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Posted: 8/17/2017 9:31:42 AM EDT
Well, my current property has about 2/3 of an acre of mowable lawn, and I'm getting ready to buy a new place that has about 4.5 acres.
So my current, basic, riding mower isn't going to cut it, so to speak, and I need something bigger.

The property is relatively flattish with fairly gentle hills and slopes.  There are trees, bushes, a fence, other obstacles and such, but a large portion is clear land.

Attachment Attached File


I'd also like to occasionally be able to use the mower to tow/carry stuff like bags of soil and such.  Nothing too heavy.

I'm thinking something in the ballpark of a 52" zero turn, but I'm willing to be schooled on that. 
A friend has a Hustler he bought from Lowe's a year or two ago, and he really likes it, so I'm considering that.

There is a dealer close by (who I've bought from before and like) that sells Scag, Exmark, Snapper, and Walker.
There's another dealer a few miles farther away that sells Hustler, Ferris, Big Dog, and Husqvarna.
We also have Lowe's, Home Depot, and Tractor Supply.

I'd like to keep it under $3500 if possible.  $4000 max.
Edit:  Up to $5000

Any advice, experience, words of wisdom, anecdotes, or generally asshattery are welcome!
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 9:41:47 AM EDT
[#1]
Ferris, Scag or Exmark. Everything else is an also ran when it comes to quality. Ferris is the cheapest of the three, But ultimately which dealer do you like best?


Also, your not getting any kind of good new mower for $4k. That hustler you're buddy bought from lowes has ez-t hydro gear drives on it, stay far away from those.  Check the model of drives, make sure it has at least zt-3200 drives, otherwise they don't dissipate heat as quickly as they generate it.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 9:45:35 AM EDT
[#2]
Small used compact tractor with a 4-5ft finish mower. You could also get a pull behind finish mower and use your old riding lawn mower as a tractor..

0 turns are nice but unless you find a stellar deal you are not going to get one worth a damn for under 4k.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:07:54 AM EDT
[#3]
Thanks very much.  I'm open to a conventional-style mower as well if that's all my budget allows.  I just definitely know I need something that can cut wider than my current mower.  I think it might do 40" or so.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:13:23 AM EDT
[#4]
Dixie Chopper




Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:17:32 AM EDT
[#5]
That kind of money will get you a nice Ford 8N or similar with a finish mower.  Or look for an older Kubota with a loader and go the same route.  Will be hard pressed to find a nice Kubota in the price range though.  

$4000 won't buy much of a ZTR when you are wanting to mow that kind of acerage.  Heavily used commercial mower in good shape may be an option as well.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:20:49 AM EDT
[#6]
As far as a new ZTR goes, John Deere, Kubota, ExMark, Ferris, SCAG, Hustler, Bad Boy, Ariens, Dixie Chopper, Dixon, Gravely, and a few others all make good mowers.  Pick the 3-5 closest dealers, not box stores, and find what you like and also at a dealer with good service and buy the most mower you can afford if you want to go the new ZTR route.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:22:47 AM EDT
[#7]
Do you have any requirement to mow it? I would just mow a strip around the edges/fences and grow hay.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:25:39 AM EDT
[#8]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Do you have any requirement to mow it? I would just mow a strip around the edges/fences and grow hay.
View Quote
I don't know anything about growing hay.  But I'm willing to learn. 
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:28:29 AM EDT
[#9]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I don't know anything about growing hay.  But I'm willing to learn. 
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:
Do you have any requirement to mow it? I would just mow a strip around the edges/fences and grow hay.
I don't know anything about growing hay.  But I'm willing to learn. 
If you want to go that route find someone local who does custom hay and let them take care of cutting a baling it and they'll just cut you a check for how much hay they get.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:28:38 AM EDT
[#10]
I'm interested in a ZT mower also, how are the Toro's?

I'm looking at an MX5025 with the Kawasaki engine, it's equipped with ZT2200 hydro's
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:28:38 AM EDT
[#11]
I have a 54 inch cut yard tractor. I also have 4.5 acres and only mow half of it. Unless you really like spending a good portion of your life mowing grass I would not go that route. I mow full on wide open and it still takes me around 2 hours and 40 minutes to mow. Life is too short to spend it baking in the sun for hours at a time. Up your budget by 2K and get a zero turn. I can not speak from experience but I see a lot of commercial guys around here running all the major brands including Hustler. I do see more Ferris mowers than any other on their trailers.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:29:08 AM EDT
[#12]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I don't know anything about growing hay.  But I'm willing to learn. 
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:
Do you have any requirement to mow it? I would just mow a strip around the edges/fences and grow hay.
I don't know anything about growing hay.  But I'm willing to learn. 
It's sort of complicated. First you dont mow the area you want to grow hay in. Then your done.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:31:09 AM EDT
[#13]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:

If you want to go that route find someone local who does custom hay and let them take care of cutting a baling it and they'll just cut you a check for how much hay they get.
View Quote
Have someone pay me to cut my grass for me?  Now that's my kind of plan. 
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:31:53 AM EDT
[#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I'm interested in a ZT mower also, how are the Toro's?

I'm looking at an MX5025 with the Kawasaki engine, it's equipped with ZT2200 hydro's
View Quote
I would get something with at least 2800 series hydros.  Personally, I like independent pumps and motors for each wheel.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:33:35 AM EDT
[#15]
That is a helluva yard !
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:34:15 AM EDT
[#16]
Get a zero-turn mower and keep your present mower for touch up and hauling duties.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:40:12 AM EDT
[#17]
Setup a petting zoo, let the animals take care of the lawn.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:41:47 AM EDT
[#18]
Skag
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:41:59 AM EDT
[#19]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:

It's sort of complicated. First you dont mow the area you want to grow hay in. Then your done.
View Quote
Pretty sure you have to cut it somehow and get it into some kind of bale-type shape. 
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:46:48 AM EDT
[#20]
Looks like you have a nice fence around the place.
Get a few goats, calves, etc...etc...
Keeps the grass mowed, and your freezer full at the same time.

Depending on your local laws, maybe an agricultural exemption for tax purposes as well.

If you are hell bent on mowing it, the old "Buy Once, cry once" thing comes into play.

I'd look for a used diesel tractor with a front end loader, and a 5 or 6 foot finish mower. You can use it for other attachments as well. A 4.5 acre spread is big enough for a nice sized garden. (That keeping your freezer full thing).

The diesel tractor will last many years if you maintain it.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:49:15 AM EDT
[#21]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Setup a petting zoo, let the animals take care of the lawn.
View Quote
My wife would hog them all to herself and not let anyone else pet them. 

Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:50:45 AM EDT
[#22]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Pretty sure you have to cut it somehow and get it into some kind of bale-type shape. 
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:

It's sort of complicated. First you dont mow the area you want to grow hay in. Then your done.
Pretty sure you have to cut it somehow and get it into some kind of bale-type shape. 
That's only if you want to sell it.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:59:18 AM EDT
[#23]
Look ok Craigslist, I saw a few tractors on the alanta area one along with a pretty new 0turn for around 2k
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:59:23 AM EDT
[#24]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Looks like you have a nice fence around the place.
Get a few goats, calves, etc...etc...
Keeps the grass mowed, and your freezer full at the same time.

Depending on your local laws, maybe an agricultural exemption for tax purposes as well.

If you are hell bent on mowing it, the old "Buy Once, cry once" thing comes into play.

I'd look for a used diesel tractor with a front end loader, and a 5 or 6 foot finish mower. You can use it for other attachments as well. A 4.5 acre spread is big enough for a nice sized garden. (That keeping your freezer full thing).

The diesel tractor will last many years if you maintain it.

Good luck.
View Quote
I've never kept any kind of livestock but I'm not opposed to it.  I would need to learn how, of course.
My wife already said she wants to try her hand at a few chickens.  The land is already zoned agricultural.

But we need to get settled in first.  I won't want to do anything like that until next year at the earliest.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 12:01:24 PM EDT
[#25]
Gravely makes nice machines for 4K and under
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 12:37:54 PM EDT
[#26]
I am on 4.5 acres with about 3 of it mowable and the rest wooded.  I'll probably catch some flak from the experts, but I looked at everything (Dixie, Scag, Exmark, Hustler, Ferris, Bad Boy, Gravely, Toro, Deere, Kubota, etc.), read all the reviews, and decided I just couldn't justify spending $6K - $10K for one of the commercial mowers.  I bought a Cub Cadet RZT LX50 from a dealer (not box store).  

RZT LX50

21.5 HP Kawasaki V-twin engine with a 50" fabbed (not pressed) deck with 3 blades (don't bend as easily) for $2900.  Held off until I was able to get it with 48 months no interest ($74/month).  It has a 3 years/unlimited hours warranty.  Had it for 4 months and so far, so good.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 12:46:45 PM EDT
[#27]
Nothing less than 2800 series hydros. 3100-3800 even better.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 1:18:47 PM EDT
[#28]
Don't try to tow anything with a zero turn.  I have a scag turf tiger with a 61" velocity deck.  Awesome mower, and I keep about 3 acres cut with it.  It has a towing capacity of 250 lbs, which I discovered after burning up one of the wheel motors.  I was towing a small sprayer.

If I had it to do over again, I'd probably look hard at one of the upper end Ferris mowers withe a 60 or 72" deck.  The suspension looks awfully nice!
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 1:39:53 PM EDT
[#29]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Don't try to tow anything with a zero turn.  I have a scag turf tiger with a 61" velocity deck.  Awesome mower, and I keep about 3 acres cut with it.  It has a towing capacity of 250 lbs, which I discovered after burning up one of the wheel motors.  I was towing a small sprayer.

If I had it to do over again, I'd probably look hard at one of the upper end Ferris mowers withe a 60 or 72" deck.  The suspension looks awfully nice!
View Quote
Our Bad Boy Outlaw XP has suspension all around.  I'll never own another ZTR without it!
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 1:43:12 PM EDT
[#30]
I have a Hustler Raptor SD 60" and love it. Perfect for 2+ac.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 1:45:52 PM EDT
[#31]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Ferris, Scag or Exmark. Everything else is an also ran when it comes to quality. Ferris is the cheapest of the three, But ultimately which dealer do you like best?


Also, your not getting any kind of good new mower for $4k. That hustler you're buddy bought from lowes has ez-t hydro gear drives on it, stay far away from those.  Check the model of drives, make sure it has at least zt-3200 drives, otherwise they don't dissipate heat as quickly as they generate it.
View Quote
Sorry, my Gravely is not an "also ran".
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 1:49:17 PM EDT
[#32]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:

Our Bad Boy Outlaw XP has suspension all around.  I'll never own another ZTR without it!
View Quote
That looks similar to Hustler's flex forks.  I don't have any experience with Bad Boy, but this looks like it is awesome!

Link Posted: 8/17/2017 1:49:28 PM EDT
[#33]
Wait till fall if possible, better deals when the grass is not growing.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 1:53:24 PM EDT
[#34]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
That looks similar to Hustler's flex forks.  I don't have any experience with Bad Boy, but this looks like it is awesome!

https://www.bascomarketing.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/3200.jpg
View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:

Our Bad Boy Outlaw XP has suspension all around.  I'll never own another ZTR without it!
That looks similar to Hustler's flex forks.  I don't have any experience with Bad Boy, but this looks like it is awesome!

https://www.bascomarketing.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/3200.jpg
Yep!  Very similar design but I think the Bad Boy forks are built better than the Hustler forks.  Then again I work in a foundry so I'm partial to their castings over Hustlers weldment 

They have since switched design to be similar to the Ferris in your pic, just using rubber bushing instead of shocks.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 1:58:16 PM EDT
[#35]
Ive got a late 90s Dixon ZTR Commercial. Its built like a tank and handles all kinds of crazy hills. I mow my acre yard in about 30 minutes. Full of trees and steep inclines.

It also stripes very nice
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:03:42 PM EDT
[#36]
Sheep?
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:05:23 PM EDT
[#37]
Here is how this goes for that much grass:

How much time do you want to dedicate to mowing 40 weeks a year?

If your answer is LESS THAN 4 HOURS, you will need a ZTR. Unless you have gates or a lot of ditches, there is no reason to get a 48 or a 54 deck. Just get a 60 and be done with it. You will need 25HP to run a 60" deck. Any of the major manufacturers listed here will do (but I place heavy emphasis manufacturers that use Kawasaki V-twins).


If your answer is I DONT CARE HOW LONG IT TAKES AND I WANT TO TILL DIRT, LOAD ROCKS, SMOOTH A DRIVEWAY, then get a tractor and a nice sun hat.


BTW, toss out your 3-4000 dollar price range. That is not going to do it. You are buying back your Saturdays. If you buy a quality 25HP/60" commercial mower, you are going to spend at least twice that. However, if you take care of it and store it inside, it should give you 15 years quality service on that acreage. Start looking at your amortized weekly cost to get half your Saturday back. A $9500 machine that give you 15 years of service is only $15 per mowing week in a 40 mowing week year. (If you buy a cheaper "residential" ZTR, your amortized cost is going to go up.)

$15 is a cheap price to pay for half a Saturday.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:08:16 PM EDT
[#38]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I am on 4.5 acres with about 3 of it mowable and the rest wooded.  I'll probably catch some flak from the experts, but I looked at everything (Dixie, Scag, Exmark, Hustler, Ferris, Bad Boy, Gravely, Toro, Deere, Kubota, etc.), read all the reviews, and decided I just couldn't justify spending $6K - $10K for one of the commercial mowers.  I bought a Cub Cadet RZT LX50 from a dealer (not box store).  

RZT LX50

21.5 HP Kawasaki V-twin engine with a 50" fabbed (not pressed) deck with 3 blades (don't bend as easily) for $2900.  Held off until I was able to get it with 48 months no interest ($74/month).  It has a 3 years/unlimited hours warranty.  Had it for 4 months and so far, so good.
View Quote
How long does it take you to mow?
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:19:25 PM EDT
[#39]
Quoted:
Well, my current property has about 2/3 of an acre of mowable lawn, and I'm getting ready to buy a new place that has about 4.5 acres.
So my current, basic, riding mower isn't going to cut it, so to speak, and I need something bigger.

The property is relatively flattish with fairly gentle hills and slopes.  There are trees, bushes, a fence, other obstacles and such, but a large portion is clear land.

https://www.AR15.Com/media/mediaFiles/6688/yard-282533.JPG

I'd also like to occasionally be able to use the mower to tow/carry stuff like bags of soil and such.  Nothing too heavy.

I'm thinking something in the ballpark of a 52" zero turn, but I'm willing to be schooled on that. 
A friend has a Hustler he bought from Lowe's a year or two ago, and he really likes it, so I'm considering that.

There is a dealer close by (who I've bought from before and like) that sells Scag, Exmark, Snapper, and Walker.
There's another dealer a few miles farther away that sells Hustler, Ferris, Big Dog, and Husqvarna.
We also have Lowe's, Home Depot, and Tractor Supply.

I'd like to keep it under $3500 if possible.  $4000 max.

Any advice, experience, words of wisdom, anecdotes, or generally asshattery are welcome!
View Quote



$4k?


Hustler with the largest deck is your only option then.


Buy it from Lowes, use a 10% coupon off and wait for them to have the 11% rebates too.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:25:17 PM EDT
[#40]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:



$4k?


Hustler with the largest deck is your only option then.


Buy it from Lowes, use a 10% coupon off and wait for them to have the 11% rebates too.
View Quote
I got my SD 60" for $3999 at a local dealer, because I paid with cash. You can finance for 48mo with 0% interest if you like leverage.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:26:37 PM EDT
[#41]
Just looking at that property I would recommend a sub-compact tractor like a JD or Kubota.  You'll need to increase your budget though.

One thing I've found after buying a subcompact tractor is all the things I never knew I needed it for.  It is kept much much busier than a dedicated riding mower.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:30:26 PM EDT
[#42]
Op, just get rid of all that grass and plant EMO grass.

It will cut itself.

Your welcome
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:36:22 PM EDT
[#43]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Here is how this goes for that much grass:

How much time do you want to dedicate to mowing 40 weeks a year?

If your answer is LESS THAN 4 HOURS, you will need a ZTR. Unless you have gates or a lot of ditches, there is no reason to get a 48 or a 54 deck. Just get a 60 and be done with it. You will need 25HP to run a 60" deck. Any of the major manufacturers listed here will do (but I place heavy emphasis manufacturers that use Kawasaki V-twins).


If your answer is I DONT CARE HOW LONG IT TAKES AND I WANT TO TILL DIRT, LOAD ROCKS, SMOOTH A DRIVEWAY, then get a tractor and a nice sun hat.


BTW, toss out your 3-4000 dollar price range. That is not going to do it. You are buying back your Saturdays. If you buy a quality 25HP/60" commercial mower, you are going to spend at least twice that. However, if you take care of it and store it inside, it should give you 15 years quality service on that acreage. Start looking at your amortized weekly cost to get half your Saturday back. A $9500 machine that give you 15 years of service is only $15 per mowing week in a 40 mowing week year. (If you buy a cheaper "residential" ZTR, your amortized cost is going to go up.)

$15 is a cheap price to pay for half a Saturday.
View Quote
Agree with this, mostly.  

I picked up my Scag for $4500 a couple of years ago, with right around 500 hours on it.  It has been trouble free, except for when I abused it by pulling too heavy of a load as noted above.  I replaced one of the wheel motors, and likely will have to do the pump on the same side in the near future...again, my fault though.

I am up to about 700 hours now.

It takes me about 1 hour and 20 minutes to mow 3 ish acres. Longer if I let the grass go to long.  Really would like to get a bagger for it.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:38:10 PM EDT
[#44]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Just looking at that property I would recommend a sub-compact tractor like a JD or Kubota.  You'll need to increase your budget though.

One thing I've found after buying a subcompact tractor is all the things I never knew I needed it for.  It is kept much much busier than a dedicated riding mower.
View Quote
I cut mine (which is similar to OP's) with a 29 hp tractor and 6 ft finish mower prior to buying my ZTR.  The 5' deck on the ZTR cuts the same area in 2/3 of the time.  I use the tractor for everything except mowing now.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:40:51 PM EDT
[#45]
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:42:35 PM EDT
[#46]
Wright Stander is the preferred brand at my company, rock solid and not very many parts to them compared to the competition and we've tried all sorts of the big name brands.

Oh and the Honda hydra-static if you need something small.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:45:01 PM EDT
[#47]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:

I would get something with at least 2800 series hydros.  Personally, I like independent pumps and motors for each wheel.
View Quote
This!! Don't buy a zero turn without 2800 or better hydros. You can get 2800 or better with 52-54" zero turn for $4kish with several brands, Husqvarna, Raptor SD, Cub Cadet are a few examples, great to buy from a local dealership but also nice to have a cheap 4 year extended warranty from Lowes. I was shopping for a new mower recently and actually considered buying a Husqvarna from Amazon, I think it was a 54" with 3300 hydros and was around $4500 with tx & extended warranty.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 2:46:22 PM EDT
[#48]
I would recommend  a Wright Stander (that's what i use in my business). Standing up when mowing is so much easier on my back than sitting especially if its bumpy. a 54" can be had used around 3-4k in decent shape under 1000hrs.

I wouldn't buy anything in the residential flavor, a strong commercial with a welded deck is what you seek.

Check out a Scag turf tiger if zero turn is what you want.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 3:50:51 PM EDT
[#49]
Thanks again to everyone for the great advice.  I have a good bit of reading up to do.

If I have to adjust my budget upwards a bit, I may be able to swing it, or I may look for something a little used.
Link Posted: 8/17/2017 11:15:37 PM EDT
[#50]
Anyone have any experience or thoughts on the Cub Cadet ZForce S?

http://www.cubcadet.com/equipment/cubcadet/z-force%3Csup%3E-reg%3B%3C-sup%3E-s-60-2016-zforce-s60kh
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