Contributors to this thread:
rough cut tow behind mowers
Researching Swisher, DR products, Dirty Hand Tools.
My father had a DR walk behind that we had been happy with over the years, but I now want a tow-behind for a UTV.
Primarily to maintain some trails, and mow high grass/weed fields. Rough cut, not finish mowing.
Any input as far as brand, ease of maintenance, and HP recommendations would be appreciated. As always, Thanks for taking the time to help out with your advice and experience.
I have a bush hog that has proven very durable. It's 16 years old and have only replaced the blade clutch and a belt. Has a 12hp Honda engine.
Got a old 15+ year old bush hog 42 with the 8hp briggs, burning oil but keeps going.
I pulled a 44" Swisher on my place for ten seasons. I will never own another. I now own a unit made by a family company out of Illinois made under the name KUNZ. The KUNZ mower is like a Roles Royce compared to a Kia over the Swisher.
If your place is flat no problems with any. If you’re cutting on inclines make sure the one you choose has an oil pump. Otherwise you’ll burn the motor.
I was there last spring, went with Swisher used to rent a tractor with 6' brushhog twice a year. ~$800 / year and only cut my plots when I had (not enough).
I wanted the 14.5 self start - it's been working good through the year - no new belts or blades required the first year!
IF you go that way, get the 2" ball 'updated hitch. I didn't even after reading the reviews. I got theu the season - but- snapped a number of 3/8" bolts that connect it to the two. So bought at end of season with a great discount due to the bolts breaking. SO now I have an afternoon of work to refit the new towing assembly to the deck during turkey season.
I also use a dewalk grinder to sharpen the blades prior to each cut - about 2 miles of trails and 5 acres of food plts - the sharp blades make a big difference when cutting 2" of vegetation.
We had a swisher .....it was a hunk of shit.
In fact i wouldnt own a brush hog that wasnt PTO driven.
We have a DR and it has plenty of power but have had some issues. Had to foam fill the tires because they kept going flat, there are screws with loctite that attach the arm to the deck that kept vibrating loose. We drilled a couple holes and put actual bolts with nuts and haven’t had an issue since. You also have to check at the beginning of every spring to make sure mice haven’t built a nest in the air intake or the thing can over heat. It’s a beast though and will mow grass at almost any height.
IMO...the absolute best rough cut mower by far is a Kunz !!!
Yes...they also cost the most but they are well worth it. When you figure in longevity,effectiveness, and non-loss of down time...they can't be beat.
Without question my best investment in terms of food plot equipment.
I have had a swisher 44" rough cut for 18 years and it has never failed me yet. I keep it at the farm covered with a tarp all year and it always starts on the 3rd pull after setting all winter. It has a 10.5 hp Briggs and Stratton engine. I have dragged it over whatever a 4x4 atv will push over and it keeps on cutting. I use it mostly on powerlines and gas lines that are way to steep for my tractor and on several food plots. I'm sure there are more expensive, better machines now days but that old swisher is hard to beat in my opinion if you are in really rough areas.
I have used a 12 hp swisher ruff cut for maybe 10 years. I have replaced the drive belt twice, I replaced the hitch (too soft of metal, new one is bending also), lost the key so I use a small blade screw driver to start, mice chewed a hole in the gas tank and had to put tubes in the tires as they want to go flat. That said I chewed a lot of stuff with mine. Mine starts mostly 1st pull. Would I buy another? My choice would be a brush hog on a tractor. But then again I get my atv and swisher in a 5x10 trailer for mobility. You have to go 5 mph or less and slower in rough terrain as there is no suspension and it is hard on the tongue (which should be beefier). Kunz might be less aggravation in the long run.
Aren't they hard on the ATV? I've heard going slow on an ATV for periods of time is really bad for them.
As for Griz question on the mechanical part of the atv I say no,, but yes Now if you have a air cooled Atv thats the only time I would be concerned. My atv is air and oil cooled, the only time the fan for the oil cooler ever comes on is using the bush hog on hot days. At one point i thought the fan on my atv was not working, after using it to cut with the bush hog at slow speeds thats the only time the fan cycles on/off. So if you got a air only cooled I'd be care full not to over heat it.
Now I got a bush hog 48 inch with a honda 13hp engine. Works great for me. Also I have a older 19 hp lawn tractor with cruise controI I take the deck off and pull the bush hog. I can set the cruise at the right speed, get a good cut and cut all the easy stuff with the lawn tractor. I use the atv in the bad spots. Trying to cut the easy stuff for 6 or 7 hours with the atv made my forearms and throttle thumb hurt. Ed
Have used the swisher as a personal use and as a business for going on 15 years. Like any piece of equipment there are + & - for each. I also own a walk behind and different size brush hoggs and a sickle bar mower. For food plots I like the sickle mower if it hasn't been left to long in between mow's. (12" to 20") lays it out flat no bunching or piling of grass to kill spots in plot. With the Swisher if you mow plots often enough its not to bad, but still will get a little wind rowing. For grass field or field of golden rod, I also like the Sickle mower. Can move along faster, its easier on tractor and operator. Swisher on said fields works great but will require 30 to 45 minutes per acre and a lot of times on thicker, taller stuff requires second pass. Also Swisher wheels tend to lay down path that doesn't get mowed. You will learn to not cut in the same direction on next pass. Will mow in figure 8 squares or 3 strait lines reversing directions each time. Same thing with tractor and brush hog to get a really nice even cut and look. Tractor wheels will lay the grass down as well. Works great for mowing trails, if I can drive over it with the 4-wheeler the Swisher will cut it. (2"-3" tree's, no problem 4" max as long as its not constant.) Same with opening new fields or new food plots, works great. Put solid rubber tires on it after 5-6 flats, the first couple weeks. If you use it to cut over grown fields or briers. I be-leave that it works juts as well strait behind 4-wheeler as angled so my tow bar has never be broken or bent. It definitely is built to light. I re -enforced mine before I had issues. Have had people ask if it cuts well enough to use as a mower to pull behind the lawn mower. No, it does't cut close enough or finish looking. Shut off cable/ control in my opinion needs to be longer. Made up a mount for mine so I can attach it and take it bask off as quick as the mower. Mine is 12 hp Briggs, no electric start. Newer ones 14 hp I be-leave. The extra power could be nice. Didn't want to monkey with the electric start, one more thing to maintain. After 15 years still starts on the 1 or 2 pull. Usually have to replace belts a couple time a season. I buy the cheap one 's $20.00 a piece. not sure if swisher brand are better quality. Fairly easy to change after you have done it several time. 1/4" electric impact speeds it up. Always have spare belt, you can't see it so you won't know how worn it has gotten. Overhaul quality pretty good. Would recommend!