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Anybody use gang finish mowers with tractor?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Blind Hog, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. Blind Hog

    Blind Hog LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    This is my first post guys, great site, lots of good info.

    I already have a Ford/New Holland 3930 2wd tractor with turf tires I use around the farm. It's a 45 pto HP tractor. It can handle the gang finish mowers that are 15' wide or a little bigger, does anybody use them? Just curious. I presently use a 72" mower for my place and wish I had a bigger one. I hope to get a job that is rather large and very flat and though this might be an option. It should mow between 9 and 10.5 acres per hour assuming 4" overlap at 5 - 6 mph.

    Opinions? this mower would cost around $9000 to add to my arsenal. Maybe a large ZTR would be better?

    Thanks guys.
  2. mike lane lawn care

    mike lane lawn care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,707

    a large ZTR would be better, a heavy tractor like that can tear up the turf quickly, and your ability to turn around is severly reduced with a gang mower. a ZTR will cut great, but will also take up less apce and be lighter to tow around.
  3. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    There not in the same league.
    How can you compare a large Z to a gang cutting 15' at a time, the closest would be a WAM. A 15' gang and a WAM are both designed for large acreage that a Z could never do at a profit, if at all
  4. mike lane lawn care

    mike lane lawn care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,707

    my bad, but i was thinking about transporting a 15' wide mower, are the foldable?
  5. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

  6. They can be a bear to transport if you have to drive to the other job.
    I have seen a total of (1) tractor pulled gang mowers in operation, and the guy kept it on his own property.
    I can get about 10 acres/hour with my 16 1/2' cut and it's technically a zero turn, instant forward & reverse so I'm not wasting a lot of time on the ends. So I think your estimation is a little optimistic.
    For $9000 you're within range of a 72" diesel powered ZTR. For 2 jobs I'd consider that unless you're talking over 20 acres. I know those people with ZTR's give me a run for the money on most every bid.

  7. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,378

    Our local park district has 2 gang finishing mowers that they transport by pulling them with a tractor. They never seem to have a problem pulling them all over the city.
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    I target schools and parks.

    I've got both a Kubota 4330 with an 11' Bush Hog Tri-Deck and an 11' Toro 455-D WAM.

    The Kubota with the tri-deck takes all of a 24' trailer to haul, but it's pulled with a Dodge 2500. The Toro 11' WAM I carry in my 24' V-nose trailer with my PG Ultra spreader, Billy Goat Vac, Kubota ZD28 / 60" and soon a 36" walkbehind of some kind.

    As for tearing the turf, the tractor will, but not the mower. It's only when it's soft out from rain, or if you try turning REAL sharp.

    What I've found, is that unlike making 2 passes with the ZTR, that you have to make 3 laps around, and then do an "inverted tear-drop" turn, and then you can run right back.

    The price will probably be more about $12,000-$15,000 for a 15' Tri-deck, unless you have access to a used one.

    I know I paid about 9ish for my 11' about 4 years ago.

    It's held up well, mowing over 3000 acres in those 4 years, however, the small wheels on each deck, you have to replace all the bearings / spacers / almost whole wheel assembly every year.

    We've tried greasing them every day, greasing once / week, greasing once / month, but I think with all the water they get drug through, where it's standing on fields when you're trying to mow, that they're just not able to withstand.

    Again, I run a Bush Hog tri-deck, maybe a Progressive or other brand has better options / heavier bearings.

    I know that Progressive brought out a pull behind mower last year that doesn't really have the true 3 decks, it's much more compact, so it would save on trailer space.
  9. Blind Hog

    Blind Hog LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Thanks for the responses guys.

    Hauling this beast would be a big consideration. It would take a long trailer and a 3/4 ton truck at least.

    What is realistic for the 72" ZTR's as far as acres/hr? I know I can maintain 5 - 6 MPH on the tractor no problem, but 10 MPH or more on a ZTR constantly?

    Thanks again guys.
  10. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Depending on ground conditions, BUT about 1/2 of what you will get with a tractor. Those little bumps that you don't notice on the tractor will jar your kidneys lose on a Z. Also if the grass does get long it will take a Z longer. They have there purpose and so do the gangs, if your talking large acreage a gang was designed for it a Z was not. A Zee may do it, but could it do it in a short enough time span to be profitable?

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