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Rotary mower vs Flail Mower


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Anyone use a 3pt Flail mower? Will be purchasing one or the other soon. I like the idea of the flail mower being able to cut 6" heights as well as right down to the dirt with the use of hammer blades rather than "Y" blades.. The price of new well built rotary mowers (brush hogs) is not much less than a 3pt flail mower.. They're also are smaller in size making access and trailer usage easier. Really leaning towards a flail over the brush hog.. Anybody have some first hand info?

 It would be used on a sub compact 28hp diesel 22 PTO hp.. so a 48" or 52" flail vs 48" brush hog..  

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It pays to find a used finish mower, I have been using a 5ft mower on the back of my compact 40hp tractor for years now and has served me well with very high grass, plots etc.. I only keep the rear 2 tires on and use the 3 point hitch to dictate the hieght at the front. I felt that the front tires always got caught up on things and a couple times came off. Works same concept as a brush hog but more stable with two rear solid tires. If your looking to blast thru saplings then brush hog is way to go, if not, go with a used finish mower, I have used mine on grass in excess of a foot long with no issue.

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Put me in the Flail mower camp, I purchased one several years ago (A Titan) for use on the farm and for me it has several advantages over the brush hog type. Mine has the hammer blades which does a good job on both brush and saplings up to three inches in diameter pulverizing them while still giving a very nice cut on grass. It mounts up much closer to the back of the tractor making for easier turns and maneuverability. Also much safer when it comes to rocks as it does not sent them into orbit and parts unknown like a brush hog. Got her on the tractor now mowing fields and trails.

Al

2022-06-22_093200.png

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I would say it really depends on what you think you will be cutting most of the time.  I use my flail mower a lot more than my brush hog.  I am cutting 90% grass and food plots, so very few small trees or obstructions in the way.  When I am clearing out a new trail thru thick heavy stuff, I will switch to the brush hog, but once the path it pretty well cleared I go back to the flail mower. 960526351_JohnDeereflailmower.thumb.jpg.725bdfa863a60f8573fbbf8f5881d4b8.jpg308780496_JohnDeerewithmower.thumb.jpg.cdfc63f99c9f8a6c85e22511e3b974b4.jpg

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5 hours ago, moog5050 said:

Bryan

i think the hog is better for rough stuff with small trees and shrubs but the flail does a neater job on grass.  

The Flail mower with hammer blades should cut up to 3" shrubs and trees. So another reason Im leaning toward the Flail mower as it will fit on my current trailer where the hog wont. Also I have an electronic clutch pto so the flail will also engage easier like a rotary tiller, where the brush hog bangs hard upon engaging, and requires higher rpm startup. Probably should have mentioned that before hand lol I would like both at some point 

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5 hours ago, NYBowhunter said:

It pays to find a used finish mower, I have been using a 5ft mower on the back of my compact 40hp tractor for years now and has served me well with very high grass, plots etc.. I only keep the rear 2 tires on and use the 3 point hitch to dictate the hieght at the front. I felt that the front tires always got caught up on things and a couple times came off. Works same concept as a brush hog but more stable with two rear solid tires. If your looking to blast thru saplings then brush hog is way to go, if not, go with a used finish mower, I have used mine on grass in excess of a foot long with no issue.

I concidered one as well, But the majority of what i will be cutting is golden rod, ragweed, pigweeds and lamb quarter etc a swell as grasses and perennial plots. I can always customize the blade setup to make it more of a brush cutter as well.. Than kyou 

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5 hours ago, airedale said:

Put me in the Flail mower camp, I purchased one several years ago (A Titan) for use on the farm and for me it has several advantages over the brush hog type. Mine has the hammer blades which does a good job on both brush and saplings up to three inches in diameter pulverizing them while still giving a very nice cut on grass. It mounts up much closer to the back of the tractor making for easier turns and maneuverability. Also much safer when it comes to rocks as it does not sent them into orbit and parts unknown like a brush hog. Got her on the tractor now mowing fields and trails.

Al

2022-06-22_093200.png

Awesome, thats exactly what i want it for, and the occasional perennial plot maintenance. But i have some over grown fields i would like managed. And the ease of trailering comes in hand. as well as my Electronic PTO clutch. Seems it would be easier on the machine to me. Thank you 

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2 hours ago, Otto said:

I would say it really depends on what you think you will be cutting most of the time.  I use my flail mower a lot more than my brush hog.  I am cutting 90% grass and food plots, so very few small trees or obstructions in the way.  When I am clearing out a new trail thru thick heavy stuff, I will switch to the brush hog, but once the path it pretty well cleared I go back to the flail mower. 960526351_JohnDeereflailmower.thumb.jpg.725bdfa863a60f8573fbbf8f5881d4b8.jpg308780496_JohnDeerewithmower.thumb.jpg.cdfc63f99c9f8a6c85e22511e3b974b4.jpg

ITs going to be a good mix of grasses, taller weeds, gulden rod ragweed etc.. and the occasional saplings and brush as well. I also have an electronic PTO clutch and a flail would be easier at startups.  I can fit a flail attached to my tractor on my current trailer setup. a bhog would require a bigger trailer purchase too 

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6 hours ago, Otto said:

I would say it really depends on what you think you will be cutting most of the time.  I use my flail mower a lot more than my brush hog.  I am cutting 90% grass and food plots, so very few small trees or obstructions in the way.  When I am clearing out a new trail thru thick heavy stuff, I will switch to the brush hog, but once the path it pretty well cleared I go back to the flail mower. 960526351_JohnDeereflailmower.thumb.jpg.725bdfa863a60f8573fbbf8f5881d4b8.jpg308780496_JohnDeerewithmower.thumb.jpg.cdfc63f99c9f8a6c85e22511e3b974b4.jpg

Which one would you use for cutting hay that was real thick and 6-8 ft tall, like that to the left of the deer and my old Ford in this picture ?

My current 5 ft, Medium duty Bush hog will handle 3” brush pretty good, but I have to drop my 43 pto-hp tractor down to low range to cut that thick hay once per year.  I could easily cut it in mid-range, with the light-duty 6 footer, that I had previously, but that would only handle 1-1/2” brush.  

The problem with that 6 foot light-duty was it was a lot heavier and took up more space, so I couldn’t use that little 8n Ford on it, if I wanted to (didn’t have enough hydraulic power to lift it). It was also a pain to store, compared to the 5 footers.  
 

I can’t imagine a flail mower doing very well on real thick and tall hay or weeds, but I never tried one.  My experience on them is limited to mowing grass with an old 6 footer a long time ago.  We had a 5 ft heavy duty bush hog also back then, which I always used for “once a year” mowings of tall weeds, with a Ford 3000 gas tractor .  
 

To me, the flail mower is more of a maintenance tool and if someone must have just one or the other, a light or medium duty bush-hog might be a better choice.  
 

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Edited by wolc123
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@wolc123, I would use neither.   I would use a sickle bar side cutter, which is what that tool is designed for.    Would the brush hog or flail cut that hay? Yes, but not well, without stress to the tractor and mower, and without repeated passes to grind everything up.   And whatever you cut would be just compost. With a sickle bar mower, rake and baler you could sell that product.  If I just want that area short and clean, then I would cut 3 or 4 times a year and not let it get higher than 2 feet. 

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13 minutes ago, Otto said:

@wolc123, I would use neither.   I would use a sickle bar side cutter, which is what that tool is designed for.    Would the brush hog or flail cut that hay? Yes, but not well, without stress to the tractor and mower, and without repeated passes to grind everything up.   And whatever you cut would be just compost. With a sickle bar mower, rake and baler you could sell that product.  If I just want that area short and clean, then I would cut 3 or 4 times a year and not let it get higher than 2 feet. 

Yes, I agree that a sickle bar would be best, but now we are talking (3) tools.  If you had to pick just one, and only had time to cut most of your acreage once per year, and that consists of weeds, thick hay, light brush, and a few clover plots,  then I still think a light duty or a medium duty bush-hog is the best pick.

One issue (positive this year), with taking off the hay, is that you don’t get something for nothing.  That means that you need to add fertilizer to bring back equal or greater forage the following year.  If you chop up and leave the hay, if usually gets thicker the following year 

That said, current fuel prices have got me leaning towards giving away a few fields of hay this year.  My neighbor would probably like to have it. Maybe fuel will be cheaper next year.  Even is it’s not, it will be thinner and take less fuel for me to bush-hog, than it would be if he doesn’t take the hay off this year.  
 

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