With 17ac to mow we looked across the landscape of ZTR options with several key factors in mind. Needed something that would last a good long time, was easy on back and fatigue issues, and had power to handle different ground types and grasses. I prefer diesel to leverage our farm based fuel storage.
As my wife is the primary user, we looked at BBoy, JD 997, Kubota 331 etc. She would run them across rough ground and found the Ferris 5100Z (w/72' side discharge) to be far and away the most comfortable.
The big Cat diesel has the power to move half of the county and appears to have little stress even in the toughest spots. The cut is just as good or better than anything else we have used. All day mowing is easy and not tiresome.
This is a big beast and while the entry price is relatively high, the efficiency, comfort, cut results and overall cost looks to be extremely favorable. We cant speak highly enough of this machine. We are fortunate to have a shape (with lift) for any maintenance and the redesigns in the 2011 make filters, etc much easier to access and change.
All in all, this is an investment not a mower purchase. With every element of the mower commercial grade or better (all the way down to the wiring which is heavy duty) this machine has the look of extreme durability with legendary CAT reliability.
We plan on using this beast a long time and with great fun. If you have the acreage this machine is well worth the look. The suspension works and is adjustable to any user. Saving your back over time more than offsets the price point.
One helluva machine. I have not found any cons yet. Will advise, but am not holding my breath. The engineering and the overall bulk of this machine says it all.