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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After going through a MMM and a rotary cutter for my pasture areas, I've started looking for a ZTR mower to speed up the job and to free up my tractor for other things. Problem is, I'd like to reliably mow my pastures at least 6 inches high, and sometimes even a few inches higher than that. But, most everything I've found on line about cutting heights with ZTRs are complaints about mowing too short or scalping, for almost every brand and make.

Does anyone know of either a site with reliable ZTR mower cutting height information, or of a specific mower you would recommend. It is for personal use, and would be used weekly for about 6 hours per week. Although most everything I have now is JD, I'm not wedded to the idea of another green mower. I just want one that meets my cutting needs.

I've tried contracting out the work, but the commercial mow folks I've tried, even when they swear their ZTRs are on the highest settings, mow way too short for best pasture maintenance. So, I'd rather own and do it myself.
 

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Don't know how high up the full up position is on a Z915B but that is what my wife uses sometimes to mow our pastures, I go 4.5".

BTW, https://www.lawnsite.com/ is a pretty good place for information.
 

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6" is probably the highest you'll find in a mower designed for finish mowing, especially commercial Zs.
 

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Seems to me you'd lose a lot of suction.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Seems to me you'd lose a lot of suction.
That is an excellent point, and one I hadn't considered.:slap-yourself-emoti

I'll need to do some research, but I wonder if it's fair to say that the maximum mower suction to stand up the grass to be cut is achieved by having the sides of the mower deck extend as close to the ground as possible for any given mower?
 

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Don't know how bumpy your pasture is, but don't think a ZT would shine in a 6" or better pasture mowing application
if any bumpiness is involved.

A 6' or 8' bush hog with a powerful enough tractor to turn it at 4 - 5 MPH probably would be hard to beat and
it don't have to be "new" iron if you're going to just bush hog with it.

My 2 cents. :dunno:
 

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I would consider buying an older used tractor and finish mower. Like an 8n, cub lowboy, Farmall ect. You could do that for a 4th the cost of a zero turn. The only Z mowers that I know of would actually be front mowers. The 14xx and 15xx series. Major bucks.

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I mowed around 16 acres (pastures) last year with the pastures being sixty mikes apart. I tried every thing to come up with an efficient schedule and one of them involved using my 997 for mowing 12 acres of pasture. This is a 1900 pound fast commercial machine but it's not made for rough pastures. Cut height is 5" max and you can't raise it any higher. If your pasture is like mine, it's rough and hard on the equipment and you. After four hours in the seat, I would feel like I ran twenty miles. And I have ran twenty mikes. And even on purpose. So it will do the job, but it's a chore.

Now if your pastures are smooth, I would use the ZTR but for a lot of acres, I would stick with the 997. It can handle the thick grass but you're going to be hard pressed to find a ZTR that cuts higher than this. I have six acres of pasture in my front and I use my 997 for this because of speed but when I go to my rough pastures, I switch to my tractor with the bush hog. On paper, it would seem to be the slower choice but it's actually faster than the ZTR because of the roughness.
 

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Why do you mow pasture?
Im keeping mine short because I don't want to plow through or otherwise deal with two foot tall grass when I plant my alfalpha. I was planting this spring but got delayed due to various reasons so it will be a fall planting. Not my preference but oh well.
 

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For me, keeps the weeds down/out.
Im keeping mine short because I don't want to plow through or otherwise deal with two foot tall grass when I plant my alfalpha. I was planting this spring but got delayed due to various reasons so it will be a fall planting. Not my preference but oh well.
To me, pasture is for livestock, which take care of the above mentioned things.

What you have are hay fields that you don't harvest.
 

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When I visited the GIE+EXPO back in October, I was able to demo a mower called the Altoz. They seem relatively new, but the build quality seemed really good. They advertise one as a "rough cut" mower, and basically it looks to me like a ZTR with a bush-hog type deck. They also offer tracks for "all-terrain mowing" I know that these go for a pretty penny, but if you really want a ztr, it's just another idea to throw in the pot. :dunno: Personally, I would keep my eyes open for something used. It would be a whole lot cheaper.

5858466994e0a160c613bb04.jpg
 

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To me, pasture is for livestock, which take care of the above mentioned things.

What you have are hay fields that you don't harvest.
Weeds like buttercup are toxic to horses. More grass = less weeds, mowing = better grass quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Why do you mow pasture?
I haven't been able to train the horses to eat the weeds. They are pretty selective grazers. Plus, it's hard to find a good trail riding sheep big enough so my legs won't drag on the ground.:laugh:

Seriously, it's mainly for weed control, and to keep the desired grass actively growing. When the grass grows enough to go to seed, that's a signal to the plant that growing season is over.

Producing seed means the plant has done its reproductive job, and it can rest. Coastal bermuda grass is a hybrid and therefore doesn't produce viable seeds, but the plant doesn't know it's shooting blanks.
 

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To me, pasture is for livestock, which take care of the above mentioned things.

What you have are hay fields that you don't harvest.
That is wrong.

Horses are very picky eaters. Cows less so, but still don't eat most weeds. The only thing that will polish off everything are goats, and by that time they've pounded your grass into oblivion.

Keeping your pastures (grass and weeds) trimmed, either after a 4-6 weeks of grazing, or not, is pasture management best practice.

True production hay fields should also be managed with weed control, aeration, fertilizer, etc, or else you're not optimizing your hay production.

-J.
 

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To the OP.

A ZTR is not the right tool for the job.

I know I sound like a broken record, but a caroni flail mower from agrisupply would be a great option.

-J.
 

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.....sorry, double post.
 

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When I visited the GIE+EXPO back in October, I was able to demo a mower called the Altoz. They seem relatively new, but the build quality seemed really good. They advertise one as a "rough cut" mower, and basically it looks to me like a ZTR with a bush-hog type deck. They also offer tracks for "all-terrain mowing" I know that these go for a pretty penny, but if you really want a ztr, it's just another idea to throw in the pot. :dunno: Personally, I would keep my eyes open for something used. It would be a whole lot cheaper.
If they came out with a diesel version, I might trade my 997 in for one. They start out at $18600...so diesel would be what, $25K?!? Still pretty dern cool.
 
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