Can cutter width be TOO small?

   / Can cutter width be TOO small? #1  

citytransplant

Silver Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2006
Messages
199
Location
Central New York
Tractor
Farmtrac 270DTC
I will begin by saying that I have about 1 acre of a 2 acre horse pasture that gets overgrown this time of year (for some reason, the horses avoid certain areas of the pasture) and a wooded trail about 1/4 mile long that gets weedy as well. I'm looking closely at a 42" lightly used rotary cutter being sold privately primarily because I may be able to save $500 over a 60" new one being sold by a local dealer. My rear tires outside wall to wall measure approximately 56" therefore a 42" cut would not span the entire tractor footprint. The dealer insists that the cutter should be as wide as the tractor. Hmmmm.

I figure the downside of the smaller (by about 43%) cutter is burning more fuel and taking more time to get a job done. With that said, the $500 I will save buys a lot of fuel, even at today's prices. An additional upside of the smaller unit is the added maneuverability I will have while out on the winding trail.

What am I missing? Is it critical that a rotary cutter span the width of the tractor for the job to be done correctly? Are there additional considerations?
 
   / Can cutter width be TOO small? #2  

MMagis

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Aug 12, 2005
Messages
1,491
Location
Guernsey Co. Ohio
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Ford 3000, JD 2550
It makes a considerably better cut, but it's not critical. Either way, you're running over grass before you cut it.
 
   / Can cutter width be TOO small? #3  

Tombstone

New member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
7
The only thing I see, is that you may not be able to get close to fences, trees and bldgs. Other than that, it should be fine.
 
   / Can cutter width be TOO small?
  • Thread Starter
#4  
OP
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citytransplant

Silver Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2006
Messages
199
Location
Central New York
Tractor
Farmtrac 270DTC
It makes a considerably better cut

That's exactly what the dealer suggested and is what caused me to scratch my head. Why is the cut from the wider implement "better?"

Speaking of my head, my barber can cut my hair with a 5" scissors just as well as with a 3.5" scissors. He'll work harder with the smaller "implement" but my hair won't know the difference.
 
   / Can cutter width be TOO small? #5  

johnk

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Jun 7, 2003
Messages
2,649
Location
western NY
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Kubota GST Grand L3130 w/ 723 loader, Ags
That's exactly what the dealer suggested and is what caused me to scratch my head. Why is the cut from the wider implement "better?"

Speaking of my head, my barber can cut my hair with a 5" scissors just as well as with a 3.5" scissors. He'll work harder with the smaller "implement" but my hair won't know the difference.

With the longer shears he'll get closer to your ears with one swooooosh than the shorter ones. It helps getting closer to fences etc.
 
   / Can cutter width be TOO small? #6  

ampsucker

Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
574
Location
Southeast Kansas
Tractor
BX24
with a narrower cutter, you run over the grass before you mow it not once, but twice. because you have to overlap on the next pass.

i would look for a used unit that covers the width of the tractor but is light enough duty that you don't overload the 3pt. unless you are cutting very heavy brush. then you may have to size down so the tractor's hp can handle the load.

amp
 
   / Can cutter width be TOO small? #7  

DrewL

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Joined
Apr 16, 2005
Messages
425
Location
Sandwich, MA
Tractor
Kioti
Don't overthink it and follow your dealers advice. I don't know of anyone who chooses to buy a mower smaller than the rear wheel width. If cost is the main consideration be patient and find the proper mower.
 
   / Can cutter width be TOO small? #8  

Skyco

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Joined
Jul 29, 2007
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SC/NC
That's exactly what the dealer suggested and is what caused me to scratch my head. Why is the cut from the wider implement "better?"

The bigger cutters generally have a faster tip speed on the blades. I would think that helps with the cutting. When I bought my 48 over a 42 that was a consideration.
 
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   / Can cutter width be TOO small? #9  

ampsucker

Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
574
Location
Southeast Kansas
Tractor
BX24
i think the design has quite a bit to do with cut quality. generally blade tip speed is important, but so is the deck design. at the slower rotational speeds of a brush cutter, you get very little vacuum from the blades to pull the bent over material up into the path of the blade. that, plus unlike a mid mount mower, you are running over the grass and bending it over with both the front and back wheels and doing it again on the overlap with the narrower cutter.

all that adds up to missed stubble out in the field that will recover and stand up a few days after you're done mowing. then, add a second time around to the fuel bill.

believe me, i just did a real overgrown field with a mid mount mower. the 25 hp tractor handled the five foot deck ok in all but the thickest overgrowth, but i couldn't help but leave a lot of bent over grass and that was just with hitting it the with the front wheels and the front of the mower deck. the main advantage of the the 3pt over the MMM in this case is the open front and rear discharge to handle the heavier material. the leading edge of the mower deck doesn't push the grass over as bad and the wide rear discharge chute lets the cut material escape. but, the disadvantage is both sets of tractor tires crush the material pretty good before the cutter even gets a shot at it.

maybe you can try out the unit first and see if you like the used one or get the dealer to give you a loaner and see if you like that one before you make the decision?

amp
 
   / Can cutter width be TOO small? #10  

warhammer

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
437
Location
Central Texas
Tractor
Kioti DK45SE HST
I bought a Bush Hog SQ160 last year and it is about 6-7 inches narrower than my rear tires.
I would definitely get a mower that was wider. It saves a bunch of turning around and backing into spots.

Warhammer



I will begin by saying that I have about 1 acre of a 2 acre horse pasture that gets overgrown this time of year (for some reason, the horses avoid certain areas of the pasture) and a wooded trail about 1/4 mile long that gets weedy as well. I'm looking closely at a 42" lightly used rotary cutter being sold privately primarily because I may be able to save $500 over a 60" new one being sold by a local dealer. My rear tires outside wall to wall measure approximately 56" therefore a 42" cut would not span the entire tractor footprint. The dealer insists that the cutter should be as wide as the tractor. Hmmmm.

I figure the downside of the smaller (by about 43%) cutter is burning more fuel and taking more time to get a job done. With that said, the $500 I will save buys a lot of fuel, even at today's prices. An additional upside of the smaller unit is the added maneuverability I will have while out on the winding trail.

What am I missing? Is it critical that a rotary cutter span the width of the tractor for the job to be done correctly? Are there additional considerations?
 
 
 
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