Choosing a disc mower
There are several options for mowing hay, but a disc mower enables you to get the job done quickly.
Sickle mowers have been used to cut hay for decades, but disc mowers are rapidly becoming the machine of choice. They can handle tougher conditions, wetter hay, and get jobs done faster. Plus, they are designed for people who have low horsepower tractors.
A disc mower’s size is defined by the number of discs that are assembled to the cutter bar. This could be five-to-eight discs. A five-disc unit has a cutting width of about 7 ft., and the eight-disc unit almost 11 ft.
Randy Webb is a product marketing manager with an implement company. He says the disc mower you choose should match your tractor’s horsepower and the field's terrain.
"Generally we will tell people 30-horsepower tractor for the five-and-six-disc," he says. "You need a little bit of mass there to support the weight of a disc mower, and to be able to have that weight of the mower down and off to the side. So, a 60-to-70 horsepower tractor is not out of line, but it isn’t necessarily required, either."
A disc mower will chomp everything from thin, light grass to heavy crops. Although it’s intended for hay, this machine can also be used for other applications such as mowing conservation reserve acres. Unfortunately, the ground isn’t always perfectly flat for an even cut. Webb says there are options to make the job easier.
"Some people have rocky conditions, so we have some shoe kits that you can put on the bottom of the unit to actually raise it up, so that you can skip over the rocks," says Webb. "And also use that at the end of the cutting season so that the plant has a little bit more stem and can handle the winter weather a little better."
Webb says disc mowers are priced from $9,300 to $13,000.
Radio interview source: Randy Webb, Producing Marketing Manager, Alamo Group
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