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JD 1600 vs. 2 Ferris 60/61'' ZTR's

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ericmcj31, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. ericmcj31

    ericmcj31 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    I am soon to be bidding a (to me) HUGE contract that will entail the bi-weekly mowing of some properties that are of great size. I haven't measured them, but most of the properties are prob. 10+ acres/each and 8 sites total. I am debating either buying a John Deere 1600 series mower (10.5' cut) or two ZTR's. My thoughts are just this:
    The JD will take a pretty good operator. It's a 40K machine, and some goof ball that doesn't know/care what the hell he's doing could screw my world up pretty easily. and the mower is a beast and it takes a pretty big area to be used effectively.

    The ZTR (nearly) anyone can use it, but still takes some skill and care; obviously would be slower than the JD. I would have to pay two people to run what the one JD would do (assuming that I am mowing the full width all the time). I can, however buy nearly 4 of the Z's to one of the JD's-but I am gonna have to pay that back in labor over a year's time.

    Now i haven't got the contract yet, but just mulling some things over in my head. And I could use the JD on other properties as well.
  2. heather lawn sp

    heather lawn sp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 681

    First question that comes to mind is why a WAM against 60 inch mowers?
    Why not 72 inch mowers? Terrain too rolling?
  3. ericmcj31

    ericmcj31 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    just 60 cuts better than 72 that's all; the 10.5' is sapposedly like floating or "rolling" with terrain
  4. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    It actually is really efficient on smaller properties too, especially if there are embankments or evergreen trees the wings can reach under.

    Bear in mind the 1600 WAM is a rear-discharge machine and thus will not stripe and leave more of a "farm" than "executive" look in terms of cut quality.
  5. wheels910

    wheels910 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    Also note the 1600 is 4wheel drive and can handle sloped mowing MUCH better than any Z could dream of. 8.5 acres per hour at 6-7 mph
  6. djchiodo3

    djchiodo3 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    The JD 1600 is one heavy mower. You will need a heavy duty trailer. I would buy two diesel ZTR's. One 60 and one 72. Make sure they come with suspension seats. Is this a Gov. or county contract? They usually require rear discharge decks. I have a friend using a 72" Dixie with 31 diesel. This machine can mow some grass in a hurry.
  7. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    It depends on how much acreage you'll be mowing.

    I just checked the specs for the JD: 126" mowing at 8.5mph. Too slow if you ask me. Transport speed is 14.5mph.

    You can get a Hustler Super Z 72" deck 31hp that goes 15 mph. Do some math and you'll find out the productivity of both machines is comparable, both near 8+ acres/hour @ 80% efficiency.

    It's a no brainer if you ask me. The JD costs $40k, is heavy and needs a special trailer, will not be used most of the time, run out of warranty with little hours. Expensive maintenance, won't do better on fuel cause it's weight and hydro powered wing decks eat energy. It will outlast a ZTR but if something goes bad like a turbo or deck drive the repair bills are steep (several grand $).

    On the other hand the Hustler would cost near $10k and do the same job. Fits on most trailers, will be used often, can have a bagger mounted and is cheap to repair. You need to find 20hrs per two weeks and it will do the 150 acres you need. It's hydro system is built for speed, I had one and most people didn't believe how much it can do in a day.

    There are other 72" ZTRs out there, but most aren't as fast. Even a ferris 72" diesel goes only 12mph, which is a shame bc of the suspension and available power. If you consider a Hustler Z (you only need one), get the most powerfull engine (31 hp Kaw), flex forks and suspended seat. These will allow you to use it's speed completely which is key to productivity.
  8. ericmcj31

    ericmcj31 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    thanks-good words, kilov!
  9. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,386

    You can only go as fast as the terrain will let you. 80+ acres, I would look into leasing a wam or a tractor with a triplex mower. If you go with a 72" ztr make sure its a diesel cause those big block gas engines drink too much fuel. My 31hp Kawasaki used 1.75 gallons a hour on my JD 850a and my 31hp Yanmar averages just under a 1/2 gallon a hour. My opinion the 60" ztrs would not be a good choice at all for this type of work.
  10. razor1

    razor1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,985

    "just 60 cuts better than 72 that's all";

    Test drive a 72 Exmark (or Scag, Hustler etc) and I think you'll be surprised at how well they cut.

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