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View Full Version : 72" MOWERS FOR 300-400 acres?


SouthernFried
12-30-2006, 09:01 PM
City Parks and Flood buyouts. These are pretty flat areas but with nicely spaced trees on them. There are also many locations, that vary in size from one half acre to 30 acres, so we will be doing some traveling.

Looking at 72" mowers from Ferris, Exmark, Toro...mebbe others, not sure. So I was interested in peoples opinions, favorites, experience. These are not shredding jobs.

I am going to try and operate machines 8 hrs straight (stagger lunches). So these have to be durable, comfortable (operator fatigue), long time between gassing, etc.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.

JDWalkbehind
12-30-2006, 09:10 PM
i would go with a john deere diesal front mount mower. one with a cab and a radio

SouthernFried
12-30-2006, 09:26 PM
We are prolly gonna stay gasoline, since we have it stored at our facility. Also mid-mount, so I can put 2 of them on a trailer.

Deere products are a possibility tho.

DOLMARatOS
12-30-2006, 09:47 PM
I know you would really like to see gasoline units. But for maximum life-span, comfort and durability it is hard to beat the 72" Ferris Diesel unit or a John deere 72" front mount with a diesel. It's EASIER to store diesel than gasoline. Plus you can run off-road diesel and save a few dollars. You will get more running hours and IMHO diesel units tend to be more comfortable with noise levels and vibration because they have more cylinders, are water-colled and better vibration dampening than gasoline engines. Diesels are almost always mounted on rubber. When is the last time you saw a gas unit mounted on rubber?

my $0.02

Lawnsmithcare
12-30-2006, 09:53 PM
IMO I wouls have to say go with the Scag or Cub both are great machines also you may want to look into the walker mower with the 74inch deck all three are good machines.

cantoo
12-30-2006, 09:56 PM
Toro batwing.

carcrz
12-30-2006, 10:22 PM
I would definitely go w/ the 72" mowers. I personally like the Ferris Diesels. I have seen guys running the Dixie Choppers & getting some work done fast as well.

Jpocket
12-30-2006, 10:27 PM
You need to be looking into a few WAMS, and have the 72"s as trim machines.

It really depends on how much traveling is involved, and the average size of the prperties. Also Diesel is basically a must , if you are going to run them 8 hours straight, the only other option I can see is Liquid colled gas motors.
I can tell you with the gas mowers your going to be filling up often.

lawnangel1
12-30-2006, 11:10 PM
You need to be looking into a few WAMS, and have the 72"s as trim machines.

It really depends on how much traveling is involved, and the average size of the prperties. Also Diesel is basically a must , if you are going to run them 8 hours straight, the only other option I can see is Liquid colled gas motors.
I can tell you with the gas mowers your going to be filling up often.

I totally agree. I would go with a toro 580-d and then maybe a 60'' ztr or a 52"" w/b for a trim mower. If you decide to go with the 72" ztr route than I think your gonna want to go with a diesel. Maybe a scag sabre tooth tiger or a deere 997. I think in the long run you would be happier going with a diesel especially with that kind of use.

B&M
12-30-2006, 11:49 PM
kubota f series look into them.

MSS Mow
12-30-2006, 11:49 PM
City Parks and Flood buyouts. These are pretty flat areas but with nicely spaced trees on them. There are also many locations, that vary in size from one half acre to 30 acres, so we will be doing some traveling.

Looking at 72" mowers from Ferris, Exmark, Toro...mebbe others, not sure. So I was interested in peoples opinions, favorites, experience. These are not shredding jobs.

I am going to try and operate machines 8 hrs straight (stagger lunches). So these have to be durable, comfortable (operator fatigue), long time between gassing, etc.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.


I'm partial to my Massey Ferguson 33hp 72". Very comfortable and I mow all day on it. It's diesel though, but as others have stated, you really should consider going diesel.

SouthernFried
12-31-2006, 12:53 AM
All the "go diesel" responses are basically on target. So ya,, I will probably go diesel on these mowers. We've had problems with our guys mixing diesel and gasoline on our different machines (bobcats, vermeers, etc..), so we've become wary (yes, they are well labelled and colored gas caps, still have had problems)... but the benefits of Diesel do far outweigh those of gasoline engines.

We tried the "off road" gasoline/diesel thing...but, had some problems with the dye. Might have been the mix, or whatever. For now, we're gonna stay away from it.

I'm looking at Ferris, Exmark, Deere, Toro...basically because of the local dealer support of those.

Thanks for the responses.

LindblomRJ
12-31-2006, 01:05 AM
I would strongly suggest a WAM. John Deere or Toro. Just a 72" or even 2 72" mowers would be hard pressed for productivity. I like the idea of a 72" for use as a trim mower.

02DURAMAX
12-31-2006, 01:22 AM
I totally agree. I would go with a toro 580-d and then maybe a 60'' ztr or a 52"" w/b for a trim mower. If you decide to go with the 72" ztr route than I think your gonna want to go with a diesel. Maybe a scag sabre tooth tiger or a deere 997. I think in the long run you would be happier going with a diesel especially with that kind of use.

I Agree, Scag Sabre Tooth Tiger:weightlifter: :cool2: :weightlifter:

qualitylawnmanagement
12-31-2006, 01:38 AM
I would try and find some 50hp Diesel Dixie Choppers.

MSS Mow
12-31-2006, 06:56 AM
All the "go diesel" responses are basically on target. So ya,, I will probably go diesel on these mowers. We've had problems with our guys mixing diesel and gasoline on our different machines (bobcats, vermeers, etc..), so we've become wary (yes, they are well labelled and colored gas caps, still have had problems)... but the benefits of Diesel do far outweigh those of gasoline engines.

We tried the "off road" gasoline/diesel thing...but, had some problems with the dye. Might have been the mix, or whatever. For now, we're gonna stay away from it.

I'm looking at Ferris, Exmark, Deere, Toro...basically because of the local dealer support of those.
Thanks for the responses.


The most important element on deciding which piece of equipment.....

SouthernFried
12-31-2006, 10:54 AM
I hadn't actually thought about a WAM mower, thanks for the suggestions.

I don't believe we'll go that route, however. Too many different locations, and some of them are not that large. Some have little football/soccer fields, which a WAM would do well on. But, a lot are just not that wide open.

Plus, those things are big, heavy...and damned expensive. Wow!!

Still, it's the many locations (lot of travelling) and differing sizes of those locations which seem to make a couple of real good 72" more practical. I liked the suggestion tho, as I hadn't even considered them before.

Scag may be a possibility. No one's mentioned Gravely. I like the Ferris, but there seems to be some question on cut quality and depth of deck. Exmark looks nice...not sure about Deere yet. Dixie Choppers? I dunno...something about those units has never appealed to me. I know they're fast...but, man, they look like they were put together in someones garage.


Gonna check into Demoing a few units this next week.

Thanks
Steve

lawnmaniac883
12-31-2006, 02:34 PM
Exmark 72'' diesel, there i took all the guesswork right out of it for ya

Fantasy Lawns
12-31-2006, 03:56 PM
Actually the DC is a very durable easy too work on machine .... everything is open easy access .... heavy duty n can take a beating

That being said thou .... if it was me .... I'd be looking into the JD 14-1500 series out front .... with the hydro lift deck .... n ya I'd have to go diesel just fore the multiple hours .... we're talking a couple thousand per year

I'd also have to look at the Toro's .....

Something about an out front deck mower .... removes lots of trim time ....easy on the operator as far as seeing what one is cutting

N no I don't own either of these .... I've run the JD thou n it's like a Caddy on big open area's

I run purely Walkers, DC n Lazer's ... I luv em but on big open areas .... that JD eats it up

southtx
12-31-2006, 04:37 PM
I just wanted to stop by and say congrats on you getting those jobs!!! I read that listing they had on some of those places and you got alot of work for your guys. What loc are you with maybe I have seen your guys around san antonio?? Well good luck and I hope we all have a great year!!! ps I see that the city runs alot of gravely mowers....just something I thought put out there.

LCPullman
12-31-2006, 05:53 PM
Have a good look at the new zero-turn Toro 7200 Groundsmaster. Its not cheap, but its probably the best ZTR on the market in terms of durability. Its a step above the already superb lineup of Toro Z500s.

Check out the following links.
http://www.toro.com/grounds/mower/trim/gm7200/7200.html
http://www.toro.com/grounds/docs/cm_gm%207200_mow_brochure.pdf

twj721
12-31-2006, 09:22 PM
Scag Sabertooth tiger 72" cut covers alot of ground and does it quickly too they will actually cut Bahia grass on the 1st pass with no shooters left standing. Twj

cantoo
12-31-2006, 10:19 PM
You should look closer at the Toro wam types.They can cut small areas and large areas and don't take up much trailer space considering the area they can cut. Used ones are a reasonable price at least around here.
http://www.toro.com/grounds/mower/widearea/gm4100/4100.html

lawnspecialties
12-31-2006, 10:47 PM
If you're going diesel, have you considered Hustlers? Don't know what your dealer support (if any) is. A 72" SuperZ with the Cat diesel and flex forks with the new flex seat. :)

LemkeLawns
01-01-2007, 09:03 PM
Exmark. You can mow all day with their 13 gal fuel. Ive got a 72" diahatsu diesel. It does great on the weekly cut grass and uses all 12 mph. Ive demoed one with the kubota, HOLY CRAP. It could easily cut 2 week grass. They're comming out with a speed up kit on their bigger units that will take the ground speed to 15mph. Sealed and packed bearings means less down time and yields a greater profit. 2 year waranty on all machines. The only problems that we've had with them are self induced problems (which my mechanic so kindly pointed to me.) :hammerhead: They are great machines and I would recomend them to anyone. THey also have full suspention seats with weight adjustments and lumbar support. Ive rode them 12+ hrs a day about half this past season, and still wanted more.

Pumper
01-02-2007, 10:22 AM
I don't know if you have a local dealer but another one to consider is Lastec. They have a 82", 86" and 96" articulating deck. This would cover a lot of ground.

lawnboyblake
01-02-2007, 10:55 AM
I would go wam, dont forget about the payroll of that 1 guy versus the 2 or 3 guys on ztr's. you are still gonna need 1 on a ztr but the one on the wam is gonna do way more mowin than one on a ztr...:walking:

WALKER LANDSCAPE
01-02-2007, 11:30 AM
I agree with the Bat wings and the Z,s for trim and edge work. Go with diesels
if your going to run all day every day. Just my 2 cents.:waving:

WREBELMACHINE
01-05-2007, 11:52 PM
Well here is my 2 cents worth since the mowing you are doing is the type of mowing I do! I am one of four cutter here that mow school parks in this area. My part is just under 900 acres a week. I have run just about every thing you can think of. Your first problem is finding a dealer who can take care of you in case of a breakdown. That is your first and probably most important decision. Second will be brand. Three of the four contractors here use Encore Prowlers two of them including myself use the diesel. I also have some dixie choppers that I am replaceing.The other contractor uses Scag. I have had no issues whith machines at all. I have run the various brands that have been mentioned and they all are good but the mowing you are wanting to do is diffrent and it will exploit some problems that you normally would not see on average mowing!

Envy Lawn Service
01-06-2007, 12:17 AM
Well, I didn't read the whole thread.

With that said, I strongly recommend diesel powered mowers.
With mid-mounts, I think that overall, Grasshopper owns the diesel mid-mount market.

But that's not to say there are not other excellent diesel mid-mounts.
There are even some that have a particular better feature.
Ferris is an example with their suspension.

For GAS mid-mounts... I don't think you need look any farther than the 72" Lesco Ztwo, which is powered by a 33hp Generac. Right now they 'list' at $7,899 each. WOW! And that's without any promotions or discounts that might come along. Add the suspension seat and I think that dollar-for-dollar you'd be hard-pressed to out-produce them.

For that kind of work, that's probably what I would buy. I'd buy those, and with 'some' of the money saved I'd go see Brad (FlexDeck) and have a Flex Deck added to each side of the Z's.

This would give you a 108" swath per machine that would flex with the terrain, increase trim ability greatly and also still load on a standard trailer. Talk about reducing time, cost, and manpower.

Many on here give Brad a hard time (mostly because of pricing) but he honestly has every one of us whipped BAD on large properties with his setup.

John Deere X 595 with dual Flex Decks.

http://flex-deck.com/images/mowers/Double-Flex-Transport-Front.jpg

You can see them on ZTR's too at flex-deck.com

DixieChopper88
01-06-2007, 04:56 PM
Go with the 74" XCaliber from Dixie Chopper would work great in those conditions.

SouthernFried
01-06-2007, 08:29 PM
Well, as of this point...we are demoing Ferris, Deere, Kubota, Scag. Maybe Hustler, Exmark, Toro, but those dealers don't seem to be working too hard at getting the equipment.

We're not going the WAM method for several reasons. We're doing the H2B thing this year, so I'll have the guys. The cost of those WAMS are incredible, and we don't want used equipment. I don't want any problems.

Looks like we'll have the first month, to month and a half covered with Demo equipment (we start February.) That's kinda nice :).

Got hit with a double whammy on this as well. We're mowing more (570 acres), and we've discovered "BONDING."

We're having to put up $32,000 to cover a bond for a year. We're having to cover the whole amount, since this is our first bond. Later we only have to cover it partially, but right now...they want it all.

Wham.

Thanks for all your suggestions guys. I'll be looking to see if I can find a decent Encore dealer around here. Mebbe I'll demo a Chopper if I can work it out.

Right now, it's all about the Dealer. Ferris dealer is best, followed by Deere/Scag/Kubota.

Mebbe I'll get 2 months worth of demos... :)

philweid
01-06-2007, 09:15 PM
Have you ever considered a Grasshopper?????????????
They have 72 inch models that have a 32 horse engine. Not sure if it is a gas or a diesal. I feel that you get what you pay for. Grasshoppers are not cheap, but they get the job done and are built right!!!

Envy Lawn Service
01-07-2007, 01:49 AM
Have you ever considered a Grasshopper?????????????
They have 72 inch models that have a 32 horse engine. Not sure if it is a gas or a diesal. I feel that you get what you pay for. Grasshoppers are not cheap, but they get the job done and are built right!!!

Well I suggested Grasshopper up there in my post.
The don't have the looks or the bells and whistles some models do...
But I agree they are built right.... when it comes to diesel mowers.

I say that because Grasshopper didn't just stuff a diesel onto a gas frame.
The result is what is should be... a diesel mower that is not grossly overweight.

People blame the diesel engines for the extreme weight because of the other MFG's.
Truth is, most of that extra weight is due to the counter-weights and such other MFG's have to add to their gas frames to balance them out once a diesel is mounted on them.

The 32hp unit you speak of is the 432/72".
It is in fact a gas powered unit.
But it's a 3 cylinder Kubota gas engine.
That engine is a world away from these V-twin tingers.

For a 72" mid-mount Grasshopper, I like the 428D/72"
28hp Kubota Diesel.

hillbilly12
01-07-2007, 11:42 AM
Ferris all the way! Go with the IS5100Z w/CAT diesel. :weightlifter:

Accu-cut Lawn Care
01-07-2007, 01:03 PM
You should definitely go Hustler. I have some accounts that are similar in size to what you are looking at... and without a doubt, my hustlers have served me very well. If you have a lot of sports fields; add a stripe roller and you'll earn yourself some job security.:usflag:

davidcalhoun
01-07-2007, 01:18 PM
It sounds like your equipment will take a beating. I would see which manufacturer offers the best commercial warranty along with which dealer can offer you loaners while your equipment is in for these repairs.

If you do not go with diesel, then at least go with something like a liquid cooled Kubota gas engine.

I would not rule out front-mount deck mowers. On some, the decks can be flipped up. This might help you with trailer space - It will definently help you with maintenance. The other plus is that you can afford a back-up deck much cheaper than you can for a whole mid-mount mower.

PS Trying to get "months" of demo mowers does not sound like a good long term business plan. The dealers will talk.

PSS Does JD still offer a decent lease plan on bigger equipment?

sildoc
01-07-2007, 01:47 PM
Well, I didn't read the whole thread.

With that said, I strongly recommend diesel powered mowers.
With mid-mounts, I think that overall, Grasshopper owns the diesel mid-mount market.

But that's not to say there are not other excellent diesel mid-mounts.
There are even some that have a particular better feature.
Ferris is an example with their suspension.

For GAS mid-mounts... I don't think you need look any farther than the 72" Lesco Ztwo, which is powered by a 33hp Generac. Right now they 'list' at $7,899 each. WOW! And that's without any promotions or discounts that might come along. Add the suspension seat and I think that dollar-for-dollar you'd be hard-pressed to out-produce them.

For that kind of work, that's probably what I would buy. I'd buy those, and with 'some' of the money saved I'd go see Brad (FlexDeck) and have a Flex Deck added to each side of the Z's.

This would give you a 108" swath per machine that would flex with the terrain, increase trim ability greatly and also still load on a standard trailer. Talk about reducing time, cost, and manpower.

Many on here give Brad a hard time (mostly because of pricing) but he honestly has every one of us whipped BAD on large properties with his setup.

John Deere X 595 with dual Flex Decks.

http://flex-deck.com/images/mowers/Double-Flex-Transport-Front.jpg

You can see them on ZTR's too at flex-deck.com


I was thinking the same thing. You don't see much of brads work on here any more but for the ability to cover a large area and yet still have the ability to do small stuff also this might be a good option. 72" + 20 +20= 112" cut your time in almost half.

grassmedics
09-11-2008, 07:05 PM
I know this is an old post, but Hustler was mentioned a few times, my point being hustler makes a type of batwing mower, you should check it out on their website might work well for that many acres

bigclawn
09-11-2008, 07:22 PM
For that kind of mowing, if it's going to be long term, Toro or Bobcat golf course equipment would be the way to go. Cost more up front but designed for extended use.

Lbilawncare
09-11-2008, 07:44 PM
This post is from January of 2007, I'm sure he made his decision by now. Inquiring minds would like to know though.

ffemt1271
09-11-2008, 09:05 PM
i got a 2005 exmark 72 and have had good luck out of it so far. you should be able to run ann day on a full tanks

deereequipment
09-11-2008, 09:11 PM
That much mowing, I'd consider Deere tractor with a cab and 72", or get a larger tractor with a pullalong batwing mower to do 12' or larger. You would need a larger trailer to haul that, or pull it on two trailers.
Those tractors have A/C which is good for operator comfort, plus, with the sealed cab, bees can't get you. I'd tint the windows too to keep the sun off of you.

Good luck.

W.L.M.
09-12-2008, 07:48 PM
kubota f series look into them.

I agree rear discharge Kubota F 2880 would be my choice. The toro are nice too though.

Danielslawnservice
09-12-2008, 08:35 PM
I agree rear discharge Kubota F 2880 would be my choice. The toro are nice too though.

but what if there is a rock? or something you don't know were it's goin!

they are nice for cemetery's and wide open spots not near traffic or houses...

im surprised no one mentioned Bad Boy....

westsweeper4
09-12-2008, 09:04 PM
you guys do realize the original post is over a year old.... i think he has made his decision by now

Swampy
09-12-2008, 11:27 PM
Note: I know its a old thread but its better to bring up a question instead of making a new thread.

At my old job we had about 5 72'' 300 series Toro's, but then bought a Toro 580-d it replaced 3 of them in a year back when we were mowing a entire school district. Are old crews use to be
#1: Toro 325 with a 72'' and a Toro 580D
#2: Toro 223 with a 62" and a Toro 455
#3: Ferris 48" WB, old Sears lawn tractor, and another Toro 325 with a 62" (I nicked named it back when I was 16 "Never die crew")

The good old days of out fronts, before we convinced the old guy to buy a ZTR.

Personally if I was in the same boat but up here I'd stick to outfronts over ZTR's. School properties are not exactly award winner lawns and Frost heaved clay soils aren't the most smooth nor flat. A ZTR will bounce you around worse than a rag doll in a Pitbull's mouth at least a one with out some kind of suspension seat. I like out fronts cause its easier to cut under pines and spruce trees by just sticking the deck under it tree thus to branch to the face happenings and it cuts a ton off trimming because most out fronts have that nice offset deck on them.

dcombs
09-13-2008, 04:07 PM
I am a john deere and kubota fan. if i was mowing that much ground i would go with kubota. the only reason i would put kubota over john deere is because kubota has a shaft drive from its engine to its mower deck and not a belt. you won't have to worry about throwing a belt or anything and if i am right there is two belts on the deck instead of one.

IMAGE
02-16-2009, 04:41 AM
So you start mowing 580 acres... and disappear from Lawnsite? Still lurking? What mowers did you end up using and what kind of productivity did you end up with?

topsites
02-16-2009, 05:05 AM
So you start mowing 580 acres... and disappear from Lawnsite? Still lurking? What mowers did you end up using and what kind of productivity did you end up with?

If I recall correctly, it wasn't the mowing per se but something with the H2B program...
The H2B fiasco was in another thread, and it has been some time so it could've
been someone else but the profile is a close match...

Now...
I'm not trying to pry any more into it, whether it was this guy or someone else,
H2B or not, it appears to be one of those things that the less I know the better.

Pietro
02-16-2009, 10:42 AM
Toro 71 Diesel. 0% financing for 3 years.

TMlawncare
02-16-2009, 12:20 PM
Old thread but pretty informative on super large accounts. One thing to consider on this particular one is the scope of the job, 500+ acres. Wow that is huge and its scattered all around the area in various size plots, 10 acres to 30 acres and more. You have to keep in mind that 500 acres is a lot of ground to farm and a massive undertaking to mow. Without seeing the routing involved or the various properties I would have to use a minimum of three 3 man crews. Each crew would be outfitted with 2 lastec 100" ztr's and 2 60" mowers. (60" Exmark ZTR and Turf Tracer 60)
That would be an expensive crew to set up. $85k per crew just in mowers. But only nine employees to pay.

BonesMalone
02-16-2009, 12:51 PM
Durablity and comfort = HUSTLER. Flex forks and flex seat. The only way to do it. You will be glad you did. We have run Hustler's for the last 7 years on large properties with no problems or complaints.

Pietro
02-16-2009, 03:38 PM
Toro 72 Diesel. 0% financing for 3 years.