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What Mower to Purchase????

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jvrieger, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. jvrieger

    jvrieger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8


    I work at a small Christian School in Fayetteville, North Carolina and our old mower (Gravely 300, 60") went dead on us and we need a new mower. We need to mow 8 acres once a week and 4 of those 8 acres are ball fields which during the sports seasons get mowed twice a week. We have alot of Bahia grass on our property, which is hard to mow. We have alot of open property, not alot of tight spots to maneuver around, except trees and buildings.

    I wanted to know what suggestions anyone would have for a good commercial mower priced around $10,000 or below. We have been looking at the Kubuta, Deere, Snapper, and Hustler, mainly because they have dealers in the area for service. We also are considering Diesel, if that is worth the extra cost.

    Thanks in advance,:usflag:
  2. LLandscaping

    LLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,016

    We use Scag mowers. They holds hills well and with the velocity deck cut bahia well. I would look at the Turf Tiger ours have the 27 kohlers but they offer many different engines including a 25hp Kubota diesel. We have two 52's with the velocity deck and a 61 with the advantage deck. I have demoed a 61 with the velocity deck and the wider(width) velocity deck doesn't scalp near as much as our 61 advantage.
  3. DillonsLawnCare

    DillonsLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,100

    yeah, get a big scag!! they wont let you down!
  4. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    I was going to suggest a Scag Turf Tiger but didn't know how they cut Bahia. Diesels are nice but the price will go higher than your price range would indicate but they may pay for themselves in fuel savings and longevity. I understad Deere products are popular in N.C. also. I don't know how well a Hustler would cut bahia but if you went that route you need all the horse power you can get (suggest 28 efi). Wouldn't consider Snapper.
  5. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,168

    Mowing as often as you are at the lower cutting height you will be using on Bahia the Hustler Super Z will be 20% more productive than the other mowers because of speed. Now, it is a different story if you need to mow something at 3 1/2" up, you cannot utilize the speed and the TT would probably cut perfectly at 12 mph if it is as smooth as it sounds.

    I would love to show you how fast I could cut that property, you would find it hard to believe. I run a 66", 28 efi, Hustler Super Z.

    Grass Species Recommended Height

    Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) 1.5 – 4 inches
    Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) 2 – 3 inches
    Bermuda grass (Cynodon spp.) common hybrid 0.75 – 1.5 inches
    1.5 – 4 inches
    Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) 1 – 3 inches
    Centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides) 2 – 4 inches

    Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) 1.5 – 4 inches
    Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) 1.5 – 4 inches
    St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secondatum) 1 – 2.5 inches
    Supina bluegrass (Poa supina) 1 – 2.5 inches
    Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) 2 – 6 inches

    Zoysia grass (Zoysia spp.) 1 – 3 inches
  6. jvrieger

    jvrieger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8


    The closest Hustler or Scag dealer is 30 to 45 Minutes away. Is this an issue with future maintenance, or is ordering parts online a alternative option? Also are dealers more willing to reduce their prices this time of year?


  7. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    30-45 minutes away sounds close to me. Most good commercial grade mowers shouldn't need to be in the dealers very much. Even if they do all the service (oil change, grease, blade shapening etc.) what is 30 minutes to get the right mower. Who ever runs the mower should be trained (or simply read the manual) and do the grease, oil change, blade sharpening etc. You should have at least a couple of sets of blades so one set is always sharp and ready to install. I don't see you running back to the dealer over 2-3 times a year.
    Anyway any of those brands (no sure about snapper) should do a fine job for a school. I believe the Hustler Super Z cuts good at lower heights in that type grass, so should the Deere. I think after taking a demo and talking to the dealers you will have a better idea which is the best for you and your school. Dealer support would be more important than brand name in your case.

    Should be a good time of year to get a good price.
    You can order part's online at J-Thomas.com or other places. But you shouldn't have many problems in the first few years and they will be under warranty for 2 years minimum.
  8. jvrieger

    jvrieger LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I am having to put together a proposal for the two mowers that we are considering. Looks like the Kubota diesel 60" ($10,500 and zero interest finance), or the Hustler Super Z Kawaski 25 or 26 hp gas engine 60" ($7,500 with finance interest charges). A person in the church knows the Hustler dealer owner in NY.

    Question is which is the better deal?

    How do you compare the cost of fuel a diesel will use vs gas over lifetime of the mower?

    Also what about side discharge vs rear dischage vs mulching deck?

    Also, is there any concern about people under 18 operating a commercial mower in reference to insurance?
  9. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,168

    I don't know what size the Kubota diesel is but that looks like a pretty good deal to me. There is not a better engine made than a Kubota diesel and the fuel usage will be half of what the best fuel economy gas engine will be.

    There is no reason for you to even consider anything but side discharge with the large open areas you have. You just need to make sure your people are trained in which way the discharge of the mower is directed. You can put a operator controlled discharge system on the mower and close the discharge opening anytime you like to keep from blowing grass or debris anywhere you do not want it to go.

    The Kubota diesel is a great deal more fuel efficient and will last longer than the mower itself. I would go with the Kubota diesel for fuel economy and longevity.

    I would go with the Hustler Super Z and a 28 efi if I wanted more productivity and a good ride with the flex forks.

    I would say if you crunched the numbers the 28 efi with the Super Z's speed will cut just as much if not more grass with a gallon of gas as the Kubota will.
    Now you have to remember that is my opinion and neither one of us will get rich from it.

    You will need good insurance no matter if the people operating the mowers are 16 or 60.
  10. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,168

    You are in a very sandy part of the state in Fayetteville, NC aren't you? It would be considered sandy loam, not as sandy as the coastal area but still a good bit of sand in the soil, is this correct in your location?

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