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help with 100acre estimate

michael bucher

LawnSite Member
we have been asked to bid on the mowing of apprx. 100 acres of rough turf. Bi-wkly cutting, with 2-3 of our 60" sitdowns. I've got some ideas, but would like to hear some other opinions first. Thanks!


LawnSite Senior Member
Michael, you should be able to cover approximately 8 to 9 acres per hour with 3 60" riders, so subsequently it's going to be a very full day of mowing. It's been my experience that these large acreage contracts don't pay as well as smaller ones, however they don't usually have much, if any, trimming involved. I've been mowing a small airport for several years and it doesn't pay as well as many of my smaller sites. Bottom line, if it's not too rough you should be charging in the neighborhood of $20/acre or around the $2000.00 figure per cut. If you try to charge much more they will probably get a tractor and batwing mower to do it for a lot less. My thoughts, Lynn


LawnSite Senior Member
Mike<p>Do you realize how big 100 acres is? I would suggest you go for a multi year contract, then either buy a 30hp or bigger tractor w/ PTO and hook a 15' multi deck behind. If you can't get a multi year contract, look into leasing a tractor to fit this size job.<p>With a 60&quot; mower I estimate you are looking at about 68 man/hours and you probably have to charge about $2,500.00/mowing to make it worth your while with undersized equipment. Someone with the proper equipment should easily underbid you.<p>Good luck


LawnSite Member
ne Pa
I'll get to you before Larry. If you can leave the equipment there. How about an old 8N ford tractor and Jacobsen Blitzer Reels about 22ft wide. Total equipment 4000.00 Consult turfquip.com under golf course equipment. Should take one guy 4 to 5 hours.<br>You didn't say anything about quality or terrain


LawnSite Gold Member
My question would be how will it affact your schedule? I don't like to invest that kind of time in to one job, really could get you behind on more profitable things.


LawnSite Senior Member
you could probly find someone that is in school or retired to work 1 day a week on sat. cutting the air field then you wouldnt jeprodize your other accounts.<p>----------<br>CJC Landscape Management<br>Winter Haven, Florida

Nilsson Associates

LawnSite Member
I used to mow a rough area of about 40 acres and found the problem was with terrain, couldn't seem to keep the mower deck wheels on the ground because of rocks, depressions and so on. Used a woods deck PTO setup, behind a John Deere 950 ended up mowing with it raised about 10 inches off the ground, to avoid the rocks, depressions and high spots hidden under the grass ...took forever, couldn't make fast ground speed at all. Converted the contract from fixed ... to straight hourly .. nobody else wanted to risk their equipment so we continued the work hourly. <p>Phil Nilsson


LawnSite Bronze Member
morristown, nj
If you want some advice trust me...I work at a airport and mow approximately 100 acres. There are many things you need to think about for this. First of all, how rough is the terrain. Surrounding our airfield we have fields that are everything from rocky, to bumpy, to wet. We use a case 5130 (4wd with 90 hp) to pull a 20ft shulte batwing. To mow the entire field can take upwards of 2 weeks in the beginning of the season and usually about 4 days later on. I could not imagine doing the entire job with such small equipment. The fields are abusive and even bend blades on our large deck. I could see a lot of abuse on those little machines and a lot of costly repairs. Second of all, what is the airports classification. If it is a 139 airport the grass needs to be kept at certain height requirments. What this means is that when you get done mowing one pass, the grass may already need to be mowed again on the other end. We have gone for a month non stop sometimes during fast grow periods.<br>Usually the grass needs to be kept below 3-4 inches due to regulations. A third problem is if you are mowing around any runway/taxiway lights and along the edge of the runway. At my airport we have lights that are 100 ft apart ( the runways have lengths of 6000 and 4000 ft ) and 10 ft off the runway. We have two toro 325 d ground masters with 72 inch decks to mow around the lights and along the runway. On a good week, it takes 3-4 days for these mowers to take care of these lights and runway edges. If the grass gets ahead of me on these edges, it becomes a real bear to mow. Sitting on those little mowers doing less than one mile an hour in tall grass for mile stretches is not fun. Finally, if the airfield has a control tower and you are a outside contractor, you may need to be excorted around the airfield. This could be very time consuming also. We have aircraft radios in all our equipment so we can talk directly to the aircraft controller. If you don't, you may be sitting around and waiting for airport operations to escort you from one side of the field to the other, which is something that operations doesn't just hop on. <p>Since i started at the airport after the equipment was purchased, i Had no say in what to buy. However, if it was up to me i would change a few things. I would probably ditch the bad wing and invest in a large flail mower set up. Alamo has a model called the INTERSTATER that is 3 flail mowers attached to the rear of a tractor (say 90 hp) that give a cutting width of 20 ft. They use thes e at newark airport by me are our good machines. Also, because the side flails can be raised, I could use the same machine for the edge of the runway, and only need the 72&quot; groudmasters for a few tightspots. <p>Overall, though, If you want to do the job i would, without a doubt, think of investing in some sort of tractor setup. Those little mowers may work, but at the end of the year they may be in pieces. <p>Hope to be of some help. If you have any other questions, just ask.<p>Steveair

John Deere

LawnSite Member
I guess I just wanted to add that the comment by Parkwest (I think) is about as real as it gets. Do you realize how big 100 acres is? That is the size of our farm in Ill. All that can really be said about mowing 100 acres is you better be getting paid handsomely because it will take you a long time and you will just almost have to have a tractor with a very big deck. We mow with 2 John Deere Z-Tracks with 60&quot; decks and it takes us 3 hours to mow about 4-5 acres. Just something to think about. Good Luck!