View Full Version : Mowing pasture without "bumps"

Jun. 2, 2011, 11:01 PM
I didn't know how to word that LOL

Our tractor (Ford 4000) came with a 5' finish mower (Work Saver) so that's what we mow the pasture with. It's very basic - has the wheels to (supposedly) prevent scalping (yeah, right) and attaches to the PTO and the other connections.

The problem is the uneven pasture - when the front tires dip, the mower tips up a little bit, leaving the grass taller, and when the rear tires run through the same dip, the mower dips lower and cuts that section shorter.

This is obviously because the whole vertical plane of the mower is attached to the rear of the tractor.

If/when this setup ever changes, is there such a thing as a mower that will just be pulled (powered by the PTO of course) and you set its height on its own, so the tractor going up and down doesn't affect the height of the mower?

Jun. 2, 2011, 11:24 PM
Most finish mowers I have seen roll on their own wheels and are not affected by the tractor moving up and down.

Jun. 2, 2011, 11:48 PM

It is directly attached to the tractor's arms and the middle "shaft" part (whose name I don't know, not the pto).

Those connections are rigid. I raise and lower the mower height from the tractor.

Jun. 3, 2011, 08:42 AM
On the 4000's, there are two levers that control the height of the implement. The outside one is "absolute" position... eg, you move lever, implement moves by same amount and stays there. The inside one is called "draft" position, it means it tries to balance out the movement of the tractor in space to hold an implement at the same height relative to the ground.

Park your outside lever in the "down" position, set your implement height with your insiside lever, and adjust the collars on the anti-scalp wheels to accomodate the height change :)

Note: it's not a magic bullet, and you DO have to be driving slow enough for the tractor to compensate for the movement. personally, I hate the blasted thing and have become quite skilled at adjusting the mower hieght with the primary lever as the terrain shifts.

Jun. 3, 2011, 12:07 PM
I think you have the wrong impliment for the job (sorry)

To my understanding finishing mowers are for flat surfaces like lawns, golf courses, airports, etc.

I think to do a proper job you need a bush hog. They are ajustable on the impliment themselves. I know thats not what you want to hear. Maybe you can take the finish mower to a dealership for trade. If all your cutting is grass you can get by with a light duty bush hog

Jun. 3, 2011, 12:09 PM
PS the middle shaft is the "Top Link" ;-)

Jun. 3, 2011, 12:55 PM
Our finish mower, a Ford, has pivoting pieces to connect to the 3pt hitch. The mower height is set by raising and lowering the wheels which rotated independently. Then the side pins are on these pivoting pieces of steel attached to the hitch frame. The pieces go up and down at least 8 inches. The place where the bar attaches also is moveable independently, so mower and tractor can be a different levels over bumps.

Looks like this model:


The U-shape thing at the top pivots on a pin, with the adjustable bar attaching in the open end. The lower metal pieces with pins are not as visible, but also pivot up and down on a pin anchored in the frame.

I am not sure how well I will like the finish mower yet. We just got it, ground has been terribly muddy, so it hasn't had a fair trial. I have used the bush hog mower for years, does a fair job on smooth or rough ground.

I usually disc our fields and paddocks to reduce hoof prints gained in very wet weather. A one pass slicing (not turning it up for planting dirt), cuts the turf to aerate the compacted soil, seems to inspire the grass to grow even better. I am using that garden method, "cut your plants apart, they will grow better!" Then I lightly drag using my chain harrow (with car tires tied on to hold it down), over everything to smooth the rough ground a bit more. The grass will look slightly rough for a week or so, then everything comes back. Pastures and paddocks look good, grow well with the benefit of MUCH smoother ground to walk or drive over. Some of the old, deep hoofprints would twist your leg! Cutting the soil benefits the pasture plants roots, slows the rain runoff.

So perhaps if you can borrow a small disc, cut your ground a bit, drag after, it will help smoothness in the field, to allow the finish mower to do a better job for you.

Jun. 3, 2011, 06:08 PM
actually I think finish mowers are better at following the terrain than "bush hogs" (rotary mowers - singe shaft). Finish mowers often have problems with pasture height grass, but that is another issue.

Here is a good thread on setting the wheels etc on rotary mowers http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/attachments/39691-rear-wheel-bush-hog-9.html

Jun. 3, 2011, 06:14 PM
Great for small pastures. We mow our entire 40 acres with it, place looks like a golf course. We have a bush hog and it's been in the garage under a tarp for about 5 years now. Zero turns are WAY better.

Jun. 4, 2011, 08:49 AM
The other name for that third element is the "stupid (or %#*#) twisty bar" since whenever I use the term top link the rest of my family looks like I've grown a second head. So I repeat "the twisty bar" and they go 'Oh, of course". because you twist it to change the height.

I gave up calling it the top link after the 3rd year.

Jun. 4, 2011, 10:46 AM
Depending on what size your tractor is, I recommend a mower with wheels (Bush Hog, Servis-Rhino) that is attached to your draw bar and leveled by hydraulics. It gives you the ability to float the mower across the pasture.
Yes, you will have scalp marks on the excessive high spots or low spots. Because sometimes they cannot be helped, due to terrain, wild hog damage, crossing swales the wrong way (cross at a diagonal-to ease the mower across [or possible to blow a "U" joint] if crossing straight across the swale).

I have had 3 point hitch mowers and have draw bar/hydraulic type. I prefer the latter.

Jun. 4, 2011, 10:58 AM
Great for small pastures. We mow our entire 40 acres with it, place looks like a golf course. We have a bush hog and it's been in the garage under a tarp for about 5 years now. Zero turns are WAY better.

What benefit does a Zero Turn have over a tractor?

What about a tractor over a zero turn?

Jun. 6, 2011, 09:50 AM
[QUOTE=LMH;5645386]What benefit does a Zero Turn have over a tractor?QUOTE]

The inherent disadvantages of any rear mounted mower system are:
- The heavy rear wheels go over the grass before the mower does, so some amount of grass is mashed down and not mowed.
- Unless you have one of the pull type mowers with wheels mentioned above, the height of the cutting changes, to greater or lesser degrees, based on what the front end of the tractor is doing. front end dips down, mower raises; front end goes up, mower dips.

I wish my zero turn would go as high as I usually want to mow my pastures, was wider, and had a floating seat!

One dis-advantage of zero turns is that they often do not handle hills well. Your acceleration, steering and braking all depend on the rear wheels keeping traction. If they start to slide, hang on, you are in for a wild ride!

2YG's farm does look fabulous.

Jun. 6, 2011, 10:07 AM
Thanks for all the replies!

Trading in isn't an option LOL We'll have this mower until it croaks.

It's not like my pasture ends up with a 50/50 split of 12" tall chunks inbetween scalped chunks LOL I'm just trying to think ahead, or find out if there's anything that could be done now. I know where all my lumps and bumps are and I (mostly) remember to slow down so the height differences are minimal.

I kept the "but you should be able to set this and that to allow for more float" in mind as I mowed last night, but I don't believe I have any of the extra adjustments talked about.

There is no way to adjust the height of the wheels on the mower. There is 1 height.

There is no "inside and outside" or whatever. There is one height adjustment with a wingnut keeping it from ever going lower (so you adjust that wing nut if you need to make sure it doesn't go below that).

I rarely have an issue with the grass height, as I never let it get to the point where it NEEDS a bushhog. The exception was the first mowing this Spring, as the tractor was in the shop for 5 weeks, including all of a rainy April, so I had to mow tall grass :( I just did it in 2 passes, with the first pass set quite high. Beyond that, it's never tall enough that a normal height is a problem.

Interesting discussion!