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A dilemma

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Pax, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. Pax

    Pax LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hey all,

    I would appreciate any thoughts from any and all here.

    Here's a conundrum (my word of the day, lol) that I am faced with. Last fall my JD F525 of 20 years finally had the kawasaki in her give up. With the deck as worn as it is, I feel that a rebuild/replacement would be a waste of time and money. I have been mowing my acreage with this for 20 years, starting out at about 2 acres when I bought it and that has grown to almost 7 acres that I now keep mowed. I have been looking a ztr's all winter and almost pulled the string on one of the three I was looking at. JD 425 residential, JD 727, or a Kubota ZG23. Now that's not too bad a decision to make, but as spring approached some new developments have me rethinking my purchase.

    The town I live next to has just passed a "no long grass" bylaw (because of fire concerns) for all of the empty lots in the town. These lots number about 100 or so. These lots range in size form 2 to 4 acres (yes I am in the west) and have only been mowed for hay or had a horse or two on them in the past, and so are quite neglected (to say the least). I had a councilman discuss with me the need for a "rough cut" business to offer their services to all the land owners to keep them from being fined and then charged outrageous amounts by the town to mow their lots for them. Anyway, he hinted rather strongly that they would put their support behind me, if I were to make this service available.

    1) As these lots only need keep their grass to a maximum of 6" I presume that there would be 3 to 4 mowings during our mowing season.

    2) These lots are rough and a finish mowing is not needed or expected.

    3) I am needing a mower for my 7 acres, part of which is lawn, part of which is rougher cut (ditch banks etc)

    As a result of these thoughts, If I decide to "step up to the call" I would no longer consider a ztr as they would be too rough in these lots. (or would they?) I would then look at 2 different options:
    1) A compact utility tractor (JD 2305, NH TZ25, MF GC2400) with either a midmount or 3 point mower of 64-72 inch. Put a loader on it (for moving posts and junk during the 1st mow) and a tiller as well for those that would like a plot tilled.
    2) A self powered bush hog (or similar) behind a quad.

    Or just go with my first thoughts, and ignore this opportunity, and get a ztr for my 7 acres.

    I have managed several businesses over the years and do have a clue as to what in entailed in dealing with clients, maintenance of equipment, dong the book work and collection of payment and paying the bills.

    And oh ya, I have 2 responsible high school aged sons to help with the work. (or should I say, give them something to keep them out of trouble)

    So please, have your say. Should I? shouldn't I? Which mower? any and all ideas will be welcome.

  2. mybowtie

    mybowtie LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 683

    I think u anwered your own Q. as to which mower u need. You need to figure out IF u want to start the ruff cut biss, or not. Might be able to make alot of
    $ if ya do. Do u and your sons have the time, or WANT to spend the time neded?
  3. Ford850

    Ford850 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    I went through a similar scenario with my mowing area increasing and my old F525 getting tired. I tried several ZTRs and a couple were more than capable of mowing the true lawn areas, as well as doubling as a brush hog in my field lanes, orchard, waterways, etc. I was too used to a front mount mower though, and decided on a Grasshopper ZTR front mount. It works better than midmounts on contours and is great under trees. It also trims much better. I liked the Scag and Grasshopper midmounts for durability, but if you have a Bad Boy dealer close to you, then check them out too. I have tractors and a brush hog too so I know how they compare to a "lawn mower", but these newer ZTRs are beasts and are built to mow. If it were me, I would buy a big ZTR mid or front mount. With a suspension seat it will ride better than the tractor too.
  4. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    what Ford said^^^. :)
  5. Pax

    Pax LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Thanks to the responses I have had so far. I would have a good look at both the Scag and Grasshopper lines of front mounts but my closest dealer for both of these is 2.5 - 3 hrs away and makes this almost an impossibility. I do have a walker dealer that has a front mount. Unfortunately, the only model he has there is a small unit that would be a very rough ride. Not sure what walker has for larger units. I too like the tractor units for the ability to put a blade on and move some snow in the winter time and make some money cleaning out drives and sidewalks, etc.

    Has anyone used a front mount mower to move snow? I know some of them say they can do it. Just how well is the question?

    Anyone with a tractor preference? Are they all pretty well the same and capable? Or does one stick out above the rest?

    As for wondering if I want to take the time or energy to take on this business, my youngest son (16) is very eager to do this (here at the start anyway) My oldest son ( I actually have 5 sons, and it is my two youngest that would be around to give me some help) anyway, my oldest read this thread and siad, "Dad, that's exactly the question you need to ask yourself. Do you want to do this?" If so, I should get the proper tools for the job.

    Thaks again for any input or suggestions

  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I've taken my Warrior finish mower out in the rough before, with a deck setting of 6" in the locked raised position it does all right even in wooded areas but I did bend a blade at one point and all in all I would have to agree this isn't as good an idea as it might sound like.

    But it was fun while it lasted heheh
  7. Razorblades

    Razorblades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,251

    Do you think that you would need 4WD capability very often? If so, have you thought about the 4WD articulating tractors with a variety of available attachments? There are at least 3 manufacturers of these , that I know ofand they are: Ventrac, Steiner, and Power Trac. They offer out front decks up to at least 72". They are pretty versatile, having all of the quick mount attachments. Pricewise, I'm not sure how they compare, but they might be a viable option for you. Check out their websites when you can, before you dismiss them. Razorblades.
  8. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Check into the Gravely or ExMark out front unit.
    Both are available in either 60" or 72", gas or diesel and I believe both have blades for snow plowing as well.
    I have times mowing rough terrain with a FF 1233 compact utility tractor against a Gravely 25hp mid mount Z and the Gravely was as fast in grasses up to two feet tall as the tractor plus the mowing looked better.
    However, if there is a bunch of stumps, debris, what have you, the tractor with the loader is the way to go.

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