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Field mower question

Opinions on mowers and grass

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Tim Kearsley14/02/2019 15:30:38
624 forum posts
3 photos

Afternoon chaps,

Our club mower has seen better days and it seems now is the time to think about replacing it. There is some disagreement among the members of our committee about what to get. I'm therefore just looking for some opinions from fellow enthusiasts:

What type of mower so you use, i.e. cylinder or rotary, and what size?

How closely do you mow your strip? One of our committee reckons a quarter of an inch is necessary. Many of us think that's unrealistic and longer grass wouldn't do any harm?

What size of mower? Our current, aged mower has an 84-inch cut.

Any inputs would be most welcome. Committee disharmony is a real threat here!


Bruce Collinson14/02/2019 15:40:15
447 forum posts

Cylinder spanks everything for finish and is the fussiest to maintain. When we used to cut our strip it was a biggish ride-on rotary, most efficient.

1/4" = cricket pitch, doesn't it?

Depending on size of strip, biggest you can afford, manipulate and garage, so as to minimise non-flying time.


Denis Watkins14/02/2019 15:44:41
4056 forum posts
75 photos

1/4 inch is almost Bowling Green, and achievable with Fine Leaf grasses ! !

Is your patch this good Tim?

A Rotary is quick and does a fine job

A Cylinder is for Lawns, and inefficient if the surface is not flat

Do you have a superb field Tim?

Jon - Laser Engines14/02/2019 15:51:50
5070 forum posts
217 photos

Rotary is the best way to go as its less fussy when it comes to the condition of the ground. We had a cylinder mower at my old club which gave a great finish but was useless if the grass was wet.

Dane Crosby14/02/2019 16:49:44
242 forum posts
23 photos

We have a second hand 48" cut rotary ride on. It cuts low enough for models with smallish wheels >1½" dia I guess.

kc14/02/2019 16:51:58
6207 forum posts
169 photos

At the risk of having even more division in the club I am going to suggest you also consider either getting a contractor to quote for cutting ( someone must already be doing the local school fields and the verges and it's likely to be privatised now) or to pay a club member to bring their own ride on mower to the club. A club member might already have a van or trailer available. Either way this avoids the probability of a new club mower being stolen whilst stored at the field.


Edited By kc on 14/02/2019 17:08:51

John Tee14/02/2019 16:52:45
807 forum posts
65 photos

We use a combination of cylinder and rotary. We have a 24 inch ride on groundsman cylinder mower and a self drive Atco cylinder mower. The rotary mowers (2) are domestic garden types ( self drive). We aim for about 20mm I would guess and have no complaints from the members even the models with small wheels seem to cope. Our field is faily flat and smooth but is only a small area of a farmers field with no treatments allowed as the farm is a trust and chemicals not allowed so we have dandelion patches and the obligatory rabbit scrapes. Likewise ours are getting on a bit. An 84 inch gang mower would have trouble turning on our patch.


john stones 114/02/2019 17:02:28
10825 forum posts
1482 photos

Cylinder every time, much better cut, it'll spread the clippings better than a rotary, little and often is best policy, height ? we have ours cut close, it's for flying off not sitting and admiring.

Neither cuts well when wet, but the clumps are worse with a rotary.

john stones 114/02/2019 17:08:49
10825 forum posts
1482 photos
Posted by kc on 14/02/2019 16:51:58:

At the risk of having even more division in the club I am going to suggest you also consider either getting a contractor to quote for cutting ( someone must already be doing the local school fields and the verges and it's likely to be privatised now) or to pay a club member to bring their own ride on mower to the club. A club member might already have a van or trailer availble. Either way this avoids the probability of a new club mower being stolen whilst stored at the field.

Good advice, get a quote from your Council and local firms for a regular cut, may surprise you and be an option.

Percy Verance14/02/2019 17:36:04
8108 forum posts
155 photos

Hi Tim

FRom what you've said Tim, you already use some sort of gang mower. How good is your field? Lawn quality or avarage farmer's field? A cylinder mower will get the finest results of course, but won't perform too well if the field has uneven areas. We use a ride on rotary, but also have a smaller walk behind but driven rotary job too.

I have no idea why the single committee member feels that ultra short grass is an absolute necessity. Frankly it's a ridiculous notion, and you could spend more time mowing than flying. Tell him to feel free to cut it if he wants 1/4 inch long grass, or fit bigger wheels to his models...........keeping it at that length would be nigh on impossible. It would be easier nailing jelly to the ceiling.

We simply arrive at our field and take a quick look at the grass. If it's only an inch or two long, we just fly. It does of course depend on the models, or more to the point the size of the wheels on the models. But some days we're flying models with big 3 and 4 inch wheels, so we simply go for it and fly. Sometimes hand launch and land in the grass is the order of the day if we can't be bothered mowing on the day.


Edited By Percy Verance on 14/02/2019 17:42:33

Wingman14/02/2019 17:46:20
1125 forum posts
405 photos

84" cut - LUXURY Eeee when ah woz a lad ---- but seriously have you checked out how much it would be to get your mower fully refurbished - a new 42" ride-on is going to cost you at least £1800 and will only cut at half your present rate also it will struggle to cut more than a acre and remain serviceable for the whole season (at least our Castelgarden does!)

Martin Harris14/02/2019 18:41:06
9084 forum posts
224 photos

We use this outfit with triple rotary cutters to maintain a little over 5 acres - maybe overkill for a small patch if you rent something in the middle of a farmer's field though. New blade tips once a year (or less) and the odd drive belt have been the only spares needed for the mower, which rolls as it cuts. The tractor, which is useful for many jobs around the club, is worth much more than the price paid when it was bought by the club over 25 years ago...


Previously (before my time) we had gang mowers but they were expensive and time consuming to maintain - although producing an excellent finish, I'm told.

Edited By Martin Harris on 14/02/2019 18:50:14

Tim Kearsley14/02/2019 18:52:38
624 forum posts
3 photos

Thank you very much for all the replies chaps - it's much appreciated. To answer some of the questions, our field is average I would say. The strip is protected from the grazing animals (cattle or sheep) by an electric fence and has been regularly mowed of course and rolled a couple of times a year. We suffer, as most do, from rabbit activity and our members fly everything from trainers to jets.

The two points of dispute within our committee are the length of grass we need to maintain and whether a cylinder or rotary mower would do the job.

We'll get there, I'm sure!


Peter Miller14/02/2019 18:53:50
10491 forum posts
1246 photos
10 articles

We have a Mountfield Ride on and it cuts our field well. Even the small foamies have no trouble taking offand landing.

I suppose that 1/4" grass might be needed for peanut scale but if anyone said our field should be cut as short as that they would be laughed off the field.

I wioll just mention that two members do all the mowing. one other has recenlty volunteered to take a share. Well done !!!

Percy Verance14/02/2019 18:55:24
8108 forum posts
155 photos

Good stuff Martin, but not feasible for some clubs, as they'd become targets for theft. You'd need first rate security arrangements if you were to leave that gear on site at some fields. NIce to have it though.......

We're fortunate in that where we fly is literally a couple of minutes drive from my bungalow down a single track country road. We bring the mowing kit to the field when we need to mow, and take it all away when we're done. Obviously, living so close to our field helps in this respect. We don't even have a club hut or any other indications that the field is anything other than a pasture for sheep. 


Edited By Percy Verance on 14/02/2019 19:06:05

alan p14/02/2019 18:57:53
231 forum posts
3 photos

Just an observation, please be careful about advertising the quality of your equipment, there are those out there who will be willing to releave you of it, when inadvertently advertised and traceable on the wide web.

Given that its a fine investment Martin. thumbs up

Percy Verance14/02/2019 19:03:35
8108 forum posts
155 photos

Funny you mention that Alan, as that same thought was what prompted me to add the later paragraph to my post.........

Former Member14/02/2019 19:45:57
724 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Wingman14/02/2019 20:02:55
1125 forum posts
405 photos

How much does it cost to get a contractor to mow the field?

Jonathan W14/02/2019 20:06:41
108 forum posts
11 photos

I am in the same club as Tim and know that the mower needs replacing. However, I was not aware of any disagreement within the management. The current mower is beyond economic repair, due to a hydraulic pump which needs replacing, we were informed. The flying patch is very flat, but I would also cast doubt on the need for 1/4" grass, unless we wanted to play snooker on it or something.

The current 84" mower is something of a behemoth, but on the other hand it gets the job done quite quickly, whereas it would take hours with walk-along type mowers.

The management have suggested an £8000 budget for a new mower. What kind of monster could we purchse with that budget? Is that an extravagant spend, or par for the course? We have quite secure garaging on site, so there is no need for a club member to ferry it back & forth.

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