I have never used a flail mower before, but I am starting to be a pretty big fan of them lately.
A friend came and saw me and wanted to know if I wanted to operate a side boom mower for mowing the sides of the road for a few towns. He did not have anyone he could spare, and figured it was something I could do. So I said yes, and have been mowing the sides of the road these last few days. It is kind of tricky to mow 16 feet away from you, always watching out for stuff to avoid like telephone poles, trash, rocks, stumps and trees. But the maintenance is a cinch. When the mower seems to struggle, I take out some cotter pins and replace the knives that are dull. It is fast and easy.
I am pretty impressed, I can mow off saplings and grass, and yet when I hit a rock, there is no damage because the knives are held in place by centrifugal force, and not ridged like a bushog. I have replaced 10 knives in 11 hours, and hit a kids bike, (3) tires and rims, a dozen rocks, a 55 gallon drum, and a skidder cable.
I can see where they are superior to a rotary mower though, in what they cut, how they cut, and in how they do not throw trash at you when they hit something.
Burl Smith wrote:Yes, but a side boom bush hog will trim under the electric fence if you have a mind to.
I am not sure I could with the mower I am using, as it is pretty big.
I do appreciate the way my friend set the tractor up though. The mower is designed to be on a 40 HP tractor, but he bought a 120 HP 4X4 tractor instead. This makes the tractor pretty sure footed, and makes it almost impossible to flip over when the boom mower is extended all the way out. It also has a massive counterweight, and also a rear flail mower too so I can mow 12 feet wide in a single pass with both mowers going. Its a lot to handle at once, but lets me mow the inslope ditch line in a single pass, then on the second pass, get out another 6 feet with the boom mower, getting the outslope of the ditch. Sometimes I have to do a third pass, but most of the time, 18 feet wide puts me at the treeline.
This is really close to what I do, except I have a boom mounted flail mower, instead of the rotary cutter, ditch mower. But the rest of it is the same...complete isolation, Maine Roads, all alone, just me and my machine, mowing the sides of the road for hours upon hours, days upon days, and weeks upon weeks, but I get paid well, and I am on a tractor all summer making tall grass short, so it is not that bad.
I am sub-contractor, so I do not get paid until the job is done for each town, which takes about two weeks, then a week until I get my check, but my friend has asked if I want to buy the tractor, and the contracts, and I am thinking about it, as it as its a nice custom hire job for my farm income. And it would give me a 120 HP 4X4 tractor to use on the farm, but I am not sure.
I have said so before and I will proudly say it again, the flail mower is the best mower you can get.
I can’t believe that it took me so long to find this thread, but your experience with the side mounted flail mower mirror my experience with a mere 48” flail mower I pulled behind my jd2305 subcompact tractor. My experience was that it could mow almost any vegetation and leave it looking manicured.
Personally, I used paddle blades which are dull but flat and are intended as a sort of all purpose blade. One summer I did all my mowing with the flail mower. I mowed my yard, trails, and part of my woods with the same mower. It was far more maneuverable than the bush hog as it only protruded about 2’ out as opposed to the 6’ of the bush hog—and for the same cutting width!
I sold my 2305 and all my implements to my neighbor last year so for the moment I lack a flail mower. But this is the next implement (and likely the last one too) that I intend to buy for my new JD 2038r.
Congratulations on getting your hands on a flail mower, I think you will never look back after getting one.
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