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I am so overwhelmed by lawnmower shopping...isn't there something under 5k?

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  • I am so overwhelmed by lawnmower shopping...isn't there something under 5k?

    So I've been researching riding lawn mowers. We will have about 3-4 acres to mow, until I bring horses home. I am not buying a tractor this year as we won't have any livestock on the place and I'd rather wait, so if your suggestion is tractor attachment it isn't really an option I'm considering today.

    It looks like a zero turn is much faster, but they slip on hills, unless you get one like this: http://www.cubcadet.com/webapp/wcs/s...600002_1209604

    Of course in reviews Club Cadets and all Sears mowers get destroyed by the ratings. Then again, if I read recommnedations, the only thing I should use is a Scag Tiger Cat for 12k or a Exmark or whatever all the commercial lines are.

    Stamped steel is bad, welded steel is better--check!

    BUT I'm not spending more than 5k on a mower...

    There has to be a mower under 5k that won't die immediately?? Really, reading reviews is just the most horrid, disheartening thing ever. If I have to go commercial, how do I find a good used one? The prices on Craigs List are practically the "new" prices...
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    I have had a Cub Cadet for four years now and have been very pleased with it.
    This is the model I have. http://www.cubcadet.com/webapp/wcs/s..._1353414_33810

    Only ever had to do normal maintenance such as oil changes, sharpen/replace blades, replace the mover deck belt.

    I have a lot of grass to cut so I did adjust the speed control so it goes faster in forward and slower in reverse.

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    • #3
      $5000? That's crazy for a lawn mower. I just bought a John Deere D120 ride on mower from Home Depot. It was on sale, plus I got another 10% for using my HD credit card and then they knocked off another $100 because there was a tear on the seat. It came to about $1300 + taxes. I've only had it for a few years, but so far I'm very pleased with it. Agreed that the used ones are not much cheaper than new.
      www.saraalberni.com

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by pds View Post
        I have had a Cub Cadet for four years now and have been very pleased with it.
        This is the model I have. http://www.cubcadet.com/webapp/wcs/s..._1353414_33810

        Only ever had to do normal maintenance such as oil changes, sharpen/replace blades, replace the mover deck belt.

        I have a lot of grass to cut so I did adjust the speed control so it goes faster in forward and slower in reverse.
        How long would you say it takes you to mow an acre? Just for reference. Thanks!
        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Forte View Post
          $5000? That's crazy for a lawn mower. I just bought a John Deere D120 ride on mower from Home Depot. It was on sale, plus I got another 10% for using my HD credit card and then they knocked off another $100 because there was a tear on the seat. It came to about $1300 + taxes. I've only had it for a few years, but so far I'm very pleased with it. Agreed that the used ones are not much cheaper than new.
          Well I thought so! But then when I started talking to friends and farming clients who mow 3-4 acres I find out they all have commercial mowers that start around 10k! Ouch!

          Really the reviews on the mowers in the big box stores are just horrid. Maybe only pissed off people write reviews?

          What size deck is that Forte?
          DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            We just bought a small 5 acre farm, with moderate hills, and the previous owners had a John Deere X500: http://www.tractor-review.com/john-deere-x500.html

            It has a 'posi-traction' pedal that minimizes slipping on the hills, and in snow, ice, etc.

            It was strong enough to mow, pull their manure spreader, and drag the arena with a simple chain drag. John Deere has 4yr/0% financing for new right now.

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            • #7
              My riding mower came with the farm when I bought it 8 years ago, so the thing is probably 10yo.
              MTD YardMachine, 17HP with a 42" deck.

              I mow about 2ac of lawn regularly (= twice a month) & 2.5ac of pasture about 2-3X a year.
              It takes me about an hour to do either.
              So far it has not needed more than an annual tuneup & blades sharpened, belts replaced & one carbuerator replacement last Summer.

              I can not recommend using your mower for pasture - mine weeps whenever I head that way and the dirt stirred up is hell on the air filter and carbuerator, not to mention what bumpy fields do to a belly-mounted mowing deck.....

              But as much as I'd love a zero-turn for the lawns the budget says I make-do with what I have.
              I can also haul a dumpcart with about 300# of "stuff" and use that in lieu of a manure spreader & to haul composted manure to my gardens.

              A decent riding mower that can handle your acreage should cost you around $2K.
              And that would have some bells & whistles: cupholder, etc
              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
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              • #8
                With most motorized equipment you get what you pay for.

                Buy cheap and you'll regret it. Buy quality and you won't.

                One alternative: buy a good quality, used tractor now along with an appropriate mowing deck. You'll pay more than $5000 but you will soon wonder how you lived without the tractor. And then when you do have stock on the place you won't have that expense then.

                G.
                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                • #9
                  I got a Simplicity ride-on for around 2500.00 brand new. Works good, behaves properly over rough grounds. The only thing I will tell yuo regaring brand is this: Ariens is highly overrated and overpriced and rough ground tends to separate the mower deck from the power unit. Here, the thing is JD, Sears and Simplicity - they seem to take the rigors or farm mowing better than the stuff listed as estate mowers.
                  Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

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                  • #10
                    My mother uses an Ariens riding mower to mow her 7 acre pasture. She bought it used for a couple hundred dollars 10+ years ago, and it still runs really well. It does get regular maintenance at least every spring, though. She's never had a problem with the mower deck separating, but again, her mower is an older model, which may make a difference.

                    So I think your plan is totally feasible. And if you can find something decent used, that might be a good way to go.
                    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                    -Edward Hoagland

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                    • #11
                      Check out Craigslist, I bet you will find what you want for much less than 5K.
                      We bought an older well kept John Deere for $700, works great mowing, and I drag the arena with it pulling a handdozer.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by muleygirl View Post
                        Check out Craigslist, I bet you will find what you want for much less than 5K.
                        We bought an older well kept John Deere for $700, works great mowing, and I drag the arena with it pulling a handdozer.
                        How much horse power does your mower have?
                        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'd go with the largest deck you can manage in your space. Obviously with a larger deck you will cover more space in less time, but it doesn't help if you can't fit it between obstacles and then have to go back and weed eat or use a push mower to finish the job.

                          The other consideration with a large deck is if you have it trailered, do you have a way to do that.

                          We have 2 zero turns. We bought the first one brand new. This is the one we have. We have had it for 8 years and have had to regular maintenance and replace the spindles (our fault for having a less than ideal storage situation for a year).

                          We bought the second one used. Similar to this one. Ours has a 72" deck. I can get some grass cut with that machine.

                          The other consideration is how high the deck can be raised and still mow. The husqvarna can be raised to cut grass at 6". This is awesome when cutting your pasture. The dixie chopper can only be raised to 3 1/2". Great for lawns, but short pastures.

                          The husqvarna does better on hills, but I think it has more to do with the tires than the machine.

                          My brother in law has this type because of the suspension.

                          We paid just under $3,000 for the used Dixie Chopper. It is well made and I expect it to last a long time before we need to replace it.

                          I cut close to 20 acres. It takes me 6-8 hours to cut everything depending on how thick the grass is. If it is really thick and tall I have to cross cut to get it looking nice. I have a VERY small yard that I cut 1-2 times a week and the rest is cut every 2-4 weeks depending on weather and location.

                          I use the husqvarna to cut the 2 dams on our property and all the hilly areas.

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            60" wide is the largest I can currently trailer.
                            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have had a Troy-built zero turn mower for about, uummmm, 5 years now. Besides regular maintenance (oil change, clean filters, change blades), I haven't had to have anything done it to it and it runs great. I believe it was right at $2700-3k when I bought it. The thing is super fast.
                              The one thing I do not like about it is that I have no way to hook my lawn cart up to it, so I have to use the ATV to pull the cart.
                              Rhode Islands are red;
                              North Hollands are blue.
                              Sorry my thoroughbreds
                              Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                                How long would you say it takes you to mow an acre? Just for reference. Thanks!
                                I would say on avg. about 45-50 min. Longer if I have let the grass grow longer than normal and I have to go slower.

                                There are many variables that will effect cutting time.
                                • Obstacles you have to mow around
                                • How tall/thick the grass is.
                                • How sharp you keep your blade.
                                • How bumpy the ground is

                                and how short you are cutting.

                                This biggest thing is to keep the blades sharp and the mower deck clean.
                                Last edited by pds; Aug. 2, 2012, 01:59 PM.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I have bought 2 since I got my farm. I have close to 9 acres that I mow.

                                  One is a Scotts which is built by John Deere(i don't even know if they still make these). It's a garden tractor with a 54" deck. I can't remember the HP but it's 23 or 24. Bought it in 2000 new from Home Depot and it was 4k. It is still running although it looks like it could star in a Mad Max movie, we use mulching blades because of our sandy soil. We also use it to drag the arena and pastures.

                                  The other one we bought last fall when they were on sale and it's a Craftsman from Sears and it has the same brand of motor as the old one but with 25hp. Also a garden tractor with a 54" deck. It was right around the 3k mark. It is a nice machine so far although the blades it came with sucked so we switched it to a mulching blade. Now we have been using this one to do the main yard and letting the old one do the harder stuff like dragging. The old one is a bit heavier duty than the new one, but both are fine for what we need them for.
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                                  • #18
                                    I have this one http://www.homedepot.com/Outdoors-Ou...&storeId=10051

                                    So far am very happy with it. My main requirement was a gear driven machine as I'd killed about 5 belts a year on my previous mower


                                    I have 8 acres to mow, a decent grade & pretty tough ground. Nothing has stopped me yet. The max mowing height is only 4 inches, but that's not an issue for me here in north TX

                                    I purchased thru Home Deopt using their card which gave 1 year interest free and free delivery.

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                                    • #19
                                      Also, you will still have to mow once you bring the horses home....just a thought
                                      "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                                      carolprudm

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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by mroades View Post
                                        Also, you will still have to mow once you bring the horses home....just a thought
                                        I know, but horses = time for a tractor in my book, so I will probably bush hog the pasture at that point.
                                        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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