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Anyone ever downsize their deck size?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dbear, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. dbear

    dbear LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    Tried posting this in the Homeowner’s Forum, but didn’t get many responses.

    I’m thinking of replacing my venerable Ransomes 61" three-wheeler currently used to maintain a 1.5 acre, 12 mature treed, lot with a ztr. Reasons being (1) age of Ransomes is beginning to be a concern with regard to unit reliability and also parts availability, (2) greater ease at adding collection unit, preferably a clam shell type, for spring/fall cleanups (did I mention the 12 mature trees?), (3) as I will be adding another 1.5 acre lot to my mowing responsibilities (mom-in-law), easier transport with full-size pickup, and (4) possibly cutting down on mowing time.

    According to my calculations (see Productivity formula below), my mower at max speed (6 mph) and 80% efficiency can cut right around 3 acres/hour, although in practice it usually take me about 1 hour to mow my property (is it possible to only be getting 40% efficiency?). A 48" ZTR at 9 mph and 80% can cut around 3.5 acres/hour.

    Now my questions:
    1. Do these numbers sound right?
    2. What is a realistic cutting ground speed with a commercial ztr (looking at CC Tanks with 12 mph max)?
    3. Price is definitely an issue, hence the 61" to 48" comparison; I would like to get the most bang for my buck, and still get a heavy commercial unit. If going with a 48" ztr, will I miss 12" of mower deck, or should I try, at all cost, to step up to a 54" ztr?

    Productivity = ((Deck Width (in)/12 * Ground Speed (mph)*Ft per Mile) / ft^2 per acre) * Efficiency (%)
    Ft per mile = 5280
    ft^2 per acre = 43559.66

  2. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    I went from a 60" ZTR to 52" ZTR's and have actually picked up speed on lots around 10k. Not a good comparison, but the 52" gets in closer and now I have less trimming.

    You might consider this if you do have a lot of trimming because of your old mower. If your happy with the amount of time it takes to service your lawn now then you will probably be ok with the smaller mower just because of the faster ground speed. But if you would like to spend less time then naturally the 60" would be best if you don't have a lot of trimming like mentioned above.
  3. The landscaper

    The landscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    I was thinking of the same thing today. I noticed my 61 seems to scalp a lot of areas that are uneven. Thought a 52 may help that out.
  4. Willofalltrades

    Willofalltrades LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,000

    Does grass grow with all them trees? (lol, Kidding). I would say the cub would be more than enough for your situation. I was looking at them myself and liked them. Keep in mind you will mow around 7-8 mph you will only go 12mph when you are transporting it to the grass from your garage. I think with the trees and the fact that you only are doing 1 1/2 acres you should get the 48 inch and save your money. Although the 54" is only 1 or 2 hundred more. As for catcher? Yea I have a relative in the same situation and I used to dred it when the leaves fell. I have a Walker mower to handle the leaves this year so I'm not sweating it anymore. Maybe look at a Walker. The only big down fall is they can get pricy. www.walkermowers.com
  5. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 811

    I use only 52" and I was thinking of adding another mower and looking at a 61". I used a 61" as a loaner and I did notice it scalped in places. It saves a little time but I didn't like the cut.

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