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I work for a residential Builder in a suburb of Detroit. Currently we have an 06 Sportsman 500 that we use to plow snow. With spring here, the weeds on our spec lots seem to grow at an unbearable rate. Currently we are using a JCB with a backblade to grade out the weeds. Although this works, it's very time consuming. Currently we are considering purchasing a brush hog attachment for our sportsman. Does anyone have any recommendations on what brand or type to purchase? I have been searching online and came up with these three:
All three seem like they would be a good fit. However, becasue this brush hog will be used for heavy duty brush cutting, it needs to be a commercial grade. It will not be cutting any brush that is over 1 1/2 - 2" in diameter. Longevity and top quality are defintley a priority. Does anyone have any experience with using one of these three brush hogs? What are the pros and cons? Which one do you recommend for the type of cutting we will be doing?
Actually these mowers have their place and getting the right engine is the key. If one you are looking at has a Honda engine upgrade, I'd recommend taking that route. The down side is that for heavy material you will have to go slow (about 3 to 5 mph) to keep from bogging the engine down. This is what I had to do when I would cut old hayfields that included small trees, wild rose and blackberries. These are fields that I'd mow either once a year or once every other year. Those mowers will get the job done but not as efficiently as a PTO driven bush hog behind a full size tractor.
However for rough areas (like rolling pasture that has some rock in it) a tractor can be unsafe and an ATV is just the ticket. What is important here is to get a mower that isn't any wider than your ATV that way you can better manage the rocks which may be hidden. If rock is not an issue then any width will do. My only experience has been with the Swisher product and I used it to mow my fields up until I got an old Ford 3000 tractor, now it does all the work...
We use the Swisher rough cut on the farm for mowing various lots and such. Our Daughter cleared a bunch of sagebrush with the machine and my Prairie 360. Pretty much anything the quad would run over the Swisher ground up. Not a fast process but it works. We have the big engine option which is important. I don't believe this machine would chop up inch and a half trees but I know it will knock down and grind up one inch stuff if it is somewhat scattered.
We will probably get the biggest engine available which will help in the long run.
One thing that concerns me is is the breakaway blades. The area we intend on mowing will be littered with bricks, rocks, chunks of concrete, small tree limbs, and other construction debris. Slow mowing will be a must. I know that all three of the cutters mentioned above have the breakaway blades and should an immovable object be hit, the blades will break away to prevent damage to the gear, spline, and clutch. But what about the blades??? I would imagine that there would be some type of damage done to the blades??? Has anyone hit an immovable object with these brush cutters? How bad was the damage???
Also, what about service??? I know that any outdoor power equpitment dealer should be able to service the brush hog. But you never know as some manufactures have thier own nuts/bolts which only they can turn. Has anyone had problrms getting service done on thier brush hog???
I'd go with the the largest models of the rough cut or trail cutter variety.
Something like the Swisher trailcutter for sheer ruggedness and get it with the larger engine. I'd also invest in extra blades when I got it. Swisher is good about sending parts if you break something. Any small engine shop could work on the B&S or Honda engine.
You might want to look into the commercial models made by Kunz Engineering. They make the Acrease brand which I've been told are quite a bit heavier than the Swisher and AF stuff and they come with big 22 horse engines compared to the 12 and 14s on others.
You might want to send someone to go around and pick up any large chunks of rock or bricks. You hit them with anything and its not going to be good for it rough cut mower, trail cutter, tractor mounted brush hog or weed whacker. Paying a couple of guys for a few hours of debris pick up duty is going to be cheaper than paying a mechanic his rate for replacing parts you bust running over a brick bat or a chunk of concrete hidden by weeds. Not that I've ever done such a thing. *Ahem*.
Swisher makes a good flail mower, I've seen a few in ag stores. The blade is actually 2 pieces that pivot around the output shaft, it gives the blades more inertia for heavy stuff, plus the blades are way heavier than a standard "mower" blade. and the center pivot allows the blade to kick back if it strikes a solid object that would damage or break a solid blade.