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Tractor vs Zero Turn

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    Tractor vs Zero Turn

    Just bought 10.4 acres and wondering everyones thoughts on a tractor vs a zero turn with a 60 inch deck. Land is relatively flat pasture and pretty much wide open as it used to be farmed.

    Thanks!

    #2
    a cutting width of 60 inches at 5 MPH would net 2.73 acres per hour.... so nonstop cutting if all 10.4 acres are to be cut is over ten hours

    here is a calculator that allows you to enter cutting width and speed

    https://www.landscapecalculator.com/calculators/mow

    as a note at 5 mph for ten hours that would mean you will travel about 50 MILES to cut the field,

    Comment


      #3
      I think the result from a zero turn is much nicer than a tractor with a bush hog. And can actually take less time because it's easier to drive and faster. And less likely to take out a post with the bucket (not that I know )

      As for clanter's calculator, it's good info but MOST mowers off a tractor are 4'-5'... so a zero turn that runs at like 9 mph will do better than a tractor.
      COTH's official mini-donk enabler

      "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
        I think the result from a zero turn is much nicer than a tractor with a bush hog. And can actually take less time because it's easier to drive and faster. And less likely to take out a post with the bucket (not that I know )

        As for clanter's calculator, it's good info but MOST mowers off a tractor are 4'-5'... so a zero turn that runs at like 9 mph will do better than a tractor.
        Agreed. We have a 9 acre farm. We have a 60” zero turn that we use for all mowing except for really rough and/or unknown terrain. If you are going to hit a stump you want to do that with a brush hog - not a zero turn, so the tractor does the really rough terrain. Otherwise the zero turn is faster and easier for mowing. Turning a tractor and brush hog without taking out fence is like docking the QE2.

        Comment


          #5
          I will be the odd man out. If you can only afford either a small farm tractor or a zero turn go the farm tractor with a 3 point hitch and FEL. I see so many people with a farmette that would have chores made much easier with tractor.
          A zero turn is great for mowing and that is pretty much it.
          A tractor can be used to mow, drag the ring, move larger bales of hay, flip the manure pile, move snow, move gravel/sand, drill post holes, pull out posts, tow a yard trailer.

          Now if OP is talking a basic homeowners small lawn tractor/lawn mower then go with the zero turn. It isn't clear to me if OP is talking farm tractor with brush hog/finishing mower or lawn tractor.
          There are also farm tractors that have belly mowers which may be an option instead of the brush hog/finishing mower.
          Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

          Comment


            #6
            If all you are going to need the piece of equipment for is mowing and the land is not full of subterranean behemoths (old New England hill fields!) then the zero turn makes sense. It does a fast, elegant job. Especially if you have enough lawn in addition to pasture to warrant a decent size mower anyway. However, you may end up needing a tractor for other things. I know a lot of people who have a zero turn and a tractor. One caution, zero turns generally don't want to chew through high, thick grass so you will need to commit to a regular mowing schedule. The bush hog lets one get away with mowing once or twice a year or every other year, which is how I manage some acreage for wildlife (obviously not a factor here).

            Comment


              #7
              Zero turn is fine if you need a yard finish to your mowing.
              For pasture mowing, a real tractor, even if toy sized, but with bush hog mower, front loader, pallet points, just your basic stuff, that machine will do so, so, so much more for your operation than the zero turn would.

              As above, if you do have much of those 10 acres in yard to mow, then the zero turn will do a neat, smooth, short cut of it that will look like a yard.

              I expect not all 10 acres will be what you have to mow.
              Figure what is lawn, what pasture and that will help you decide which will work best for you.

              Comment


                #8
                We have both, and this time of year I am always wishing I could raise the zero-turn deck higher. I want to knock the seed heads off the pasture grass but would like to leave more leaf -- 6-8" ideally but that is not possible with the zero-turn.

                If I could only choose one of them, it would definitely be the tractor.

                --
                Wendy
                ... with Patrick and Henry

                Comment


                  #9
                  It comes down to what all you need to do.

                  Are you just going to mow? Is that the ONLY thing you'll be doing? A zero turn is going to do that better.

                  But do you need to do other farm stuff? A tractor is SO much more useful.

                  And a bush hog isn't the only mowing implement for a tractor. You can get a belly or rear finish mower for it.

                  wsmoak I have that same conundrum right now with the mower height. I compromise by running the bush hog high, but it's sloppy, because all four tractor tires roll over the grass, laying it down, before it hits the rotary.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by wsmoak View Post
                    We have both, and this time of year I am always wishing I could raise the zero-turn deck higher. I want to knock the seed heads off the pasture grass but would like to leave more leaf -- 6-8" ideally but that is not possible with the zero-turn.

                    If I could only choose one of them, it would definitely be the tractor.
                    Put bigger tires on it? We just did that to a zero turn on the farm.

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks all - Right now we have a gator as well for farm chores. Ideally I do lean towards the tractor but the cost difference is holding me back a bit. The tractor I'd want with all the implements is more than triple the cost of the zero turn.

                      For the time being I'll be mowing a good majority of the land as we have no plans to bring the horses home in the near future.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Tractors handle abusive owners/drivers better than zero turns, and need less maintenance. Zero turn is not going to pull a manure spreader, and you can't move snow with it!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          We have 14 acres and have a tractor with 60" finish mower, brush hog, and a 60" zero turn. The zero turn hands down is used the most for mowing. The tractor is too big to get between trees and just takes longer than the zero turn. I rarely use the finish mower, and save the brush hog for the rougher terrain and pasture areas.

                          I vote zero turn, for sure! Tractor later, down the road...

                          Comment


                            #14
                            For now, I’d go with a zero turn. On my 60” zero turn, it takes me about 2:30 to mow my 5-acre pasture and about an hour to mow the other 2-acre pasture. The smaller paddock and riding ring (about 250’ x 200’) take about 30 minutes, including navigating the jumps and moving ground poles. I go about half speed in the pastures to save wear and tear on the mower. For the 3 acres of yard I mow, it takes about 1:30, including moving vehicles, ditchbank, etc.

                            My mower height adjusts to 5” which is the height I like for my pasture.
                            "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I prefer my zero turn for yard, horse pens and traps, around buildings.
                              Is a great machine, fits in every corner, does a great job.

                              In our pastures, I use it in some places by the house and barns around the edge against the fences, but the larger areas, it would take forever, is dustier and rougher than a real good sized tractor and hard on the zero turn in those rougher areas of taller thicker stuff to cut.
                              In bar-ditches and thick weeds, is best to cut with only half the zero turn and go back for the other half, or it may choke down.

                              It does sound like for the flat and smooth grass the OP is going to mow, other than the large size, a zero turn will do a very pretty and finished job.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                We have both; two Ferris and one NH tractor with bush hog. I love the speed of my Ferris and the "cut" that I get but there are times when the bush hog is the only thing that will get the job done.

                                If you have a nice flat pasture, the zero turn would be my choice but if you have ruts or wet areas that get chopped up, I go with the tractor that can take more of a beating.
                                "Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons"

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I know of one person who went over a 6' high retaining wall with a zero turn. Fortunately he was not seriously injured. He apparently misjudged the turn and went just far enough to catch the edge..

                                  I'm with MoonWitch. I'm on my second next-to-the-cheapest JD lawn tractor and it can grind up more than just the grass. I can also attach a small cart and haul that around rather than depending on the wheelbarrow.
                                  "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I have a tractor, but I end up using my zero turn for everything and my husband’s skid loader for the rest. The tractor is just too big. Our zero turn is a professional model, not your average homeowner’s one. I do need to raise the deck on it, though.
                                    Banter whenever you want to banter....canter whenever you want to canter.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by NotGrandPrixYet View Post
                                      I have a tractor, but I end up using my zero turn for everything and my husband’s skid loader for the rest. The tractor is just too big. Our zero turn is a professional model, not your average homeowner’s one. I do need to raise the deck on it, though.
                                      This is a good point. If you do go with the zero turn, get a commercial grade and not the home owner version. Pasture that gets chopped up footing due to horses won't last long on your average fixed deck.
                                      "Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons"

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        We have a small tractor, 60" zero turn and a gator. We mow everything with the zero turn. We use the tractor mainly for dragging the arena. We use the gator for pulling the manure spreader. For mowing, I would definitely go with the zero turn.

                                        Comment

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