View Full Version : Realistic ZTR productivity numbers

10-13-2008, 01:34 PM
I'm sure we've all seen the charts on manufaturer's websites and the formula for calculating acres per hour for a certain size deck at a certain speed... I feel for the most part that these charts and tables are unrealistic. I thought it would be helpful for everyone to share some real world numbers. Please include machine, type of area you're cutting (football field, or a condo), and any other info that may be helpful.

I see about 1.5-2 acres per hour out of my 60" Z830A Deere on the 1/2-1 acre residential and commercial acounts I do. One lot I mow every other week is about .8 acre, and takes about 35 minutes. I think if I got it out in the open on weekely cut grass I could see close to 4 out of it.

10-13-2008, 02:27 PM
I have a one acre open square lot that I use my 44" on at full speed of 5mph and my best time was 37 minutes.

10-13-2008, 07:09 PM
One account I have now is a small park the size of 2.6 acres. I need 45 to 50 min with the ZTR alone and then some work with the WB for tight spots.

This puts me on 3.3 acres per hour for the ZTR. Good, but much less than the advertised productivity (which I can't recall how much it is right now). On typical 1/2 acre lots I'm getting less I suppose.

10-13-2008, 07:43 PM
our best lawn " as in NO WEEDS and very little CRAP to pick up" Is a 10 acer home
we can knock this one out in about an hour, were running a 60" exmark and a 52"

But remember this is Very flat NO WEEDS, very few trees, it's a LCO's Dream come true

10-13-2008, 07:52 PM
I live on one acre, it takes me 20 min. max to mow with my Toro 62" or scag 61". With no house I would add another 5 min.

10-13-2008, 09:51 PM
With my 25HP 52" Ferris IS 1500 I typically mow about 700-1100 sq. ft. of turf per minute depending on obstacles etc. This is on lots smaller than 1/2 acre typically. I have not done any wide open mowing yet so I have no numbers to compare that to.

10-13-2008, 09:53 PM
If we could all have the magical spiral lawn, where you start in the middle and just keep spinning around the inner circle. Or for those that might get dizzy, why can't we just get that lot that is 1 mile long, and 2x the width of our mower so you can mow out and back and be done!

10-13-2008, 10:54 PM
... I feel for the most part that these charts and tables are unrealistic. ...

There is nothing wrong with the charts -- they are only a graphical representation of the arithmetic.

The problem comes in determining the productivity ratio. Nobody is able to achieve 100%, unless the lawn is 48" wide, and 10 miles long. The usefulness of the charts is related to how well you can predict your productivity ratio.

Several of the above posts include important information (e.g. wide open, few trees, etc) in this regard. If much time is spent navigating around obstacles, or having to make many turns, or working on a steep slope where the overlap is hard to control, ... all these things will have an impact on productivity ratio.

The other piece of the time consideration is the non-mowing task. My average time for trimming is about 15 minutes per property, a fixed time regardless of what mower is on the trailer. In one case, I have two properties side by side that require 55 minutes to complete the trimming and edging, BEFORE even thinking of firing a mower engine. These non-mowing tasks can really eat away the time, making the productivity numbers of the mower less important.

10-14-2008, 12:21 AM
For this experiment, we'll ignore trimming time.

I understand how the charts work and the math behind them. They just don't account for any real world conditions. It's difficult to say that all properties will use the 80% efficency factor that most manufacturers throw out there... Some are going to be more like 30% (I've got a couple like this), other may be a lot closer to that 80%, which is close to the max output I think anyone can expect.

The other factor is speed... I've heard a few claim to mow at 15mph... butit seems the general concensus is that this is a rare occurance, and only accomplished under ideal circumstances. What then is a more realistic number for the majority of manufacturers... 4mph? 6mph? 8? again it depends on the property.

I think we agree Roger, I just think it's helpful to see real life numbers from people and not manufacturer's marketing numbers. This is the biggest key to knowing how to price a property... how long is it going to take me?

10-14-2008, 12:33 AM
I have a chart of my own that I use. I figured it out at 3MPH 4 MPH and 5MPH with 5 deck sizes on it, borken down with multiple efficiency factors. Email me or PM me and I can send it to you.

10-14-2008, 01:05 AM
Of course your manufacturers numbers are going to be high speed mowing in every 2 to 3 days mowing conditions wide open. I have a 1 acre yard at my house, and the absolute best I can do on a 52" mower is 22minutes, and thats hauling butt. I have a 5 acre yard that I mow once a week with bermuda sod...yes sod....that I can do in 1 and a half hours by myself on the 52". Again that is hauling butt with fresh sharpened blades @ the full 14mph. My 72" diesel is another story all together, with a 60" and 72" running at the same time we have 5 properties consisting of over 40 acres we can knock them out in about 12 to 14 hours. At over $2000 a cut it is by far the best margin I have made in a days time. It used to take us 2 to 3 days with the 52" and the 60", thats how much time the Cat beast has made up. It is funny to see guys stop in the middle of the road in amazement to see how fast the 35hp 72" actually is. Hope this helps, I try to take big open properties, because I have found that with fast mowers, that is where I make the margins. There is no way I could mow normal residential yards and make money with my set-up now. I can still bid cheap with these mowers and keep my margins up there with my high end stuff..(a little poison goes along way to help trim these types of properties too....lol)