Zero turn vs hst tractor reliability

   #1  

espacef1fan

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I have a reasonably smooth 10 acre pecan orchard I mow once every couple weeks or so.

I’m thinking of replacing my old John Deere 1120/6 ft finish mower with either a 72” zero turn or a hst tractor with 6ft finish mower and loader.


The main role would be mowing but I do have lots of landscaping chore that a loader would be nice to have.



My question is:

Does long term mowing with an HST tractor affect its reliability over more typical uses?
 
   #2  

dstig1

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Mowing is a *typical use*. And one of the things an HST is great for. A ZT will be faster but as you note there are other things you can do with a tractor that you can't with a ZT. The best would be both. Faster mowing with a ZT and a tractor for all the other stuff.
 
   #3  

arto98607

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Not sure what you mean by reasonably smooth?
What are you mowing it with now, and how does the wheel size compare to what you are considering to buy?

Most tractors will have way bigger diameter wheels and will ride lot smoother on not so smooth ground than zero turn mower would.

I would take very close look at commercial front deck mowers since you are talking about mowing 10 acre orchard.
 
   #4  

bdog

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If your 10 acre orchard is as full of trees as I am envisioning a 6’ zero turn will mow it at least twice as fast as a tractor with a 6’ mower. I have a 6’ diesel kubota mower and a tractor with 8 & 10’ cutters. If there are obstacles in the way the zero turn is much faster.
 
  
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espacef1fan

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Not sure what you mean by reasonably smooth?
What are you mowing it with now, and how does the wheel size compare to what you are considering to buy?

Most tractors will have way bigger diameter wheels and will ride lot smoother on not so smooth ground than zero turn mower would.

I would take very close look at commercial front deck mowers since you are talking about mowing 10 acre orchard.

It’s an older mature orchard with some space.

I’m mowing with a 6 foot finish mower currently
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   #6  

Diggin It

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Mowing is a *typical use*. And one of the things an HST is great for. A ZT will be faster but as you note there are other things you can do with a tractor that you can't with a ZT. The best would be both. Faster mowing with a ZT and a tractor for all the other stuff.
If you have the resources (aka $$$$$$$), that's the way to go. As you already know, mowing on a tractor ain't a whole lotta fun. The ten or so acres pictured every couple of weeks all growing season will work out much better on a ZT. Your back and other joints will thank you, even if your wallet groans.
 
   #7  

RalphVa

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A ZT would mow that pecan orchard A LOT faster. ZTs are all hydrostatic now; I think. Back in the 80s, I mowed with a cable steered Scag with a single drive/steering wheel underneath the seat. Think they all went hydro now. One reason why most need rather monstrous 22+ hp engines on them vs. probably an 18 hp would do otherwise. Can get one 14.5 hp 42 inch Toro.
 
   #8  

Doc G

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It’s an older mature orchard with some space.

I’m mowing with a 6 foot finish mower currently
Great Scott! That's beautiful! Care to tell us roughly where you are?

I love pecan trees -- I have about a dozen 75-100 year old natives scattered around my pastures and hayfields. They're gorgeous, but their tendency to "self-prune" makes for interesting times when mowing tall grass around them.

I'm in the camp that says you'll appreciate a z-turn with that many trunks to navigate. Even a 60" will very likely be faster than a tractor for basic grass/weed mowing. Plus you can use it in your yards etc.
 
   #9  

arto98607

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It’s an older mature orchard with some space.

I’m mowing with a 6 foot finish mower currently


Nice orchard & tractor and I agree the ground in the photo looks pretty smooth!

Here's my own experience:

We have been mowing acreage since 1992, first with gasoline powered JD 300 with mid mount mower which we still have and use regularly but now mostly in forested rough area, but I got tired of filling up the gas tank frequently so we bought a used 5' front deck commercial Diesel mower in 2003 and it made a huge difference in fuel consumption.

I have since bought another but larger used 6' front deck commercial 4x4 Diesel mower and am still in the middle of overhauling it.

I would get a large front deck mower for that size orchard based on my experience.

Gasoline engine mowers are fine but for large area mowing Diesel is hard to beat on fuel consumption, fire safety, longevity etc.
 
Last edited:

JethroB

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If you decide on the tractor route, an HST is certainly nice. An HST makes it so much easier to back around each tree to trim up vs. clutching or swinging around for a second pass.
 
 
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