ZTR for 5 Acres?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Timely, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. parrotfeathers

    parrotfeathers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    I've got almost 400 hours on my Kubota 227G with the 60" deck. It takes about 10 hours to mow in rough terrain and around a myriad of pecan and black walnut trees (which love to drop limbs). What I mow is green but I wouldn't call it grass except for what is immediately around the house. I change the blades at least 3 times each season and keep up with all the recommended maintenance. It is one tough machine and pasture grass doesn't stand a chance with it.
  2. shakin_jake

    shakin_jake LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    ~~~~gentleman farmer here <LOL> this summer has been hell keeping the grass cut. Probably the wettest summer the 15 years we've been in north central Fla. We've been using a 62" Toro (ZTR) for the last 10 years. We have around 9 acres of grass we've cut with it but the past few years, 3 of those acres we let go fallow so I'd say we're cutting 6 acres anyways. 4 acres is a horse paddock and we have another 3 acres out back I'm not counting as we don't use the ZTR to cut it when I cut it. We usually leave that for the hay guy, and he regulary takes the rest of the grass at the end of the year to keep up with the green exemption

    But back to your questions. yes, I'd say buy a ZTR if you plan on keeping up with the grass. ZTR's are finish mowers so if you are only going to cut occasionally, then a bush hog (or something else) is better. We have a 45 PTO HP tractor with a 72" bush hog but ever since the ZTR came about, we don't use the bush hog for grass cutting, unless it's heavy grass out back. the tractor is used more for pulling out the driveway

    IMO, you use a ZTR if you are going to keep your grass cut to a certain height *all the time*. They'll generally cut no higher than 5" as far as height goes. We keep everything here cut to 3.5 inches. the horse paddock could go to 4.5 inches, even 5" or 5.5" but we have two horses and it's better for their hooves to keep the grass shorter

    About your pasture grass...all I use to cut ours is the ZTR. A ZTR will be much quicker vs. using something like a bush hog/tractor. But, you will have far more maint. to perform on your ZTR. Make sure you can lift the deck up so you can get under it with a scraper to remove wet grass. We use a 3" scraper and clean the deck every day before mowing, or after mowing

    You can also think about buying used. I'd guess our machine is worth about $3K now,. it's 10 years old, and because we only use it for our property, the hours on it are low. About 1200 I'm guessing w/o going out and looking at the hour meter

    FWIW, the ZTR we have is liquid-cooled, carb model. At the time we bought it, we could have gone with an air-cooled which is fuel injected. I wanted liquid-cooled but looking back, we should have gone with the air-cooled. It was a grand less <$$$>, faster/higher blade tip speed, more fuel efficient, but at the time, gas was inexpensive, comparatively, and also, we had to buy a new carb last season as our lousy fuel crummed up the OEM carburetor

    If you can afford it, go with a diesel mower. Kubota comes to mind. You didn't mention having a dealer near to you though. With a diesel, you'll never have an issue with fuel + the fuel companies will deliver to you, then you wont have to schlep gas in the back of your truck. Diesel fuel storage tanks aren't costly and worth it in the long run

    Getting back to your pastures...you mentioned debris in the field. If you use a ZTR, you'll want to pick everything up first IMO, and again...I wouldn't use a ZTR if I wasn't cutting it regularly, that is if the grass in TX grows like it does around here. The locals call it ba-hay-ah...it's Pensacola Bahia and grows like mad when it rains. This summer we're cutting just about every where every 3 days, so long as it isn't raining

    Hope this helps
  3. farmershawn

    farmershawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Pffff....on those pasture weeds. Mow'em down. :weightlifter:

    I can buzz my cow pastures as quickly as the ground quality will allow. No issues.

    Now that I did the first "creep through" mow of the really ridiculous stuff (4-5+ feet tall), the second mow (just completed) was an absolute breeze.

    I have hit some pretty decent size tree branches, thumb-thick or a bit better, they generally get pulverized. My pastures are pretty cleaned-up. I make (gigantic) burn-piles regularly, no major debris gets left hanging around. I have basically "walked" most of my pastures that I mow. Throwing any debris into my trailer/ATV and hauling to a pile.

    I run right over any small bushes, weeds or plants less than 1/2" of an inch thick or so at the base. Chops, pulverizes, and spits it out. Like the clumps of crab-apple volunteers that love to pop up.

    I have bounced the deck off a few hidden tree stumps. Oops. No damage.

    Bottomed-out once pretty hard, pilot error (5" and 1" are right next to each other on the Kubota height dial, LOL). Loosened up the central blade. Had to remove the blade, and the spindle cover. Cleaned it all out, put it all back together, and went right back to mowing.

    The Kubota is built like a proverbial bank-vault-tank. I just don't think I can get enough speed in the rougher patches to (really) hurt it.

    One thing I would like is a higher setting on the mower. It goes from 1-5 inches. A six or seven inch high-setting would be great for pastures.

    As is, I am very happy with the "mowed" look in my pastures vs "bush-hogged." I think my cows like it too. Wife loves it.

    I'll go take some pics to show you what I've been mowing. ;)
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  4. Timely

    Timely LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I probably should in general keep the ZTR out of the fields. We have a choose & cut Christmas tree farm, so we have customers roaming around in the field at Christmas time, and it would be nice to have it finish mown. The problem would be the debris. We shear the trees twice a year, which means there are a lot of small branches on the ground. It's 10 acres and about 10,000 trees, so going through picking up all those little branches would not be the best use of time. Maybe after we brush hog it, we could use the ZTR. I'd have to see how well the brush hog pulverized everything first!

    I looked at Kubota, but the model in my price range is the Kommander. It's not diesel, and in general from my reading here, I don't think it would be a good choice for us. My husband is definitely a Kubota guy, though. We have 2 Kubota tractors!
  5. Timely

    Timely LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    FarmerShawn, you sound like you mow like I do....Dam* the torpedos! Full speed ahead!
  6. farmershawn

    farmershawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Yes m'am. I'm pretty sure I am a torture-test for any machinery.

    I prefer to buy good stuff (pre-owned), beat it to death, maintain it religiously, and keep it for years. (I'm the original owner of a 20-year old car I would take on a cross-country trip, AC blowing, stereo going, tomorrow. Not a single worry.)

    For fun, I just typed in "zero turn", "farm & garden" section, on Houstons Craigslist. :)

    Lazer Z, $5,500, 175 hours.


    Toro diesel, "low hours", $4,900.


    Gravely 260 (?), 800 hours, $3,500.


    Lazer Z, 72 hours, $5,200.


    John Deere 757, 320 hours, $4,250.


    Bad Boy Outlaw, 2011 model, no hours listed, $5,000.


    Toro Z-Master, 174 hours, $4,800.


    John Deere 737, 403 hours, $5,300.


    Cub Cadet, CAT diesel, 84 hours, $5,900.


    I don't know if all of those would suite your needs, but they are all units that I would do research on. Figure out if they are enough mower, good quality, etc...

    I'm *guessing* those are Kubota Kommander prices, or darn close to them.

    You can always make them a cash offer. I could not get my Seller to budge much, but he asked $5,700 for my Kubota, and I got him to move to $5,500.

    When shopping, I was comparing prices with Tractor House (dot com) to check the "dealer price used". I used Compact Tractor Review and Lawnsite to check if the zero-turn was worth buying.


    Good luck whatever you decide.

    I am going to take some pics of my mowing areas this evening to give you an idea of what my Kubota has cut through (and been subjected to).

    Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
  7. tboyle21

    tboyle21 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Depends on what you want to spend. Buy all of the mower you can afford.

    Have 3 1/2 acres of semi-hilly property around our home. Generally mow about 2 acres on a weekly basis. Bought a big box tractor, which was falling apart. Knew I needed a commercial ZTR. Pulled the trigger in Feb 2005 for a Scag Tiger Cub, now called Turf Tiger. I had a hard time spending $ 6K for a "lawn mower". Last summer started mowing 7+ acres of bush hog type land, rough but I just slow down. Rough turf doesn't bother the mower it is more than I can take sometimes, even with a cut height of 5". Great investment, wish I had done it sooner. Saved countless hours and have a great cut.
    There are many good choices out there. If you can justify a big, bad mower do it. I'm a 65 year old retired guy so my time may be worth less than yours so speed doesn't matter to me. I'll probably die with my Scag.
  8. farmershawn

    farmershawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    My front lawn. ;)

    Two (2) passes both ways about a week ago. Wanted a clean area around my hay-bales.

    It's 36-inches to the top of that fender.
    That scruffy bushy-looking-thing at the front of the ATV is volunteer clumps of crab-apples. That stuff was basically covering all that foreground where it looks sparse. It's been mowed twice. The first time with two passes. The second mow was all one pass.
    To the immediate left foreground with the ATV is what the whole field looked like. In the distance on the left is the first mow, two passes. On the right is the first mow two passes, second mow one pass.

    Foreground is where I cannot mow due to 12-inch deep tractor ruts. Left side distance mowed once, two passes. Right side mowed once with two passes, a second mowing with one pass.
    Closer up, left side vs. right side.
    Front of barn area. First mow two passes. Second mow, one pass.
    This is what the entire area in front of the barn looked like. This the edge of my pond by the barn.
    When I was mowing in front of the barn, wifey was watching from our back-porch. I kept "disappearing and reappearing" in the weeds. Wife was amused.
    To the left my hay pasture. To the right the lawn area. That entire strip to the left of the the treeline was pasture a couple weeks ago.
    The beast.

    Just wanted to give you an idea of what-all you could mow with a commercial grade zero-turn.

    Obviously I think you should *consider* a bigger, brawnier pre-owned zero-turn.

    As the gentlemen above stated "buy as much mower as you can afford."

    Let us know what you decide.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  9. The Don'z

    The Don'z LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    I wouldn't go with the silver eagle, I have the Classic 60" (Industrial) it's a much heavier duty machine, I cut thick and long grass all the time, over grown lots and acreage, and the Industrial model has a 2000 lb, towing capacity.

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