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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I might be getting ahead of myself, but the property I just purchased is just shy of 3 acres, and I’m a bit worried about my RF tractors handling the mowing. I’m thinking I need to go bigger to help them out. I want to stick with a conventional garden tractor, as I’m not a fan of zero turns. I’m also a fan of simple tractors. ie, non power steering, manual lift, and gear drive. What would be something that fits that criteria with say, a 60” deck?

Also I haven’t brought my RFs to the new property as I haven’t had a chance to finish repairing the oil leak on the 112 and the 110 is still at the old place to turn in the garden so it looks better when the house gets listed, so I may not need to go bigger.
 

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Once you mow with power steering, hydro lift, and hydrostatics you’ll wonder why you never changed… (unless you have and then ignore what I said)
400 series the X series SGT’s are the only Deere’s I know of that had 60” decks under them, otherwise it’s ~48” (and painfully low capacity if it’s anything like the #39’s) for the gear drives and ~52” for the hydrostatic GT’s.
 

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It took me about an hour for me to mow a 30x40 square withe the 210 today, 39s are very slow
 
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It took me about an hour for me to mow a 30x40 square withe the 210 today, 39s are very slow
I made the mistake of mowing ~1.5-2ac with my 110 a few times in the summer of 2020... ...I think our Snapper is an overall better mower than the 110 :LOL:.


On the original topic: You can get a 50-54" deck with manual steering in a 300 series (or I believe a 120/140 if it's had a later deck put under it) but will have an hst and hydro lift (which IMO are great and probably simpler or equal to a gear in terms of complexity and provide a much easier experience maneuvering)
 
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You will not want to pick up a 60” deck with manual lift. Besides that, I don’t know of a Deere with that large a deck that isn’t going to have power steering, hydraulic lift, and hydrostatic drive. Several good machines this size, just how much do you want to spend or work on it.
 

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You will not want to pick up a 60” deck with manual lift. Besides that, I don’t know of a Deere with that large a deck that isn’t going to have power steering, hydraulic lift, and hydrostatic drive. Several good machines this size, just how much do you want to spend or work on it.
Sorry for posting what seems like a dozen times, but the first one is a good point. Our Z920M has a 54” 7 Iron (7 gauge steel) Professional deck and manual lift and is a bear to lift up.
 

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Buy a 60” deck set it to be towable fabricate a way to attach an engine to the deck to be self powered and tow it with any tractor, ATV, side by side etc.
 
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You have lots of great options, including staying with your current machines. I suggest you start thinking about blade speed, ground speed and how many hours a week you want to commit to mowing. Fuel consumption is also a consideration as it plays a larger role this year than last year with rising fuel prices.

Having 3 acres is going to be great but it’s a whole step change in time commitment when it comes to mowing, especially in a wet Spring if you plan to regularly mow all 3 acres.

There is no right answer, it’s whatever you are comfortable with. If you have a friendly local mower dealer, you might ask to demo a few machines and try them out. Modern machines will surprise you how well they perform vs. machines built last century (pre-2000’s) If your land is flat, a zero turn might mow the fastest and possibly leave fewer grass clippings ( because of high blade speed) but it’s a purpose built machine that you can’t generally add attachments to like a garden tractor. Some zero turns come with Diesel engines that have some advantages over gas.
If the ground is bumpy, a small garden tractor might irritate your back and leg muscles bouncing up and down every week on stiff seat springs. That size tractor has advantages in being simple to operate and maintain but it will likely have a small mower deck, slower blade speed and likely lower Hp, so it might make mowing tall grass a time consuming process.

A compact utility tractor has the advantages of better fuel consumption with a diesel, 3 pt hitch availability, longer wheelbase for slightly smoother ride, option to add a front bucket and wide mower deck but used price will likely be in the $10K or higher range which might exceed the budget. However, keep in mind a compact utility machine might have the least depreciation and maintain the highest resale value.
Once you’re able to test a few different types, I’m sure you’ll be able to select the best machine for the job.
 

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Everything is a compromise. A 60” deck is several hundred pounds and requires a big machine to run and lift. When I say heavy I’m talking at least 300 pounds. I’m eager to try one of my 420’s or 400’s with the 60” deck. Even so I have so many obstacles and hidden ledge spindle breakers that the 332 or 322 with always be my first choice.
 

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I have 3 acres too. I have about 2 acres of grass but if I include the roadsides I actually mow about 3 acres altogether. I wouldn't want anything smaller than a 60 inch deck. It's just too time consuming otherwise. Just fer fun I mowed everything with my 1200 CC and a 44" deck on one occasion last year. It literally took twice as long as a 400 does. The extra 16" of width matters but the ground speed makes just as much of a difference.
 

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Might be some other brand with a manual lift for a 60" deck but I don't know of one. Could get by with manual steering but it wouldn't be my first choice.

Might start a Conversation with Army...if such a critter exists he might know of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If my current setup (46 deck that goes between my 110 and 112) doesn’t suit me, I think im leaning towards a pull behind finish mower, or possibly even go to a gang reel setup. I just love the simplicity of a belt driven gear drive. I would probably end up building a pull behind finish mower myself.
 

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That would work but unpowered reel mowers aren’t well suited for tall grass so you would have to mow more often.
A pull behind self powered offset rotary mower would double your mowing width
 

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Fits all qualifications, tractor form, 60” manual lift deck, manual steering, manual transmission if you get a 520-8, and vintage.
 

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👍 I'll move you consider the WH 520-8 in a nod to Jeeks and TD210. Might suit you.
Other good advice, too, from others.
If you could tolerate: diesel, hydro, and PS I'd suggest a 430 or 455. Never put the deck on my 430, but it is an easy/reliable keeper...especially with a 3-pt. Use mine with back grader blade, JBsr, chisel & sweep plow, and disk. Fuel thrifty too.
 

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I had a practically new Swisher for a while. 44" with an 11 HP B&S pull start. Don't ever buy one of those engines unless it has electric start. It didn't start worth shlt and pulling the starter cord was like trying to yank a pissed off gopher out of his hole. A big fat one with a black belt in judo. It mowed pretty good once I got it going. I was able to match it up the deck height on my 400 so the cut was even. I have a lot of stuff to go around so I would go mow all the tricky areas with just the 400 then hook on the Swisher and do the big areas. Could mow a lot of grass quickly so I'd likely have kept it if it had been electric start. I pulled it with various tractors including my 110 RF and my 1/2N just so I could say they were were earning their keep. Didn't try it behind my offroad minibike. About the same HP as my 1/2 N so if there had been a way to hook the Swisher on the back it would likely have done the job too. One day for fun I hooked it up to the back of my '01 Ranger and told my wife I was gonna cut grass in comfort. She fell for it but in her defense she's seen me do wackier things than that.
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My 110 RF has always been noisy. Rattled quite a bit just idling along so I didn't drive it much.
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My old Massey in one of the oddball phases I put it through. Had fun trying different versions of it. I used it for a test mule sometimes. It's also had several motors on it. Also different seats and tires. It belongs to my grandson now. He's only 7 so all he can do is pretend drive it so far.
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I was pretty accustomed to pulling an offset mower that way. When I was in my late teens I used to mow big apple orchards with a Ford 3000 and two bush hogs hooked up offset. I could do some pretty snaky manoeuvres with them once I got the hang of it. Had to go around a zillion tree trunks and up and down hills. It was actually kinda fun sometimes.
 

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I have a vintage 60" Kubota deck with excellent spindles and zero rust. Did a quick drawing years ago of it converted to a tow behind. The engine would be mounted so most of the deck could duck under my spruce trees.
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I have some shots of mowers adapted to work as pull types. Could only find a couple pics though. The second pic shows some vintage Vice Grips with a lot of patina. I bet they're pretty valuable now :rolleyes:
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