, she would end my farming on the spot. So I really, really want to stay vertical.

    Pics to follow. Thanks
    2012 Kubota L5740HSTC3 with FEL and Long grapple, 1986 Case IH 255, Land Pride PD10 PHD, Land Pride RCR60 & RCF2084 mowers, Land Pride 4' box blade and rear rake, Fred Cain subsoiler, County Line potato plow, County Line 1 bottom plow, 1986 Gravely 8199G with tow behind DR rototiller, 50" deck+40" Gravely wing mower, Gravely snowblower, Swisher 44 rough cut mower,Ariens snowblower, Echo 450-18 & 600-24, Echo PPT280, 2006 JD LX280, , 1968 Cub Cadet 125, Husky-Speeco 35 ton splitter

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    4,040
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    Holland, PA
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    Kubota L5740, Case IH 255, Gravely 8199G

    Default Re: Safe mowing on slopes

    thanks TripleR. My search technique isn't very good for sure.
    I'll read all these, thank you, and will be back in a day or two with terrain pics.
    Drew
    2012 Kubota L5740HSTC3 with FEL and Long grapple, 1986 Case IH 255, Land Pride PD10 PHD, Land Pride RCR60 & RCF2084 mowers, Land Pride 4' box blade and rear rake, Fred Cain subsoiler, County Line potato plow, County Line 1 bottom plow, 1986 Gravely 8199G with tow behind DR rototiller, 50" deck+40" Gravely wing mower, Gravely snowblower, Swisher 44 rough cut mower,Ariens snowblower, Echo 450-18 & 600-24, Echo PPT280, 2006 JD LX280, , 1968 Cub Cadet 125, Husky-Speeco 35 ton splitter

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    293
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Tractor
    JD 5105, IH-Case 255, JD 3038E

    Default Re: Safe mowing on slopes

    I mow a pond dam that is between a 2:1 and 3:1 slope. I would never consider mowing that with my Case-IH 255, the same tractor you have. The rear wheels are only 4 feet apart and the center of gravity is too high. I would not even mow it up and down the slope since it is such a small tractor. I had a Massey 35 which allowed me to mow it across the slope with no problem. Front and back wheels were much further apart (adjustable front) and a much lower center of gravity. My JD 5105 does a good job, but I now take more of an up-down path. A higher center of gravity, but the wheel spacing is about the same as the Massey.

    If you feel safer with the Gravely, then by all means use it. It may take longer, but that is better than having an accident of any kind. It might just be a good excuse to purchase another tractor if at all possible !! Use a mower with a low center of gravity, wide base and good tires and go slow. Good luck.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member JohnDeere4300's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    Location
    Kentucky
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    John Deere 4300

    Default Re: Safe mowing on slopes

    Quote Originally Posted by KYDan View Post
    I have some steep terrain that I mow and I either drive up and back down or vice versa. It takes a little more time and fuel, but it works. A rollover even with ROPs and seat belts is still scary and dangerous, not to mention damaging to your tractor. Be careful!
    That's the way I mow on steep hills too!!!

    On one steep hill I have a fence at the top that separates my back yard from my hunting property... When using a Bush-Hog on my tractor, I have to back up the hill! ... Yeah, It takes a little more time, But it's much safer!!!... I have my son use a weed-eater along the fence and where I can't get the Bush-Hog.

    I have mowed it before sideways with one of my lawn tractors and rolled it a couple times.... Lucky I wasn't hurt!!!

    Another thing to watch out for when mowing on steep hills is: rocks, holes and small mounds of dirt... If one of your back wheels ran over one of them or dropped in a hole then you could flip, Especially when mowing sideways!

    Here's a picture of one of the hills that I have to back up when mowing.. (It's steeper than what it appears in the picture).... Also, pictures of some holes where some old stumps was on the hill... I filled them full of rock and then filled dirt over the rocks!

    Bill
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Safe mowing on slopes-hunting-property.jpg   Safe mowing on slopes-hole-1.jpg   Safe mowing on slopes-hole-2.jpg   Safe mowing on slopes-hole-3.jpg   Safe mowing on slopes-full-rocks.jpg  

    John 3:16

    01 JohnDeere4300 "Sync-Reverser", Vertical Exhaust, 2 JD Lawn Tractors, JD Walk Behind.

    430-FEL/ 47-Backhoe/ 5' Bush-Hog/ Single Bottom Plow/ 6' Disc/ Aerator Spreader/ HF Quick-Hitch!

    (Homemade Stuff) BH Thumb/ Log-Hitch/ 10' Boom-Pole/ 42'' Pallet Forks ''FEL Quick Attach & 3PH Quick-Hitch-Attach''/ Ballast Box 1381 lbs./ Aluminum Canopy/ Brush-Guard Mod/ 5x10 Firewood Trailer/ Lawn Striper.

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