Recommend Search for a mower fit for acreage work

Discussion in 'Building DIY, Machinery & Tools' started by Ash, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    A thought on petrol run motors: the Toro mower I bought is still in service and I was given a replacement ZTR mower called Simplicity. 50" deck, 20hp Vanguard motor. The grass was so thick in the back yard that on full throttle the mower stalled on me a number of times, even at a snail's pace moving forward into the grass. Guess it was left to go a little long.

    Going around trees is a breeze but it can be a struggle to control on inclines because there is no automatic adjustment of steering - power to each wheel is completely based on the hand controls. So it takes some intuition to navigate the hills. It is a great mower for relatively flat ground with trees. I'll be comparing it to the Toro when it arrives most likely this weekend.
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Was your deck raised high enough because if your mower is stalling it's usually due to the mulching system being overwhelmed by mowing too short. If raising your deck made little difference then it was likely the mower motor was not outputting the Hp required for the job. Hopefully, your Toro will be better.

    Yes, you will find the zero turn mowers need some getting used to on slopes but for a large area you can't beat them - check out how many council dudes you see mowing the verges around Toowoomba on a 50 inch tractor - not many and that's for good reason! :D
     
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  3. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    The cutting height was as low as it should have been Mark. The grass in many patches was clearly too thick for the mower to get through in one pass so I had to raise the deck to the parked height for driving around just so I could get through those patches. With the blades running at the higher deck height, this allowed me to use the mower at this higher setting for one pass, then follow up with a second pass at the lower setting. I still had to take it slow through these patches as the thickness was just too much for the mower, but I did get through it after some careful negotiations.

    I do find the zero turns quick manageable and definitely faster both in speed and in getting around trees. So they're still a no brainer for me in a multi-acre area.
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Sounds like that fill in mower lacks a bit of power then Ash.

    I'd say you'll notice a fair difference in cutting when you get your Toro but all mowers will labour a bit through the thick stuff to be honest.
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Yeah. I don't expect them to get through thick Kikuyu grass in one pass but a little more grunt would be great. I'll give feedback when the Toro arrives.
     
  6. Codger

    Codger Member Premium Member

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    A few thoughts as an ex mowing contractor.
    As your property develops with more nooks and obstacles the more you will appreciate the ZTR.
    A thick kikuyu lawn as about as hard work as it gets for a mower. Most grasses are best not cut too short but kikuyu should be progressively cut short. It is a lot easier to progressively get grass under control with say one weekly cuts.
    Side discharge is easier on the mower than mulching and can look as neat.
    A mower is a cutting tool and needs sharp blades.
    Air cooled engines really don't like working hard on a hot day and internal temperatures can easily climb.
     
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  7. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Great advice mate. Thank you. The cooling was something I hadn't considered. Yes, I recognise the challenge thick grass has on any mower. The created cuttings are reasonably good if the grass isn't too thick, which I've found leads to clumping and needing a rake afterwards.
     
  8. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Ash that mower probably did horse paddocks & farm headlands at the uni which were covered in 6ft tall grass.
    The fact that it is still a goer is testament to it's durability!
    The thing with mowers is that for the most part all the parts are repairable/replaceable for a price.
    It depends what price you are prepared to suffer as to where you draw the line.
    I use a JD 110 42cm cut with heavier blades because that is all I can afford & I manage to do the horse paddocks at a pinch & the lawns by taking care to not thrash it.
    You will always find stones with a mower. It's what they do best:p
    It mostly boils down to how well you learn to manage the thing without thrashing it or bogging it down in tall or thick grass that eventually breaks the shafts & spindles or belts or chains or whatever drives the deck.
     
  9. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for those tips. Definitely helpful. I didn't realise parts wore down from flogging mowers in thick grass. Makes me wonder the longest I could leave the grass to grow before mowing it. My wife is already too daunted with the process from getting it running to getting it to cut grass. I guess it'll be left to me to do, when I can.
     
  10. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    You get it running and set to go, get her on, give her a glass of wine and go, she'll have a great time :cheers:

    Note: A drink bottle full of wine might be more practical
     
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  11. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Well I've had to have a change of plans with the ZTR mower.

    The Toro 60" fabricated deck was too heavy for my wife to manage lifting on and off the resting platform. It is also a rough ride that can only be overcome by running it flat out, which means either 17km/h or stop. Too dangerous for the finer details I have to take care of between trees and fence posts. Another thing to scare off my wife.

    So we settled for a Simplicity with 50" pressed deck. Its deck is much easier to negotiate and has a much smoother ride. It has less grunt (only 20hp) but as long as I don't let the grass get out of hand then it should be able to cut reasonably well. It also has a catcher that I can find a use for in dumping the clippings into the paddock for the animals we will eventually have to feed.

    And the wifey can safely and happily get into the mower with that bottle of wine...
     
  12. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Good to hear you settled on a mower Ash :twothumbsup:
    You'll be an acreage self-sufficiency pro in no time!
     
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  13. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    The Simplicity mower is definitely more forgiving than the larger commercial mowers (such as the Toro I compared it to), and the extra feature of the attachable blower and rear catcher is a bonus for keeping the clippings for livestock, and for keeping the yard looking neater after a mow. The only issue with the catcher being on the mower is that it is hard to manoeuvre around walls especially if there are times when you need to turn whilst mowing beside one. The back hits everything as the mower turns, making it prone to damaging both the catcher and the wall. Unfortunately, the attachment is also hard and finicky for a non-mechanically minded person like me to detach and put back on, making me feel like I should just keep it on the mower full time, and put up with the regular dumping of clippings.
     
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