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Author Topic: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.  (Read 1301 times)

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Offline 62oliver

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Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« on: May 31, 2021, 07:12:05 AM »
Thinking of getting a "Rotary Cutter" ie: Bush Hog or Brush Hog or whatever the proper term is.
Between my son, daughter and I, we have a lot of work for one. My son has a 100 or so horse tractor. I would tend to want to get the "big one" in terms of cutting capacity (4-5"). 6 foot width would be fine I think. Not sure what is available locally as this is a new idea for me.
Main purpose is to reclaim old fields that are growing in with brush, spruce, poplar, diamond willow etc, and to get back to hay cutting/pasture condition.
The bigger stuff like some spruce and poplar 4"-6"+ I would be thinking maybe better to cut off at the ground with chain saw, and put into a burning pile.

Anybody have real-life experience with these, brands, sizes, good, bad, problems etc?

Thanks








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Offline Don P

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2021, 07:42:45 AM »
I've worn out a couple, if used look at the gearbox for oil, is the seal good. Look for slop and cracks where the gearbox mounts to the deck. How much lash is in the gears as you turn the pto shaft back and forth by hand. Check the condition of the stump jumper, how bent and beat is it, is there a circle in the deck from a bent or loose stump jumper where the blades have been whacking the deck. Bottom edges of the deck still there, how many broken blades have exited the skirt. You don't want to buy a used one from up here where we tend to make gravel with them  :D.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2021, 07:54:20 AM »
 

 
I have a Bush Hog 3008 8' with a "semi-lift" attachment and 3 rear wheels.  The newer same cutter is a 3308.
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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2021, 07:55:24 AM »
They used to make a "tire drive" vs gearbox for right of way type work. A heavy screen behind the cab is a good plan.

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2021, 09:54:22 AM »
If your planning on cutting brush and reclaiming fields buy the heaviest duty heaviest weight one you can afford. The lighter ones bounce and self destruct when cutting heavy woody material. 

I have an old Rhino Ag 8 footer 3pt mounted one for cutting in small areas and a 15' woods batwing for mowing large areas. I've abused both and have had to rebuild a few slip clutches and drivelines over the years but never any gearboxes thankfully.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2021, 10:07:31 AM »
how long will tractor tires last driving over sharded up 4 inch stumps?  asking for a friend.
Proverbs 19:11

Offline treemuncher

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2021, 10:12:33 AM »
Thinking of getting a "Rotary Cutter" ie: Bush Hog or Brush Hog or whatever the proper term is.
Between my son, daughter and I, we have a lot of work for one. My son has a 100 or so horse tractor. I would tend to want to get the "big one" in terms of cutting capacity (4-5"). 6 foot width would be fine I think. Not sure what is available locally as this is a new idea for me.
Main purpose is to reclaim old fields that are growing in with brush, spruce, poplar, diamond willow etc, and to get back to hay cutting/pasture condition.
The bigger stuff like some spruce and poplar 4"-6"+ I would be thinking maybe better to cut off at the ground with chain saw, and put into a burning pile.

Anybody have real-life experience with these, brands, sizes, good, bad, problems etc?

Thanks
If you plan to cut anything over 1" with a bush hog style cutter, plan on stubble so thick it will be difficult to walk over and then think about how many tires you want to replace. Rotary cutters are terrible for leaving sharp stubble and they leave terrible finish quality with larger material. Then there is the cost to your driveline. I have 240hp gearboxes on my 15' batwing BushWhacker - one of the toughest rotary mowers that I've found. I avoid cutting anything over 2" diameter with it. Repairs are imminent with large diameter material and a bush hog and parts are not cheap. Yes I can cut 4" material with it but it is not worth the loss of my time due to repairs from hammering the crap out of good equipment that will last forever if treated right.
At 100 hp, you could run a 15' batwing but a 10'-12' cut would be more suitable. 6' cutters net 5' cut per pass and take forever. I know that an 85 hp machine was too small for my 15' so I bought 120 hp and it works well with that combo.
If you want to save money, hire someone with a mulcher to reclaim your ground and then use a bush hog to keep it maintained. The results will be cleaner, less stubble, stubble that is ragged over and softer to tires. The larger the mulching machine, usually the cheapest per acre. I leave results that are "seed ready" and most of my farmers can set out stock within about 3 months. Larger machines will also mulch any size so there is no saw work left, no stumps above grade and no hospital bills for you, the customer. Look for machines that have at least 60 gpm flow rates at 5000 psi or higher if you want to get efficient work done. Anything less that that will be slow working.
TreeMuncher.com  Where only the chosen remain standing

Offline samandothers

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2021, 10:18:52 AM »
Get one at least as wide as the tractor wheel base in my opinion.  A 100hp tractor would spin a pretty good size unit.  I have a slip clutch on my brush hog versus shear bolt(s).  I do have to loosen the 8 bolts if it has been sitting and slip the clutch to ensure it has not rusted tight.  This is needed to protect the tractor drive train.  I usually do this in the spring when I put it on the tractor after removing the back hoe.  

I agree using a chainsaw on something 4" to 6" would be needed before bush hogging.  The units are rated for different size material they can cut.  

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2021, 11:31:25 AM »
I think you would need something like a Brown Treecutter, not a rotary mower. We have a 7' Woods 840 that works well on 100 hp tractors.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2021, 12:08:05 PM »
A neighbor behind me just brought in a skidsteer with a mulching head to do the initial grubbing.  Now he can concentrate on getting a proper pasture cutter for the future.  Just a thought.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2021, 12:23:13 PM »
Iíd recommend getting one that is as wide as your wheeelbase. Rhino, Woods, etc advertise if you can run over it with your tractor, you can cut it.  Thatís true, but there are some tricks.

As said, stubble can play havoc on tractor tires, so when I reclaim a field, Iíll cut it in the spring or summer when the trees are flexible and never drive over the stubble in the winter or when they are dry.  After a year, go back and mow again, the deadís ones will be rotten, the new ones need to be cut again.  Definitely  be careful, and avoid driving  over miles and miles of dry sharp stubble. 

When cutting bigger brush, drive in reverse so that the tips of the blades will cut the trees over like an axe.  Itís never I good idea to drive over strong saplings because it can do damage to the undercarriage of the tractor.  When I mow forward, I like to have in a bucket so thatís I can push and flatten the brush down before the tractor goes over it.  

If you are careful, and learn how to freewheel the pto to take stress off the driveline, then these machines make very good limb mulchers.  I can back into a 3 or 4 inch sapling, bend it over, whack it with the blade, cut it off like with a machete, then back over it and make it disappear.  With some serious crunching and munching, everything is chewed to bits and pieces.

If a tree is bigger than 3 or 4 inches, push it over with the box and then drive over it backwards, munching as you go.  Most time the trunk gets pushed down into the field and doesnít cause issues, but all the branches get evaporated.  

If you are wanting one to do some serious work, get a serious machine.  Heavy, free swinging blades, oversized gearbox, slip clutch, and donít just sit there and burn your  drivetrain into metal shavings.  Spin the cutter up, back over the tree, and at the first hit, push in the clutch and let the mass of the blades do the work.  Pull up, reegage the cutter,  spin it up, and repeat.  After one or two hits, there wonít be much left of the sapling.  After a few trees, youíll learn when to keep cutting, or hit it again.  






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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2021, 03:44:13 PM »
Iíd recommend getting one that is as wide as your wheeelbase. Rhino, Woods, etc advertise if you can run over it with your tractor, you can cut it.  Thatís true, but there are some tricks.

As said, stubble can play havoc on tractor tires, so when I reclaim a field, Iíll cut it in the spring or summer when the trees are flexible and never drive over the stubble in the winter or when they are dry.  After a year, go back and mow again, the deadís ones will be rotten, the new ones need to be cut again.  Definitely  be careful, and avoid driving  over miles and miles of dry sharp stubble.

When cutting bigger brush, drive in reverse so that the tips of the blades will cut the trees over like an axe.  Itís never I good idea to drive over strong saplings because it can do damage to the undercarriage of the tractor.  When I mow forward, I like to have in a bucket so thatís I can push and flatten the brush down before the tractor goes over it.  

If you are careful, and learn how to freewheel the pto to take stress off the driveline, then these machines make very good limb mulchers.  I can back into a 3 or 4 inch sapling, bend it over, whack it with the blade, cut it off like with a machete, then back over it and make it disappear.  With some serious crunching and munching, everything is chewed to bits and pieces.

If a tree is bigger than 3 or 4 inches, push it over with the box and then drive over it backwards, munching as you go.  Most time the trunk gets pushed down into the field and doesnít cause issues, but all the branches get evaporated.  

If you are wanting one to do some serious work, get a serious machine.  Heavy, free swinging blades, oversized gearbox, slip clutch, and donít just sit there and burn your  drivetrain into metal shavings.  Spin the cutter up, back over the tree, and at the first hit, push in the clutch and let the mass of the blades do the work.  Pull up, reegage the cutter,  spin it up, and repeat.  After one or two hits, there wonít be much left of the sapling.  After a few trees, youíll learn when to keep cutting, or hit it again.  
This Y.H. post is excellent advise, I couldn't say it any better. All this I have done and after 2 years been back in there with a sickle bar.

Offline Corley5

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2021, 04:39:41 PM »
Be careful cutting trees with one wider than the tractor.  It'll pull trees down on to the tractor with negative results.
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Offline 711ac

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2021, 08:41:01 PM »
I'm in full agreement with treemuncher above. "They" may rate their mower for 4" but it's unrealistic. That's mulcher territory. Get as heavy a mower as your budget allows, head out mowing and it will tell you it's limits. Remove the big stuff the old fashioned way and save your mower for regular maintenance mowing once you have it under control. 👍

Offline Dom

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2021, 09:49:51 AM »
We used a 5 Ft Wood brush cutter (the heaviest duty we could get at the time) to clear land of alders. Alder bunches are very thick over here. It works, but its hard on the tractor and cutter. Even with all precautions to prevent damage, it shakes the tractor and cutter. As Corley5 mentioned, the trees will come at your tractor whenever they have a chance. 

We opt to clear with a clearing saw now, and will likely hire a mulcher for future work. 

We now use our cutter similar to MagicMan for maintenance, and to cut the odd standalone alders. At 8ft wide on a 60hp tractor we can cover ground much faster than the heavy 5ft unit. 


Online Joe Hillmann

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2021, 10:42:20 AM »
At work we have a side brush cutter that is rated for up to 6 inch trees.  When we bought it we were warned that rating is the extrema top end of what it is capable of and if we cut trees that size all the time we will end up wearing it out very quickly. 

We probably put 500 hours a year on it, with 3/4 of those hours with grass blades on and only cutting grass.  Even with that light use we still have to do minor to major repairs at least weekly.

I have cut a couple 6 inch trees with it.  It usually needs repair after cutting a single tree that size, even though it is "rated" to cut trees that size.

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2021, 10:45:14 AM »
Also, modern farm tractors have all sorts of electric wires, radiators, hoses, filter, sensors and delicate pieces on the underside that can be damaged by driving over a bit of brush and it getting jammed into places it shouldn't be.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2021, 11:21:22 AM »
Just food for thought here.. A chainsaw wont need any repairs after cutting truckloads of 6 inch trees.  Because it is the right tool for the job.  

 A tractor is not a dozer and there is a price to be paid for using it like one. 
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Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2021, 11:24:12 AM »
I think that what Mike is saying is use the right tool for the job.
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Offline Wudman

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Re: Rotary cutters- Bush Hog etc.
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2021, 12:05:40 PM »
I'm an old school guy.  An older Sidewinder (FMC - Sidewinder) with the tire drive is hard to beat if you are going to abuse the machine.  We had one for years that was retired by a right of way company.  I saw a 5 footer on Marketplace the other day and would love to have it.  For 100 horses, I would look to a 7 footer.

Wudman
ďYou may tear down statues and burn buildings but you canít kill the spirit of patriots and when theyíve had enough this madness will end.Ē
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