Mowing CRP: Disc mower or bat wing mower ?
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Thread: Mowing CRP: Disc mower or bat wing mower ?

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    Mowing CRP: Disc mower or bat wing mower ?

    I've got 100 acres of newly seeded CRP and just finished mowing it the first time (barely) with an old 9' sickle mower. A disc mower would probably be the least cost and be used on my old 4020. A bat wing would be much faster and I'd use my 4640 with cab and A/C, but it would be the most costly it seems.

    Will need to mow it at least two more times this year, at least twice the next two years. The 100 acres consists of sidehills, flat ground, and some rocks in a two acre area. Lots of turning and small fields.

    Thoughts and opinions appreciated.
    Last edited by red sled; 06-15-2016 at 05:26 PM.

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    is hay production an eventual idea for you?

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    In my opinion, my flail uses WAY less HP than a rotary like a bat wing.

    My nephew switched from a 14' bush hog to a 14' flail because of the HP requirements.

    The flail can just go faster.

    The disc mower is an interesting thought,,
    can you get one that does not windrow??

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    Mowing CRP: Disc mower or bat wing mower ?

    I've used a 7' sickle mower and an 8' disc mower to mow CRP before. Disc mower was less maintenance, wouldn't plug near as easy and I could drive twice as fast. Provided I could stay on the tractor seat as some of the fields were brutal. I would think a bat wing mower would mean more cost, more fuel and you'd have to drive slower and use a bigger tractor. Our neighbors used a flail mower to mow theirs and it worked good.

    The disk mower we used didn't leave windrows. A bat wing would sure shred the crop though.

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    Been my experience that a rotary like a batwing, and a flail mower both pull hard, need similar HP per foot of cut. Sickle mower pulls easiest but most prone to plug and needs lots of maintenance. Disk mowers are expensive, and also need quite a bit of HP, but probably offer the most acres cut per hour per gallon of fuel. Sickle mower has to go slower to mow CRP, has the frustration of plugging, probably burns the least fuel but also could do the fewest acres per hour.

    Dad had a heck of a time getting over his 40 acres of CRP 30 years ago. He tried a sickle mower, flail, and really regretted selling his rotary bush hog. Pretty sure he only had to mow once per year but had a specific time frame it had to be mowed.

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    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

    Any possible hay production would be limited to mowing small patches of grass pasture since I no longer have cattle (7-15 acres max) .

    I'm not familiar with a flail mower. Will it do a good job in the tractor wheel tracks ? Are they similar to a stalk cutter ?

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    Cost

    I'm not sure what you are looking at for cost but our 7' disc mower was quite a bit more expensive than the equivalent width rotary mower. We bought a 15' bat wing used for the same or less cost than the disc mower was new.

    Personally I would go with the rotary mower because you can get more mower for the same cost and it would handle any larger bushes that might pop up. Our disc mower will cut those but I wince if I ever hear one because they are really designed to cut grass, not shrubs. I have visions of bad things happening if it hits something just a bit too large. It's also a bit of a pain and not cheap to change all those little blades compared to just sharpening a set of mower blades. That's really easy on a bat wing as we can just fold everything up, chain it for safety and take a grinder to the blades while it's still on the mower.

    I would and did buy a used rotary cutter. I'm not sure I would buy a used disc mower unless I knew the previous owner really well and how it was used.

    All of the above changes if you anticipate going into hay where a disc mower really shines. I would only use a sickle mower if really forced to do so. We have one that's been in a shed for many years and frankly, I have no desire to go back to it. The disc mower is just a better tool for hay, faster, less clogging, less maintenance etc. We would make you a deal on the sickle if you want to go that route!

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    Thank you Treefarmer for your input.

    Could anyone estimate what the ground speed of the batwing mower would be compared to using a disc mower ? Half, perhaps , in CRP conditions ?

    The biggest thing keeping me from a batwing is my neighbor's experience with his. It's green in color and he's had to replace a complete driveline on one wing recently. He says it's been a very expensive mower for mowing road ditches and that sort of thing. But I'm sure not all batwings would be like that.

    Does anyone have experience with a JD 270 disc mower ? I understand it's pretty old and does not have a sheer hub on it ? It's priced at $3750 at a local dealer and comes from a one-owner family.

    Let me throw one more thing in the mix: I'm planning to retire in three years so it won't be a "long term" investment.
    Last edited by red sled; 06-18-2016 at 09:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cheesetrain View Post
    I've used a 7' sickle mower and an 8' disc mower to mow CRP before. Disc mower was less maintenance, wouldn't plug near as easy and I could drive twice as fast. Provided I could stay on the tractor seat as some of the fields were brutal. I would think a bat wing mower would mean more cost, more fuel and you'd have to drive slower and use a bigger tractor. Our neighbors used a flail mower to mow theirs and it worked good.

    The disk mower we used didn't leave windrows. A bat wing would sure shred the crop though.

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    all kidding aside, this is a great post.
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    cheesetrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by red sled View Post
    Thank you Treefarmer for your input.

    Could anyone estimate what the ground speed of the batwing mower would be compared to using a disc mower ? Half, perhaps , in CRP conditions ?

    The biggest thing keeping me from a batwing is my neighbor's experience with his. It's green in color and he's had to replace a complete driveline on one wing recently. He says it's been a very expensive mower for mowing road ditches and that sort of thing. But I'm sure not all batwings would be like that.

    Does anyone have experience with a JD 270 disc mower ? I understand it's pretty old and does not have a sheer hub on it ? It's priced at $3750 at a local dealer and comes from a one-owner family.

    Let me throw one more thing in the mix: I'm planning to retire in three years so it won't be a "long term" investment.
    By sheer hub do you mean sheer pin? If so neither our sickle mower or our disk mower had sheer pins. They had a trip mechanism where if you hit something solid, the mechanism would trip and the mower would suddenly be straight behind you.

    I think for $3750 for the JD 270 for three years I'd do it. If only mowing a couple times a year.


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