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YankeeTurnedHillbilly
May. 22, 2012, 09:06 PM
Bush hog? Finishing Mower? Regular mower?

When I first started to lease my 15 acre farm I mowed with the farm owners zero turn mower, which takes forever, but produces a lovely looking mowed pasture.

This winter I bought a Kubota 3300SU tractor and a Woods bush hog. I am just not happy with how the pasture looks after I use the bush hog - so I have gone back to taking twice a long to mow with the zero turn!

Would a finishing mower give me better results or should I just give into the idea that if I want the pastures to look "pretty" after they are mowed that I am going to have to keep using the zero turn?

Thanks for opinions!

wsmoak
May. 22, 2012, 09:09 PM
6' finish mower. Or I would, if the baby tractor would start...

(The finish mower goes behind the little tractor which has ag tires. The tires on the big tractor tear up the ground too much.)

Tom King
May. 22, 2012, 09:32 PM
A bush hog (rotary cutter) will cut as clean as anything else if you sharpen the blades. I sharpen mine after every few hours, and it cuts anything from trails to pastures. I did fabricate a door on the top that I can open to be able to easily get to the blades to sharpen them. If you don't let them get really dull, it doesn't take long to whet them. I can open the door, and sharpen the blades with a 4 1/2" grinder in a couple of minutes.

Dull mower blades, regardless of what they're on, just beats the grass apart, where sharp blades leave a clean cut.

Sharp blades also cut brush much easier with cleaner cuts too.

We do have a few acres that are kept cut with a riding mower, but nothing like a 7 or 15 foot swath with a bush hog to get some work done.The sharp bush hog can cut grass as good as a mower. I sold our finishing mower some time after I built the sharpening door on the bush hog because it never got used again.

Zwarte
May. 22, 2012, 09:51 PM
I use a John Deere 650 with a 4 foot bush hog and a huge smile on my face.

I love to bush hog.

cowboymom
May. 22, 2012, 09:59 PM
Six foot King Kutter brush hog-behind a 1947 Farmall tractor! :lol: That thing's harder to ride than any of our horses but oh I do love the results!

YankeeTurnedHillbilly
May. 22, 2012, 10:18 PM
My bush hog is brand new, probably haven't mowed 4 hours with it so certainly the blades are plenty sharp still. So with adjustments I might be ok with it? I just don't feel like it mows as nicely. My OCD loves how manicured everything looks with the zero turn! Giggle

Equibrit
May. 22, 2012, 10:21 PM
Pastures = sharp bush hog behind the tractor.
Roughs = 6 ft finishing mower " " "
lawns = commercial Zero turn.
tricky bits = big wheel push mower

Horses for courses !

Nancy!
May. 22, 2012, 11:50 PM
And hubby just caught me mowing the pasture with the yard tractor. :D But I agree with Yankee, it look so nice. So now I have to do it with the bush hog. Thanks Tom, need to have hubby sharpen the blades first.

How often do people mow their pastures?

Nancy!

2DogsFarm
May. 23, 2012, 05:02 AM
Forget about "pretty" pastures unless you are charging your horses Greens Fees ;)

And take it from me:
mowing pasture with the zero-turn is going to give it fits, ding the blades and gunk up the carbuerator (ask me how I know this :uhoh: )
Use your tractor with the finish mower or bushhog - both of which I greatly covet.

I mow my pastures with the only "farm equipment" I own - 17.5HP riding mower.
Usually mow just once or twice a year in late Summer when the roughs get high or the weeds look like they may take over.
Even at the highest setting I pick up enough dirt to make a visit to the mower doctor an annual event.

FitToBeTied
May. 23, 2012, 06:47 AM
I usually use the brush hog for the pastures at 60" finishing deck for everything else. However, at this new place we are trying to rebuild the pastures and one of the best methods of weed control is mowing. So I've been using the woods finishing mower to get the fields cut lower in order to knock back weeds.

SPF10
May. 23, 2012, 06:58 AM
Zero turn with 4 ft deck, currently cutting every 10-14 days, only have 2 and they can't keep it down. Yes hubby is a landscaper and pastures are the first thing you see before the house so yeah looks like a golf course:lol:

WildBlue
May. 23, 2012, 07:12 AM
A brush hog does not mow as short as a finish mower or lawn mower so, no, no matter how sharp your blades are, the mowed field isn't going to look exactly the same. That said, most people use the brush hog--both because it handles the conditions better and many pasture grasses (as opposed to lawn grasses) are coarser and need to be cut a bit longer. (You might also do a search on forage quality versus cutting height, since many grasses are higher in sugars when they're very short.)

rmh_rider
May. 23, 2012, 08:23 AM
Pastures - Bush Hog Brand, just got a new one and it is AWESOME. Last was a bush hog brand also. I am sunscreened up, bug sprayed up and fixing to mow here in the next few minutes. Just drinking some fluids, and procrastinating a bit. The heat is coming this week, so this is my final pasture on our place to do.

Fencelines, front of property with some sharp angles and bumpy in many places, side yard, barnlot - John Deere 56" riding mower with a 4 wheel drive when needed.

Front and back yard - Honda push mower. We catch the grass so we do not carry it in the house.

To mow pastures you want a bush hog, NOT a finishing mower. My bush hog cuts plenty low and very nicely. Your pasture is not a golf course or your yard grass.

I have 990 hours on my tractor and 900 of those hours are mine and mowing pastures. I mow with a 29 HP kubota 4 wheel drive. So a 5' cutter on the back. Easy. Gets in and around all the trees nicely.

Out to mow, literally! Yes I also like to bush hog. It is the farmer chick in me!

Belg
May. 23, 2012, 08:30 AM
zero turn as much as possible. gas utilization on the JD-Z is about 1/4 the utilization of the Ford/BH, and the effective mowing speed is about double. Have a 5 foot BH and a 4-6" ZT.

JB
May. 23, 2012, 08:43 AM
Our tractor came with a 6' finish mower, so that's what we use. I *don't* like mowing with a lawn tractor because I can't keep the grass as high as I want. Taller grass helps with weeds and the grass itself - more blade means more roots, generally

ponygirl
May. 23, 2012, 09:02 AM
My bush hog is brand new, probably haven't mowed 4 hours with it so certainly the blades are plenty sharp still. So with adjustments I might be ok with it? I just don't feel like it mows as nicely. My OCD loves how manicured everything looks with the zero turn! Giggle

Ah, therein lies the problem. You like a manicured look. Pastures really should not be manicured:lol:

IronwoodFarm
May. 23, 2012, 09:04 AM
Mr IF, who loves to battle Nature, has a bush hog, a Woods finish mower and a zero turn. He prefers to use the finish mower with his Kubota tractor in the pastures.

RacetrackReject
May. 23, 2012, 09:06 AM
Kubota tractor with 6' galvanized bush hog on the big pastures and it looks nice, but I think you have to have good thickish grass for it to look good. In the small pasture around the barn, the grass arena, and small paddocks, I use the zero turn mower so I can get closer to the 'stuff' (sheds, water troughs, barn, etc).

PRS
May. 23, 2012, 09:07 AM
Dixie Chopper zero turn radius professional mower. It's actually got as large or larger deck than many bush-hogs so doesn't take any more time to mow. My husband loves it. It is more manuverable than a tractor.

Bacchus
May. 23, 2012, 10:39 AM
I have 10 acres of fairly flat pasture, and we use a commercial John Deere zero turn with 72" deck. IT IS AWESOME! Fast as heck (I have to wear the seat belt and a sports bra) and does a fabulous job. We actually sold our smaller Cub Cadet, JD tractor, Woods finish mower and bush hog when we got this mower;)

monstrpony
May. 23, 2012, 01:37 PM
What's best for pasture that has some slope to it? My current arrangement is trails cut across the face of the hills, which I ride up, and turn straight down with my Yanmar 180D and 4' bush hog. Takes forever because of the long circles that I have to make. I've started doing the flatter parts with my riding mower because I notice that if I mow more often, the grass grows better (thicker) and I can keep some of the weeds at bay. It actually goes quicker with my Husky 42" mower. But the brakes on a riding mower won't do on the steeper parts of my pasture.

Is there an industrial strength zero-turn that could be used on the steeper parts?

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 23, 2012, 02:03 PM
I was always told to not use a zero turn on a steep hill, use a riding mower. They make riding mowers that turn super tight now too.

Interested in hearing what others say!!

fordtraktor
May. 23, 2012, 02:26 PM
It depends on how high I let the grass get. :lol: This year I have been busy so the first round I did with the bushhog, I will maintain with a 6' belly finish mower. I mow the yard with the finish mower and push mow the detail work. Better than going to the gym!

ThisTooShallPass
May. 23, 2012, 02:45 PM
A neighbor mowed for me Monday on his big green tractor, as my tractor is still broken. (I said piss on fixing it.) Then when my nosey icky neighbor sees him mowing he runs over as fast as he can to tattle there is someone mowing on my property. Then the Chief of Police just happens to stop buy, & literally asks how much I am paying my neighbor to mow. Swear to god I paid 2 yellow squash & a zuchinni. That is all. (Now you know why I chose to give up fixing the tractor.) I even opened the plastic bag & showed the Police Chief the 3 veggies. I asked if I should pay him more, & the Chief said no that was fine & drove off. I did offer to throw in a basil plant too, but he declined.

I know, I know, not exactly the answer you were looking for. But that just happened Monday evening, & I still find it all rather quite odd. Tattletales, the Chief of Police...Can't I just get my road edges mowed in peace?

Belg
May. 23, 2012, 02:56 PM
I was always told to not use a zero turn on a steep hill, use a riding mower. They make riding mowers that turn super tight now too.

Interested in hearing what others say!!

I can do just about any hill on my JD. It kicks butt.

fordtraktor
May. 23, 2012, 04:26 PM
Swear to god I paid 2 yellow squash & a zuchinni. That is all. (Now you know why I chose to give up fixing the tractor.) I even opened the plastic bag & showed the Police Chief the 3 veggies. I asked if I should pay him more, & the Chief said no that was fine & drove off. I did offer to throw in a basil plant too, but he declined.



How on earth did you get squash and zucchini this time of year? I'm jealous. It's a wonder COP didn't haul you down to the station for questioning about your gardening genius.

oldpony66
May. 23, 2012, 05:01 PM
Then the Chief of Police just happens to stop buy, & literally asks how much I am paying my neighbor to mow. Swear to god I paid 2 yellow squash & a zuchinni. That is all. (Now you know why I chose to give up fixing the tractor.) I even opened the plastic bag & showed the Police Chief the 3 veggies. I asked if I should pay him more, & the Chief said no that was fine & drove off. I did offer to throw in a basil plant too, but he declined.



Never mind how she got the veggies at this time of the year, I want to know what business it is of the Police Chief what you paid or didn't pay the neighbor for mowing the yard?

And in answer to the OP... bush hog. We have a really nice zero turn that would probably do the job faster, but even at the highest setting I am not happy mowing pasture grass that short. I like to cut around 5-6". Short grass + no rain + horses trampling/grazing = dirt pasture.

eeyore4176
May. 23, 2012, 06:01 PM
We use a combination of a bush hog and zero turn commercial mower. While DH is on the tractor with the bush hog I mow the fence lines 2-3 passes with the zero turn. It keeps the fence line looking nice but lets the rest look like a pasture. We mow the fence line a couple times a month and the entire pasture a couple times a year.

foggybok
May. 23, 2012, 07:24 PM
Sheep... :)

Seriously, My front pasture looks better than ever this year since I put sheep on it. It is even and green and beautiful!

The back pastures just got hit with the bush hog..... I really want to use the 19 HP JD mower, but my DH hyperventilates when I do that.... plus, it really doesn't cut high enough for optimal pasture mowing...great for the yard.... so tractor and hog was what I used....

Hilary
May. 23, 2012, 07:52 PM
I find that removing my glasses and having a drink makes everything look nicer, so I just brushog and then relax and admire from a distance.

I have a brushog and DR walk-behind mower and for the most part that takes care of everything.

Tom, if your brushog is used to cut stuff like small trees, can you still keep it sharp? I've never sharpened my blades!? Eek. I didn't think I had to. How do you do it?

ThisTooShallPass
May. 23, 2012, 09:25 PM
How on earth did you get squash and zucchini this time of year? I'm jealous. It's a wonder COP didn't haul you down to the station for questioning about your gardening genius.

I live in Oklahoma, I have had squash for a month now. Have tomato plants producing too.

Sadly I got a very late start this year. My old bones were just too creaky.

Rabtfarm
May. 23, 2012, 09:25 PM
I mow my paddocks/turn out pastures and my jump field with a 955 Deere with a 6 foot midmount finish mower. I mow my turn out/actively grazed paddocks not because it looks "pretty" but because it puts pressure on the weeds and anything else the horses don't eat. That means I mow my paddocks about twice a season to discourage the Queen Anne's lace, the thistles, pine tree saplings and the Golden Rod, etc. I was able to reclaim about 10 acres in the riding field this way.
That mowing combo mows me an acre an hour.
Riding the Craftsman 38" is like hopping on a Go Kart after the Deere...but it cannot mow the riding field.
I agree with OldPony: what business is it of the nosy neighbor or the nosy Chief who's mowing your grass? Which one of these would you tell first to go F themselves?

horsegeeks
May. 23, 2012, 09:35 PM
I use our 60" Gravely ZT HD zero turn. I set it at the highest setting which is 5 inches. It knocks 6 1/2 acres out fast. It is fairly new so I had all the kids in the neighborhood out helping me de-rock and de-stick the whole pasture first. Since getting this ZT the fescue is outgrowing the weeds for once.

ThisTooShallPass
May. 23, 2012, 09:40 PM
Never mind how she got the veggies at this time of the year, I want to know what business it is of the Police Chief what you paid or didn't pay the neighbor for mowing the yard? .

This is a quirky little town. Who knows why he asked.

But the grass is cut. :)

Dance_To_Oblivion
May. 23, 2012, 10:53 PM
65 hp tractor and 10' John Deere mower, I have 83 acres about 60% of which is pasture so mowing with a zero turn is just not an option ;)

monstrpony
May. 24, 2012, 09:03 AM
RE: doing steeper slopes.

The trouble with the riding mower is that it doesn't have enough compression and the drive mechanism isn't stout enough to hold speed. The brakes aren't that great, either, so it runs away with me on the slopes (going straight down; too steep to mow across). So, I need something that has a solid drive train and big enough engine to have enough compression to hold speed. Which my Yanmar tractor does, but the bushhog is overkill for just mowing, and it has to go s-l-o-w in low range (the tractor is old and I think a little too small for the bushhog).

Would a larger garden tractor type mower work?

Seems when I ask the question of the local lawn care equipment place, I get a blank stare ...

ReSomething
May. 24, 2012, 02:20 PM
DH collects the things, I swear. We have a 60" KingKutter bush hog that goes to the back behind the Kubota and cuts through saplings etc to break trails, it also comes up front for pasture duty, as does the 60" Woods finish mower. BUT, we now have orchards with decent sized trees on slopes and the Kubota just isn't nimble enough so there's a big walk behind and a small walk behind. The small walk behind is a POS that does the yardlet right in front of the house and around the parking and bird bath.
We bought the Woods from a guy who got run away with mowing downhill. I don't know what kind of tractor he had but he got a z turn instead and is much happier. We have some slopes on our place that require backing up, driving down, backing up, etc in a big W pattern in the tractor and the big walk behind does those going across just fine, but it does take a bit longer. We can drive up them in the little 4x in first gear, when we take the dog for a walk sometimes I walk up backwards and I'll go up zig zag with the pony (that's to give you an idea of how steep they feel).
If I had the $$ I secretly want a Dixie Chopper, they sell them at Southern States and they look beefy enough and speedy enough.

HungarianHippo
May. 28, 2012, 02:34 AM
RE: doing steeper slopes.

The trouble with the riding mower is that it doesn't have enough compression and the drive mechanism isn't stout enough to hold speed. The brakes aren't that great, either, so it runs away with me on the slopes (going straight down; too steep to mow across). So, I need something that has a solid drive train and big enough engine to have enough compression to hold speed. Which my Yanmar tractor does, but the bushhog is overkill for just mowing, and it has to go s-l-o-w in low range (the tractor is old and I think a little too small for the bushhog).

Would a larger garden tractor type mower work?

Seems when I ask the question of the local lawn care equipment place, I get a blank stare ...

Look into a self-powered field mower, such as a Swisher Trailcutter. We use that behind an ATV, and it gives a nice clean finished look to the pastures. There's no change in power when going up hills, for either mower or pull vehicle. Not the most eco-fiendly solution, to be running two motors at once, but it works for us.