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  #1  
Old 02-23-2013, 03:06 PM
HavnFun HavnFun is offline
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Zero turn mower vs batwing vs ???

I have approximately 13 residential acres that I mow currently with a tractor with a 6 foot finish mower. Property is mostly wide open with trees along the boundaries which I cut with my 48 inch zero turn. In an effort to reduce the amount of cutting time, I have been researching the purchase of equipment similar the the Kubota 331 zero turn with 72 inch mower, Jacobsen HR5111 wide area mower(11 foot cut), and Woods TBW150C batwing(to pull behind my tractor) with 12 foot cut. The fastest cutters appear to be the Jacobsen, Toro and Deere WAMs. Since these mowers are very expensive new, I would have to purchase used. My fear is the maintenance and expensive repair costs of these mowers. The next fastest( my interpretation of mfgs specs) would be the batwing finish mowers followed by the 72 inch cut diesel zero turns. The zero turns have the advantage of one mower doing the whole job whereas the batwings would require that I continue to maintain my zero turn.
Today, I am leaning toward the batwings but will probably change tomorrow. Would appreciate any input from this group.
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2013, 07:18 PM
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puppypaws puppypaws is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HavnFun View Post
I have approximately 13 residential acres that I mow currently with a tractor with a 6 foot finish mower. Property is mostly wide open with trees along the boundaries which I cut with my 48 inch zero turn. In an effort to reduce the amount of cutting time, I have been researching the purchase of equipment similar the the Kubota 331 zero turn with 72 inch mower, Jacobsen HR5111 wide area mower(11 foot cut), and Woods TBW150C batwing(to pull behind my tractor) with 12 foot cut. The fastest cutters appear to be the Jacobsen, Toro and Deere WAMs. Since these mowers are very expensive new, I would have to purchase used. My fear is the maintenance and expensive repair costs of these mowers. The next fastest( my interpretation of mfgs specs) would be the batwing finish mowers followed by the 72 inch cut diesel zero turns. The zero turns have the advantage of one mower doing the whole job whereas the batwings would require that I continue to maintain my zero turn.
Today, I am leaning toward the batwings but will probably change tomorrow. Would appreciate any input from this group.
To give you a rough idea, pulling a 10' cut mower behind a tractor at 8 mph, which is honestly too fast, in a straight line for 1 hr., you would cut 9.7 acres. Now, take my 72" Hustler Super Z which has a ground speed of 15 mph (and yes, it will cut grass at its top speed of 14 mph), and cut in a straight line for 1 hr., you will cut 10.18 acres in the same 1 hr. time period.

Where the Hustler will really make even more of a time difference is in its maneuverability speed, you can turn around and be cutting another pass long before you can get a tractor turned around.

I am very familiar with cutting with a 15' fold up JD rotary cutter, because of cutting hundreds of acres of corn stalks over the years, meaning this is something I've had many hours of experience with, both large rotary cutters, and a fast 72" zero turn mower.

I can't imagine cutting 13 acres with a 6' pull behind mower and tractor probably running at 6 mph, you would be out there forever. If the property is reasonably smooth, I could cut it in probably 40 to 50% of the time it takes you, and this is due to cutting speed, along with maneuverability speed.

When cutting with a 15' rotary cutter and a 150 hp tractor, I can get around 10 ac. per hr. depending on how much turning is involved.
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Last edited by puppypaws; 02-23-2013 at 07:27 PM.
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  #3  
Old 02-24-2013, 09:10 AM
Lmatt57 Lmatt57 is offline
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Just my 2 cents. I mowed 13 acres with a 60" belly mower on a ford 8N for 16 yrs. My dad had to have a golf course looking yard. Don"t remember the time but 5 hours comes to mind. When the first ztr"s came out, he bought one. 72", cut mowing and trimming down to 3 1/2 hours. Sold the house and I maintaned the lawn for 5 years after that with a 15" flex wing mower. Cut mowing down to 2 hrs and trimming to 1 hour. If you need the tractor for anything else I would go with a flex wing mower. Cost is around $ 15,000.00 new. Use your ztr for trimming. Just my thoughts.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:56 AM
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puppypaws puppypaws is offline
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Originally Posted by Lmatt57 View Post
Just my 2 cents. I mowed 13 acres with a 60" belly mower on a ford 8N for 16 yrs. My dad had to have a golf course looking yard. Don"t remember the time but 5 hours comes to mind. When the first ztr"s came out, he bought one. 72", cut mowing and trimming down to 3 1/2 hours. Sold the house and I maintaned the lawn for 5 years after that with a 15" flex wing mower. Cut mowing down to 2 hrs and trimming to 1 hour. If you need the tractor for anything else I would go with a flex wing mower. Cost is around $ 15,000.00 new. Use your ztr for trimming. Just my thoughts.
5 hrs. sounds reasonable, 6 mph x 5280 x 4.75' (never quite get the full 5') = 150,480 sq ft ÷ 43,560 = 3.45 ac per hr. x 5 hrs. = 17.25 ac x 75% efficiency = 12.94 acres mowed in 5 hrs.

Toro specifies 5 to 6 diesel hp per ft of mower width...meaning a 15' cutter would need a minimum of 75 hp to perform as designed. To equip yourself with a 75 hp tractor and a 15' cutter will take a large investment. If a person already has a 75 hp tractor, and has other uses for the tractor, then a 15' cutter could easily be utilized. It would not be feasible to buy a 75 hp tractor and 15' cutter unless it could be used to generate a per hr income several days each week. Mowing one 13 ac property would not be cost effective, too much difference in cost of a tractor and cutter versus a faster ztr mower.

If the property you spoke of cutting in 3.5 hrs. is not a horse pasture (relatively smooth) I could cut it with my 72" Super Z at 14 mph in what would be an easy 2 hrs. This is 14 mph x 5280 x 5.75' (never quite get the full 6') = 425,040 sq ft ÷ 43,560 = 9.76 ac per hr. x 1.8 hrs. = 17.25 ac x 75% efficiency = 13.17 acres mowed in 1.8 hrs.

I use 75% efficiency due to turn around time, and a relatively small number of obstacles to maneuver around. This is only an example, mowing scenarios can change dramatically depending on terrain and obstacles to negotiate.

I also used a 14 mph cutting speed, this is due to the mower being a 15 mph machine, but due to deck and wheel friction drag, I lowered it by 1 mph.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:36 PM
HavnFun HavnFun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puppypaws View Post
To give you a rough idea, pulling a 10' cut mower behind a tractor at 8 mph, which is honestly too fast, in a straight line for 1 hr., you would cut 9.7 acres. Now, take my 72" Hustler Super Z which has a ground speed of 15 mph (and yes, it will cut grass at its top speed of 14 mph), and cut in a straight line for 1 hr., you will cut 10.18 acres in the same 1 hr. time period.

Where the Hustler will really make even more of a time difference is in its maneuverability speed, you can turn around and be cutting another pass long before you can get a tractor turned around.

I am very familiar with cutting with a 15' fold up JD rotary cutter, because of cutting hundreds of acres of corn stalks over the years, meaning this is something I've had many hours of experience with, both large rotary cutters, and a fast 72" zero turn mower.

I can't imagine cutting 13 acres with a 6' pull behind mower and tractor probably running at 6 mph, you would be out there forever. If the property is reasonably smooth, I could cut it in probably 40 to 50% of the time it takes you, and this is due to cutting speed, along with maneuverability speed.

When cutting with a 15' rotary cutter and a 150 hp tractor, I can get around 10 ac. per hr. depending on how much turning is involved.
Thanks for your comments puppypaws. With my tractor and 72 inch mower, I am probably cutting 2 acres/hr ( yeh I'm retired). I did not image that a zero turn would cut at a speed of 14 mph and get a reasonable cut. My current zero turn probably cuts at 7 mph max. Yes rotary cutters require about 5 hp/ft of cut, but turf batwings require less. Woods says their 12 ft turf batwing hp requirement is 25 to 60. My tractor hp is 35 and perhaps marginal for powering a 12 ft mower. Thanks.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:45 PM
HavnFun HavnFun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lmatt57 View Post
Just my 2 cents. I mowed 13 acres with a 60" belly mower on a ford 8N for 16 yrs. My dad had to have a golf course looking yard. Don"t remember the time but 5 hours comes to mind. When the first ztr"s came out, he bought one. 72", cut mowing and trimming down to 3 1/2 hours. Sold the house and I maintaned the lawn for 5 years after that with a 15" flex wing mower. Cut mowing down to 2 hrs and trimming to 1 hour. If you need the tractor for anything else I would go with a flex wing mower. Cost is around $ 15,000.00 new. Use your ztr for trimming. Just my thoughts.
Thanks for your comments Lmatt57. I guess I am like your dad. On part of the 13 acres I have a two hole course and driving range for our grandson. I cannot part with the tractor. It has too many uses. I will keep it no matter which direction I decide to go. What Hp tractor did you use with the 15 ft flex wing mower? Thanks.
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2013, 07:46 PM
ztman ztman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HavnFun View Post
Thanks for your comments puppypaws. With my tractor and 72 inch mower, I am probably cutting 2 acres/hr ( yeh I'm retired). I did not image that a zero turn would cut at a speed of 14 mph and get a reasonable cut. My current zero turn probably cuts at 7 mph max. Yes rotary cutters require about 5 hp/ft of cut, but turf batwings require less. Woods says their 12 ft turf batwing hp requirement is 25 to 60. My tractor hp is 35 and perhaps marginal for powering a 12 ft mower. Thanks.
PuppyPaws is right on with his recommendations for speed. One thing you want to keep in mind if you are retired is comfort. If you are not cutting really smooth ground, cutting at 10+ mph gets a little bumpy and is hard on old bones, like mine. I cut 8 acres, and without a decent suspension seat you get bumped around pretty good. Before you make your decision, I would demo some good quality zero truns to see what a good speed/comfort combo is
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:00 AM
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puppypaws puppypaws is offline
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Originally Posted by ztman View Post
PuppyPaws is right on with his recommendations for speed. One thing you want to keep in mind if you are retired is comfort. If you are not cutting really smooth ground, cutting at 10+ mph gets a little bumpy and is hard on old bones, like mine. I cut 8 acres, and without a decent suspension seat you get bumped around pretty good. Before you make your decision, I would demo some good quality zero truns to see what a good speed/comfort combo is

I will be 64 shortly, and cut at full speed with two Hustler Super Z mowers, one being a 66" cut with a Kohler 28 hp efi engine, the other being a 72" cut with a 35 hp Kawasaki engine. Both these mowers are advertised at 15 mph, with that being said, I have checked the speed on both machines, with the 28 hp being at 13 mph and the 35 hp being at a little over 14 mph. I mow grass at full speed with both machines no problem, and my grass is far from smooth because of it being on a working farm. The 66" machine has flex forks and a flex seat, the new 72" machine has flex forks, and no flex seat, only a suspension seat, but due to its lengthened wheel base, it actually rides better than the smaller machine.

The quality of cut is more than satisfactory at full speed with either mower, the picture below is a shot of crabgrass which is very difficult to cut, and leave looking good. This was cut at 14 mph with no grass left standing, or no grass left laying on top of the newly cut grass, this is all anyone can ask of a mower.

If you operated my 35/72 you would not believe the difference in smoothness of operation and ride; when comparing it with what you are now using. My mower would cut your mowing time in half or less, and the ride and operation would be totally mind boggling in comparison to what you have been accustomed.



Quote:
Originally Posted by HavnFun View Post
Thanks for your comments puppypaws. With my tractor and 72 inch mower, I am probably cutting 2 acres/hr ( yeh I'm retired). I did not image that a zero turn would cut at a speed of 14 mph and get a reasonable cut. My current zero turn probably cuts at 7 mph max. Yes rotary cutters require about 5 hp/ft of cut, but turf batwings require less. Woods says their 12 ft turf batwing hp requirement is 25 to 60. My tractor hp is 35 and perhaps marginal for powering a 12 ft mower. Thanks.
Toro has been into building commercial manicured turf mowers a very long time, and they sell the most high-end open area mowers made. Their recommendation of 5 to 6 diesel hp per foot of deck is dead on, and they are speaking of turf batwing mowers, not rotary cutters. That's not to say a 35 hp tractor will not handle a 12' batwing turf cutter; because if it turns the blades then it's handling it. The problem arises when it gets into larger, or moisture laden grass, the mower then overwhelms the tractor. I've pulled a Befco 8' trail behind turf mower over many acres with a 38 hp (draw-bar hp), and I've seen on more than one occasion where the mower was calling for more power.

I would say when cutting weekly, that yes, a 35 hp tractor can get by pulling a 12 turf cutter, but let the grass get a little size or throw moisture into the equation, and 35 hp will not operate the mower very efficiently.

I've seen more than once when a 150 hp tractor realizes a 15' John Deere rotary cutter is calling on its power, that does not mean it's not handling it perfectly, but it does mean it knows there is something requiring a great deal of power behind it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:44 AM
Lmatt57 Lmatt57 is offline
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Good info! I run all Wood"s mowers. Had the best luck with them and they seem to require less hp to run.I have run a 15" flex mower with a 35hp tractor but works it pretty hard in tall or wet grass. I use a 60hp tractor cutting bluegrasses and red fescue have no problems. I run about 6-8mph. Thanks for the Info on the Hustlers. My dealer just got a 104" Hustler in and am waiting to demo it. It's a beast! Problem you might have is finding a good used flex wing mower. I think anything you do will be expensive. I use to run a 84" finish mower on a 30hp tractor with no problems. I still like my tractors with cabs,ac,radio,and air ride seat. Note : the Hustler 104 was $26000.00.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:54 AM
ztman ztman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lmatt57 View Post
Good info! I run all Wood"s mowers. Had the best luck with them and they seem to require less hp to run.I have run a 15" flex mower with a 35hp tractor but works it pretty hard in tall or wet grass. I use a 60hp tractor cutting bluegrasses and red fescue have no problems. I run about 6-8mph. Thanks for the Info on the Hustlers. My dealer just got a 104" Hustler in and am waiting to demo it. It's a beast! Problem you might have is finding a good used flex wing mower. I think anything you do will be expensive. I use to run a 84" finish mower on a 30hp tractor with no problems. I still like my tractors with cabs,ac,radio,and air ride seat. Note : the Hustler 104 was $26000.00.
Thats what I thought Lmatt, then some of the boys pointed out you could cut just as fast with a 72 based on ground speed difference, and you could buy two seventy two inch mowers for the price of one 104. The 104s do look cool though
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