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Rough cutting advice

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by Ned5485, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. Ned5485

    Ned5485 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 130

    I am putting a bid in for a large property. These fields are completely flat with a few trees lining the edges. I have never estimated how long this might take. I have a small (20HP) New Holland Tractor, but I am not sure it will be big enough for me to get these done in a reasonable amount of time.

    This is 1 of 5 fields that will be included in my bid.

    feild DEMENSIONS.jpg
  2. Ned5485

    Ned5485 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 130

    There are a total of 5 fields, and they are all rectangular like this one. All together they total just under 20 acres. The fields are only supposed to be cut once a month, so I assume I will have to cut them with a rotary cutter(Bush Hog) My tractor is small and could only handle a 48" rotary cutter, but I am not sure how fast I would be able to cut with only 20hp total.(I think 13-14hp at PTO) I have a 60 belly mower on it, but my understanding is that it takes a lot more HP to run a bush hog? And takes away from overall travel speed?

    1.) Is my tractor way undersized for a 48" cutter?
    2.) Is a 48" cutter undersized for 20 acres?
    3.) Can anybody guess on how many acres/hr (or hrs/acre) can be cut with my
    tractor and a 48" bush hog?
    4.) What size tractor would you guys recommend?
    5.) What width of rotary cutter?
    6.) What kind of time/acre could I expect with the an ideally sized set up?
    7.) If I upgrade to a tractor in the 30HP+/- range, what kind of trailer set-up
    will I need? (Is a 1/2 ton truck enough? Or should I be pulling with a 3/4
    ton? How big of a trailer will I need? Have to be Deck over? Are trailer
    brakes vital? Required by law?)

    Thanks for anyone who takes the time to help me with any or all of these questions. I would really like to be able to pick up this account, but need to know a lot of stuff before I can go much farther with my estimate. Time is pretty important as the owner is waiting.

    Thanks again,
  3. Earth and Turf

    Earth and Turf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Where in Indiana are you located. I have a 6' bushhog on a 40 horse john deere is does great. If the field is relatively smooth I can mow about 2 acres per hour. I usually charge per hour. Sometimes by the job.
  4. Ned5485

    Ned5485 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 130

    I am in Evansville. The field is as smooth as I can imagine a field getting without it becoming a "lawn". 40 HP would be great, but I dont know if my budget will allow it. I looked at a 32 JD. The whole JD line seems like the cream of the crop to me. I would like to spend as little as possible this year, and then step up for next year. A cab with A/C would be awesome!

    Do you have any idea how low I can go on HP and still be able to run a 6' effeciently?

    What is your towing situation? I am wondering about trailer size and type(does it have to be deck-over?). Got a guess on total length of tractor with the bushhog attached? Is there a secret for trailering that allows you to save room somehow by taking the bushhog off?

    And truck size(3/4? 1 ton?) Diesel?

    Any guesses on MPG when you are towing your tractor?

    While running the bushhog, any guess on gallons/acre? Or gallons/hr?

    Thanks for the input, and thanks for any extra advice/suggestions,
  5. CTS

    CTS LawnSite Member
    from Bath NC
    Messages: 16

    I have a JD3520 (4x4) with a LX5 rotary mower (5'). If it is smooth running around 1 1/2 acres/hr. Tractor is 37 hp, could run a light duty 6' in small stuff.
    20' equipment trailer to haul tractor with FEL and mower. Check around for local prices, contractor with larger mowers can mow big fields cheaper than the I can.
  6. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,808

    i have an old kubota b7100 16hp, i think 12hp pto. mine runs a 48" bush hog just fine. it cuts down trees the size of my arm. i think it takes less power to run the hog then the mower. the momentum keeps it spinning, if it slows you may need to slow a bit, but once its going, well... an object in motion tends to stay in motion. the center part is like a large flywheel, get that thing going and it takes alot to stop it

    if this is your only work for it and havent bought a bush hog yet, id consider the 5' to cut down your time. is see them for sale used around here for 500-700ish.
  7. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,808

    if your getting a larger tractor a 3/4 ton will work (may need a helper spring in the rear which nearly makes it a 1 ton), but a one ton shoudl work. my old small tractor with a 4' hog takes up an 18' trailer with the FEL on. sometime i haul it on an open 16' and hang the wheel to the BH over teh front rail, it wont fit in my enclosed 18' trailer though, its about 6" too long
  8. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    Running a bush hog takes less power than a finish mower, but the cut will be much rougher with bush hog.
    Can you use the Belly mower?

    A 3/4 ton Ford will be fine for your setup.
    Just get a Diesel.
    I prefer a 25 foot goosekneck so that you can get the tractor and all your attachments if needed on it .Trailer breaks are required by law as well as binding devices that exceed the tractors weight.

    I would say between 1.5 and 2 acres an hour would be a good estimate.

    Be careful on the once a month cuts because sometimes it may not clean up with one pass.

    My 60" ZTR will mow faster than my L3710 tractor with a 60" mower.

    Most of these tractors use very little fuel.
    Bush hog cutting I only run about 1800 rpms which equates to less than a tank a day.
    The finish mower requires more pto speed and burns more fuel.
  9. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    Your tractor is the perfect size for a 48" brush mower. It could probably handle a 60", but that may be pushing it. To stay on the conservative side, I'd figure a little over an acre an hour, depending of course on how thick the grass is and how rough the ground is. For fuel you should use less than a gallon an hour.

    For a trailer, 16' will do it (barely) but 18' or 20' is better. For a truck, with your size tractor, any brand 3/4 ton, gas or diesel will pull it easily. I pull mine with a 6.0 gas Chevy, and I can go as fast as I want to go up pretty much any hill.
  10. Ned5485

    Ned5485 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 130

    Is your 60" a rotary mower(bushhog? Is your 1.5 to 2 acres/hr with the tractor? I figured that using a properly sized bushhog would solve the "cleaning up in 1 pass" problem. Am I wrong?

    I realize a ZTR would be faster, and if I can get away with using my belly mower I would prefer it. If I used the belly mower, I could avoid having to spend $$ on more equipment and a bigger trailer. But, I am thinking cutting only once a month, a finish mower(belly, 3 point, or a ZTR) is going to get overloaded with grass that tall and thick.

    The owner only wants to pay for "once a month".

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