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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I am faced with my first purchase of a tractor/mower and would like to ask for your opinions. Here is my situation:

- 25 acres of rolling ground with slopes (5 to 15%, with only a couple of areas a bit steeper to a maximum 20%)

- I will need to mow almost monthly during the season, in order to mechanically control aggressive blackberry shoots (the blackberry was set back with a Gyro Trac GT 25 and new shoots will need to be mowed as soon as they get to be about a foot high, and this will be repeated until the blackberry root system will be exhausted)

- I assume I'll be out there at least 5 hours at a time, 5 times a season, for the next 5+ years

- this season the entire 25 acres are an open field, but starting next season there will be rows of plants spaced about 13 feet apart

- the tractor will be used primarily to mow, although I could also use one with a loader to ferry things around the property when I will be planting my trees (the trees themselves, their stakes and protection tubes), and I could use it to pull a trailer with a 275 gallon tote for watering the trees (but this could be done with a pick-up truck as well)

I should also add that I am mechanically-impaired, so I would prefer to deal with simpler systems and with those under warranty (which means that I'll have to buy new equipment). Thank you for any suggestions you might be able to offer.
Dan
Portland, Oregon
 

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Snapper Lover
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First thought that comes to mind would be a CUT like a Kubota, JD or something similar. That's a lot of mowing and you will want to be bush hogging it. You will find that having a loader is irreplaceable once you have it. If it were me I would be wanting to pull the water with the tractor. Personal preferance but I find it easier.

T.C.
 

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Welcome to the forum! :Welcome1: I second the suggestion for a CUT (Compact Utility Tractor) or even a Utility Tractor with 4WD to handle your slopes. Is there any row width requirements for your farm? If not, then I would go to the largest tractor/rotary cutter combination you can afford. :)
 

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I would also have to agree with the suggestion of a CUT or Utility Tractor with Brush Hog.
 

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There's no question that the minimum tractor would be a CUT for that much acreage. I would be looking at something in the 45 hp range such as Kubota, Deere, New Holland Boomer etc. All are available with a decent loader and 4 wheel drive which is essential with a loader. The Bush Hog mower will certainly slash down anything in its path but it certainly doesn't give you the look of a lawn when you finish cutting. If you want the property to look groomed, then you might consider a seven or eight foot finishing mower to mount on the three point hitch and start cutting a bit more often to keep the blackberry chopped off much lower. Something to think about.
 

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whiskeykilo
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My first thought is that you may be optimistic about how long it will take you to mow your 25 acres while dodging "plants" on 13' centers. A reasonable approach may be to size the cutter to make two passes beetween rows with some overlap; e.g. 7' width. If three passes is acceptable, then 5' allows you to go smaller on the tractor but take longer to mow. Size the tractor when you settle on the type and size of cutter. Or, if want to, just do a cost-benefit analysis to support the best business decision. Have you considered a flail mower? (see: http://www.grounds-mag.com/mag/grounds_maintenance_mowing_gets_rough/)

As others have commented, I agree with the 4WD and loader based on my earlier history on the Oregon coast.
 

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JD RULES
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Hi Dan , :Welcome1:

It sounds like you don't live on this property , so is there a Pole Building
there to store this Tractor or will you be Trailering it there ???

Later,x595
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you very much to all of you for your input. To answer a couple of questions:

x595: you are correct, I do not live on the property, and to store the Tractor+mower I would have to either have a pole building quickly built, or to strike a deal with my next door neighbor to store it on his property.

Speaking of the next door neighbor: he has a 35 hp Tractor with a 5 foot Woods rotary mower. He has offered to mow my property, and I am trying to figure out what I should offer to pay him. He would not charge professional rates, but I would not want to insult him by offering too little. (Any opinions on this point?)

However, I am also tempted to take advantage of the various deals offered on new Tractors -- and to have my very own 'toy', as you can all relate.

whiskeykilo: since I wrote the initial post (in which I estimated the time necessary to mow the 25 acres at 5 hours), I have realized that it will be more like 10 to 12 hours. Your point about the cost-benefit analysis is very interesting, indeed.

As for the flail mower: the two neighbors (who both have rotary mowers) have said that flail mowers are (1) too expensive to maintain (all the sharpening), and (2) too expensive to purchase. They didn't see the need. However, I would like the property to look nicely groomed, eventually. I'm not sure if I can get that only with a flail mower, or if I could do it with a finish mower like Caseguytoo indicates.

JDFanatic: the young trees will be planted every 13 feet within the row, with 26 feet between the rows, but an additional row will be inserted in the middle in the third year.
 

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That situation for me would call for a commercial grade zero turn. Should be able to handle the slopes and can cut fast.

Or articulated machine like a Steiner. http://www.steinerturf.com/products/ (just about any attachment you want is available for them) They are 4wd and very good on slopes and hills. They can also cut fast.

You don't say anything about your budget but if thats a concern I'd look at a used tractor w/loader (2 to 3 years old from a dealer), a new brush hog and finish mower (which you get in later after the area is more in shape for it, (ie. the blackberry's gone, and all rocks and branches found and removed)

One other thing is that for a finish mower to do a decent job you will have to mow more than once a month, more like once a week, or you might as well stick with a tractor and brush hog.

Another option would be a 4wd ATV and a trail mower, would take longer but probably cost less and then you can have fun on the atv when your not mowing.
 
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