Cutting with a 3 pt. Finish mower.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by keepoffthegrass, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. keepoffthegrass

    keepoffthegrass LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 212

    I currently do alot of large acre mowing for the town, school boards etc. Many of these contracts get tendered out every year or 2 or 3. Its hit and miss, sometimes you get em, the 3 yr ones justify the new mower but if you already have the equipment you can do ok on the 1 year contracts. We have a couple of big diesel Z's that are paid off.

    I would like to bid on some more property over the next couple years and dont want to have to purchase a new $15,000 mower for a bit of extra cutting. Instead I thought of getting a brand new 84" finish mower (3pt) for my 30hp bobcat tractor. This would cost me only $2500 and might get used 20 hrs a week when we are boggled down with spring grass and an extra few hours when the big Z's go down. The next year it might get zero hours a week and simply be a backup for broken down equipment. Who knows, a year later it might get 40hrs a week if we win all the contracts that specific year.

    My only question is how fast can you cut with these 3 pt mowers and is the cut quality any good at high speeds? Can I get away with this idea or should I look for a good used 72" ZTR
  2. packey

    packey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 556

    look around for a good used progressive or landpride tri deck. I think your tractor is large enough to handle the 10 ft tri deck progressive has. You can find them used fairly reasonable. under 7000

    USFGUY LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    Some of them recommend 1.5-3 MPH speeds when mowing... i have a 5 foot behind a JD 770 that probally 3-5 mph MAX slower = better cut on the rear discharge unit i have.
  4. howierd3866

    howierd3866 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 348

    putting a 10ft behind a 30 hp tractor will only cause it to be slower but should work. We do this type of work every day. What I find out is the zturn will out cut the tractor if there are some trees.But our tractor 70hp with 15ft mower will out do the zturn if its very long straight cut and such.We do both parks and ROW so there a diff. The major diff is if you got to road drive from a to b and then to c the tractor is best no on and off loading just drive.
  5. WH401

    WH401 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 571

    As said above, if there's a lot of trees than the ZT is the only way to go. If the places you cut will consist of a lot of open fields then should be able to be pretty efficient with a RFM (rear finish mower). But, when using something the size of an 84" finish mower you run into a few problems. 1, the thing is so wide that if the ground isn't perfectly flat than it will leave uneven cuts or scalp the ground. 2, depending on the weight of the mower, the thin wheels that are used on them may leave marks in the grass. On my 10 acres, I use a JD 3320 w/ a 72" Woods PRD7200 finish mower. About 85% of my property is open fields, so I'm able to move pretty quick. I'd say it takes me about 3 - 4 hours total to cut the 7 acres of grass that I have out of the 10 total acres. In long, wide open stretches, I can usually move at about 5.5 mph, which is a pretty good clip for mowing, (though not compared to a ZT), and still produce a nice cut. The most important thing (like any mower), is SHARP blades. Having the least bit of dull blades will cut your cut quality down tremendously. Another thing, there are area's where the ground is uneven, so I still have had scalping or uneven cutting issues. The way I solved that was I cut at a height of 3-3/4". At that height I usually need to cut about every 10 days, to have a nice compromise between a nice cut quality and short total cut time.

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