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View Full Version : Tractor, ZeroTurn or Wide Area Mower for Large Acreages ?


EcoGreen Services
01-13-2010, 08:07 AM
I'm bidding on some large commercial property.

It's tendered per zone. Each zone is 20 to 40 acres. It's a one year contract with 2, 1 year renewal terms. They're mostly flat and open.

When I get them, I will need larger / Wider equipment suitable for large acreages.

I'm thinking of going with a small tractor like a John Deere 3000 or 4000 series because those are the largest I believe you can put a mid mount mower on. Also the availability of a full cab would make life more comfortable. A 3 point hitch mounted spreader would also greatly speed up fertilizing. A small tractor would also be useful in other aspects of my business.

A large ZT would also be usable on some large residential accounts I have.

I know a wide area mower like a John Deere 1600 turbo would eat up the acres but would be limited pretty much to that account.

I'm leaning towards the compact tractor right now

Anyone using compact tractors for large acreages ? What actual acre per hour production are you getting ? How do you find them for fuel consumption compared to large gas powered ZTs ?

Thoughts ?

Mickhippy
01-13-2010, 09:13 AM
Is it smooth?
How many acres all up?

I mowed a new development with a 31/60 SuperZ (see pics). Think it was about 10 or 11 acres of really rough ground, long grass etc that was usually bush hogged. It took me about 7hrs. I was told it usually took 11 to 13hrs with the tractor/bush hog.

Theres more to this place than in the pics, behind the trees on the left/top pic. Only grass I didnt mow is 2 narrow strips next to the concrete path and a couple of other small areas.

Point is, unless you go a WAM, your best bet would probably be zero turns... IMHO!

RonAyersMotorsports
01-13-2010, 10:25 AM
Is it smooth?
How many acres all up?

I mowed a new development with a 31/60 SuperZ (see pics). Think it was about 10 or 11 acres of really rough ground, long grass etc that was usually bush hogged. It took me about 7hrs. I was told it usually took 11 to 13hrs with the tractor/bush hog.

Theres more to this place than in the pics, behind the trees on the left/top pic. Only grass I didnt mow is 2 narrow strips next to the concrete path and a couple of other small areas.

Point is, unless you go a WAM, your best bet would probably be zero turns... IMHO!

Love the mower! :weightlifter:

hackitdown
01-13-2010, 10:40 AM
I have a tractor with a Bushhog, which I have used to mow rough lawns a few times. It is very, very slow.

But if it is flat and wide open, I have to think a tractor with a rear batwing style mower attachment would be faster than a ZTR. There is a local private school in my area that uses one, and it can cut in (what looks like) 10 foot wide passes. They are cutting huge lawns, playing fields, etc. And as you said, a tractor is very usefull for loads of other applications.

hackitdown
01-13-2010, 10:44 AM
Check out this 16 foot wide mower attachment, they claim 12 acres per hr.

http://www.kubota.com/f/products/landpride/gl40/GL40%20All%20Flex%20Mower%20AFM4016.pdf

Mickhippy
01-13-2010, 03:40 PM
Love the mower! :weightlifter:

Thanks mate. Goes good!

jkilov
01-13-2010, 05:19 PM
I would recommend a 72" ZTR with a big block engine and some sort of suspension. A 2 man crew with a regular truck + trailer + residential ZTR you already have + 72" ZTR is an efficient, mobile, practical and safe way to mow large areas.

Don't consider a WAM until you have at least 150-200 acres. They cost $30k+, may require special trailers and aren't strikingly faster than 72" ZTRs.

Compact tractors have a mobility problem, though they fit easily on trailers, their attachments often don't. There are other more practical issues with tractors and WAMs.

1993lx172
01-13-2010, 08:12 PM
Thanks mate. Goes good!

Sorry to hijack but, Mickhippy what do you guys down there run for trucks and what not does the the "big three" (ford, Chevy, Dodge) have much presence or are Izzu's and Toyota's (being so close to Japan) have a larger market share?

Hijack over.

To the OP, I'd try and do like what one of the others said, get a decent sized tractor (JD 4000 series or another comparable brand and series line up) and run one of those 12' or 16' batwing finish mowers.

With a bunch of Ztrs you'd have to hire on more operators, WAMs are expensive and can't do much else other than mow. I've looked on line and a WAM will run you about the same as a tractor with a batwing but be less use full to you as far as other applications go.

I wouldn't go with a belly mower, the biggest you can go is 72" and the tractor will be slower than a Z.

EcoGreen Services
01-13-2010, 08:18 PM
All up there are about 480 Acres. But it is tendered in parcels, so the machine I buy will depend on how many parcels I get. It's also unknown at this point how many parcels will be tendered.

I saw the new Toro Groundsmaster 5900 at the Landscape Ontario show today.. 16ft wide and cuts a acre in 5 minutes. 99hp Cummins turbo diesel and a quick way to blow about $50,000. That thing is a beast.

If I go ZT I want a diesel , they tend to be much easier on fuel and most of my other equipment is diesel fueled.

There are some advantages to the compact tractor route, I have a 8ft X 20ft 12,000lb flat deck trailer so transporting it isn't a problem. The largest mid mount deck you can get on the ones I looked at were 72". The John Deere 7 Iron decks do produce a really nice cut. The advantage is being able to run 3PT PTO equipment.

Also had a look at the Ferris IS5100Z with the 33.5HP Cat Diesel. I have a great Ferris dealer close and have had great luck with the 48" IS1500Z with the Kawi and I have to admit I love the suspension. Old Bones I guess.

doubleedge
01-13-2010, 08:32 PM
Lastec makes both 3 point hitch and zero turn wide area articulating mowers, if quality is a concern. A tractor would be the most useful for year round applications.

djagusch
01-13-2010, 09:27 PM
A guy around here uses a kubota M4060 (or something like that) tractor with a 15ft batwing mower he swears by it. He's owned the Toro WAM's etc but say the tractor can be used for many other purposes (firewood sales, snow removal, add a snowblower to move piles, etc.). If he didn't have the other uses he would go back to 72"ztr before the WAM.

EcoGreen Services
01-13-2010, 10:55 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the Lastec mowers. I wasn't familiar with them.. The articulation on the 21" deck pull behind models is crazy. I'll have to check them out..

Mickhippy
01-14-2010, 01:12 AM
Sorry to hijack but, Mickhippy what do you guys down there run for trucks and what not does the the "big three" (ford, Chevy, Dodge) have much presence or are Izzu's and Toyota's (being so close to Japan) have a larger market share?

Id say most lawnies use small 4 cylinder utes/trucks. I personally have a Toyota 4wd Hilux 3L Turbo Diesel and most brands offer similar set up. Dodge, Chevy dont have utes here unless Ive missed something.

To keep this short, search mazda BT50, Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi, for starters. google with an "au" at the end and Aussie sites should come up.

1993lx172
01-14-2010, 01:27 AM
Thanks, I was just curious as to what you guys had over in Australia truck wise. I've seen pics on here from other members from Australia that haven't been on here in years and they were running trucks similar to the cab-over Izzu's with landscape beds that a lot of LCO's use but couldn't tell who made them.

green_with_envy
01-14-2010, 10:59 AM
I would have to say a 72" ztr would be the quickest. Also could use it many other places. I have a compact tractor (27hp) and a 6' brush hog would be tough for it. 5' is what I use and that is about max.....and slower than a z.

pieperlc
01-14-2010, 11:23 AM
[QUOTE=EcoGreen Services;3359365]All up there are about 480 Acres. But it is tendered in parcels, so the machine I buy will depend on how many parcels I get. It's also unknown at this point how many parcels will be tendered./QUOTE]

I think you answered your own question. If you get all or a lot of the acreage I think you should look at a WAM. A WAM is for more maneuverable around obstacles that a compact w/batwing (if that is an issue on these properties.) If you only get one or two, a 72-z would be the way to go.

jkilov
01-14-2010, 07:00 PM
All up there are about 480 Acres. But it is tendered in parcels, so the machine I buy will depend on how many parcels I get. It's also unknown at this point how many parcels will be tendered.

Also had a look at the Ferris IS5100Z with the 33.5HP Cat Diesel. I have a great Ferris dealer close and have had great luck with the 48" IS1500Z with the Kawi and I have to admit I love the suspension. Old Bones I guess.

If you win all parcels then forget about compact and get a real tractor. A used 60hp unit would do nice and there are flip-up 3-wing attachments, I know SSB makes one and it's $8k I think.

As for the 5100 ferris I would'nt get one. It weighs a ton, literally. A 3100 with a big block is just as productive and way cheaper.

1993lx172
01-14-2010, 07:12 PM
If you win all parcels then forget about compact and get a real tractor. A used 60hp unit would do nice and there are flip-up 3-wing attachments, I know SSB makes one and it's $8k I think.

As for the 5100 ferris I would'nt get one. It weighs a ton, literally. A 3100 with a big block is just as productive and way cheaper.

I would agree with you on the first part but he said that he wants to be able to get into smaller jobs for landscaping and what not and a 60hp might be to big for that. I may be wrong.

I'm not calling you out by any means just filling you in.

chrisduryea
01-14-2010, 08:32 PM
If I go ZT I want a diesel , they tend to be much easier on fuel and most of my other equipment is diesel fueled.

Also had a look at the Ferris IS5100Z with the 33.5HP Cat Diesel. I have a great Ferris dealer close and have had great luck with the 48" IS1500Z with the Kawi and I have to admit I love the suspension. Old Bones I guess.

If your looking at the Ferris also have a look at the BadBoy AOS Diesel they also run the same engine but are lighter at a better price for similar specs.

Cheers
Chris

clean_cut
01-14-2010, 09:09 PM
Check out this 16 foot wide mower attachment, they claim 12 acres per hr.

http://www.kubota.com/f/products/landpride/gl40/GL40%20All%20Flex%20Mower%20AFM4016.pdf

Imagine adjusting the height on those mowers 12 spacer adjustments!

johnnybravo8802
01-14-2010, 09:11 PM
I've put a lot of thought into the same questions over the years, made a lot of dumb decisions, and lost a lot of money. Older and wiser people used to tell me the answers and I didn't want to listen and I paid. BE PRACTICAL!!!!! I was told by the older and wiser man that, with a WAM, don't ever finance over 36 months and make sure the contract is for 36 months. If it's a one year contract, you lose the contract, you're stuck with a WAM- a specialized machine that is more difficult to sell. With a 72", at least you can use them else where and resale them. Overall, I wouldn't even take on the contract unless I was set up for it. I'm set up for large properties and don't have to go out and buy anything so it only makes sense. Start out small and build your way up or you may be in for a world of hurt and financial loss. BE PRACTICAL!!!!!

Swank1975
09-11-2013, 12:48 AM
We have to road a lot between our large sites across Denver so we have 16" WAM mowers. 2 Jacobsen machines (getting quite old) and a 1 year old Toro 5900. We love the Toro.