Baradium

Drum Mowers

33 posts in this topic

I found a very old thread on drum mowers here, but nothing recent.   What are everyone's current thoughts on drum mowers?   With some medical issues for both my parents I'm trying to hold off on a big disc mower conditioner like we were originally going to get for another few years.  A friend has recommended looking into drum mowers, the real alternative is a straight sickle bar for now.    He was saying the drum mowers are a lot simpler and easier to work on with good up time and a lot cheaper so I was thinking it might be a good way to go and then maybe make it a backup or second mower when we can get a conditioning mower.  

Of course, then we have the issue of either finding someone who will sell one up here or otherwise getting one here.      The John Deere dealer makes it feel like they're the customer and the CaseIH sales side isn't any better, so it doesn't bother me too much if I go outside of those....

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What are you mowing with it? Hay or weeds?

I have a little disc mower but it`s just for knocking down fields/pastures when they get ahead of the animals. 

I assume a drum style is similar to a disc style.

When I brush hog the fields, it rots up 3 times faster than disc mowing it. 

BUT, that disc will eat it faster than I can stay in the seat.

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58 minutes ago, MTO said:

What are you mowing with it? Hay or weeds?

I have a little disc mower but it`s just for knocking down fields/pastures when they get ahead of the animals. 

I assume a drum style is similar to a disc style.

When I brush hog the fields, it rots up 3 times faster than disc mowing it. 

BUT, that disc will eat it faster than I can stay in the seat.

We have a 5075E JD, a 756IH and a 4020 JD.   I think the small JD is 50-60HP, the IH is around 80 and the big JD is around 100.     This is hay, but some areas get fairly thick.  Searching I see video of a drum mower being used like a bush hog.

A drum mower uses a lot larger "discs" than a disc mower with more blades.  Friend is saying they have a lot fewer moving parts than a normal disc mower and are a lot easier to maintain.   We do have a little 4' Disc mower but it's pretty tired.  Regardless, our big ancient sickle bar mower conditioner is about toast and doesn't have another season in it and I'd prefer not to go down to one mower if I can help it. 

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Hey there,  long time between posts. Hope all is well

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1 hour ago, MTO said:

for knocking down fields/pastures when they get ahead of the animals. 

Boy what a problem to have. It's generally just the opposite for me. 

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1 hour ago, AKwelder said:

Hey there,  long time between posts. Hope all is well

Hey, yeah it has been a while.      It's going ok, mom has some medical stuff going on too but hopefully that'll be taken care of with surgery scheduled for March 1st.   Between that and the "new" baler that is still down I'm trying not to spend $30,000 on a new mower conditioner quite yet though.   The sickle bar mower conditioner takes more time working on it than it runs and most of the parts it's going to start needing aren't available anymore and the 4' disc mower needs some help as well, plus it takes an awfully long time to cut with that mower.   I guess we'll be back to sectioning the fields now though because even if we have the round baler fixed it'll be a while before I trust it enough to cut it all at once again.   Really wish I hadn't gotten talked into not keeping the older round baler as a spare. 

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dont know prices in your area    looks like drum is $6K       used disc $3-6K    disc bine  $5-12K

drum having less parts in that it is cheaper and slower design  all the vids show it as slow (DB as fast as HP and seat belt will allow) not laying the crop out ( for correct drying) and requiring 2x more raking than DB

would try to stick >2000 up disc or DB and have some value to trade up every 2 to something newer yet

in 15 years @ 25K (square for example) we only do wet now) the DB  has needed 2 gear boxs (1 for late dry hay wrapping)they changed the guard and mount design 12 years ago)1 bearing issue (ALWAYs had oil)

1/2 set of pods, full drive shafts (weakest part as it takes the hits from hog hotels)2 years ago  that was changed to the shear head (after we got the new pods)

1 very expensive pto swivel 3x joint    80hp turning 180* 200x an hour x 15 years

wheel bearings (they have them hanging now in kit form)have grease buddies but actually drove right out of the hub with no warning( good it was sooner than return trip on highway)

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1 hour ago, Baradium said:

Hey, yeah it has been a while.      It's going ok, mom has some medical stuff going on too but hopefully that'll be taken care of with surgery scheduled for March 1st.   Between that and the "new" baler that is still down I'm trying not to spend $30,000 on a new mower conditioner quite yet though.   The sickle bar mower conditioner takes more time working on it than it runs and most of the parts it's going to start needing aren't available anymore and the 4' disc mower needs some help as well, plus it takes an awfully long time to cut with that mower.   I guess we'll be back to sectioning the fields now though because even if we have the round baler fixed it'll be a while before I trust it enough to cut it all at once again.   Really wish I hadn't gotten talked into not keeping the older round baler as a spare. 

Please pass on my best wishes to your momma, and I will be pulling for her with the operation. 

 

Saw they were talking of IH garands, reminded me of our conversation and then you posted.  

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I've looked into drum mowers a bit myself. They seem to do a good job but leave a narrow windrow which doesn't help drying the hay. If you plan on tedding everything all the time, then it shouldn't be an issue. 

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Why not import a used disc mower from Canada or down around Troy. I would think you could get a decent one in the 10-15,000 range. I think you would be much happier with a disc then drum. All the drum mowers I've seen which isn't many, don't have conditioners on them so I would think that would be a problem. 

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If the alternative is a straight sickle bar mower, a sharp, in register and set right sickle mower can do a fine job.

Here is my MF32 pitman sickle mower cutting hay, hooked to my trusty MF50 diesel as testimony of a sickle mower working in heavy first cut hay.

What is it that is wrong/can't be fixed on your sickle mower conditioner?  What make/model is it?

IMHO - drum mowers do a fine job.  I think if there were a downside, it would be weight, very low to the ground cut and windrowing the cut as it moves along - not a problem if your tedding soon after.

The big concern IMHO with a drum mower, straight disk mower or straight sickle mower is the lack of conditioning.  As great as our MF32 cuts, we have moved to a Hesston 1110 7ft mower conditioner and the conditioning makes a HUGE difference in dry down time.

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I'd consider a drum mower if there's no fear of flying rocks, but they basically don't sell them north of Missouri.

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On ‎2‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 8:51 PM, AKwelder said:

Please pass on my best wishes to your momma, and I will be pulling for her with the operation. 

 

Saw they were talking of IH garands, reminded me of our conversation and then you posted.  

She's doing great.  I'll tell you more the next time I see you

 

On ‎2‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 5:37 AM, leeave96 said:

If the alternative is a straight sickle bar mower, a sharp, in register and set right sickle mower can do a fine job.

Here is my MF32 pitman sickle mower cutting hay, hooked to my trusty MF50 diesel as testimony of a sickle mower working in heavy first cut hay.

What is it that is wrong/can't be fixed on your sickle mower conditioner?  What make/model is it?

IMHO - drum mowers do a fine job.  I think if there were a downside, it would be weight, very low to the ground cut and windrowing the cut as it moves along - not a problem if your tedding soon after.

The big concern IMHO with a drum mower, straight disk mower or straight sickle mower is the lack of conditioning.  As great as our MF32 cuts, we have moved to a Hesston 1110 7ft mower conditioner and the conditioning makes a HUGE difference in dry down time.

It frustrates me that I wrote a rather detailed response to all this and then when I tried to submit the reply it removed it all and "restored the reply" which meant it just left your original quote.  

The sickle bar mower conditioner is a John Deere 1209.  The original 1209 series before they made all sorts of improvements (which means anything improved isn't available at all or requires modification to fit if it is).   The reel is giving us the most headaches now, but the conditioner rollers are coming apart too so it's not even really set to condition.  It just fluffs the hay up.    It might as well be a straight sickle bar mower that just has a much higher propensity to clog up.  Especially in anything remotely damp.   There are other problems with the draw bar and other areas, but what it comes down do is there's always something new breaking or needing rebuilt.  The reel itself has a lot of wear in various areas and I think we're to the point that we'd need to have a machine shop make various parts of the mechanism to get it somewhat reliable there.   

 

Reese actually has a tedder that attaches to the smaller drum mowers and teds the hay as it comes out.  They claim a drying time very close to a disc mower conditioner with that attachment.   We are actually getting a refurbished 4 drum towed unit (just over 10' cutting width) and they don't offer it for that.  They told us that the hay spreads a lot more evenly with it though so it does pretty well there (we'll see).  Either way we've always had to ted after we mowed as it is.   I'd like to be able to get a larger tedder and rake in the future, but our smaller units at least are reliable (the wheel rake is quite old, but it's very simple).  

A big thing for us was that tigerco (the distributor for reese in north America) was able to get us a refurbished 10' mower for a price close to what we were looking at for a much smaller sickle bar mower (almost the same as our quotes for a new 6').  In Alaska there isn't much used hay equipment for sale and when it is it's usually worn out and in need of substantial maintenance.  Shipping from the continental US adds a lot to the price as well.  In this case, the price for the mower was so much lower than we were looking at for a conditioning mower that it's not a big deal when we finally do get a conditioning mower since it could still be a good backup.    We actually were all set to order a new mower conditioner from deere if the dealer hadn't made it so difficult.   I never did get an actual quote in hand and I spent 6 months and a number of trips to the dealer trying to get one.  The service from tigerco was amazing.  It's a family outfit and they bent over backwards for us.   I had a vehicle coming up this way so I bought a trailer and we're moving it ourselves, but when it was picked up today I understand they spent  a couple hours going over it with my dad and his neighbor so it would be easier for us when we're using it or if we need to work on it.  They were willing to let it be picked up regardless of their scheduled operating hours too but we timed it to be during them.   

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On ‎2‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 3:34 AM, NY1468 said:

Why not import a used disc mower from Canada or down around Troy. I would think you could get a decent one in the 10-15,000 range. I think you would be much happier with a disc then drum. All the drum mowers I've seen which isn't many, don't have conditioners on them so I would think that would be a problem. 

I think I mentioned they make a tedder that goes on the smaller mowers, but we were able to get this drum mower for a lot less than that range as well.    One problem we were having with getting a used on at a distance was inspecting or otherwise making sure what we were getting beforehand.    In any case, this price point on this drum mower gives us a lot of options if we decide to make it a backup.  

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Good deal, hope it works out well for you. Post some pictures 

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11 hours ago, NY1468 said:

Good deal, hope it works out well for you. Post some pictures 

Thank you.     I should be able to get some next week.   It'll get here Friday or Saturday and I get back in town Tuesday.  

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On ‎2‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 8:51 PM, AKwelder said:

Saw they were talking of IH garands, reminded me of our conversation and then you posted.  

Speaking of garands, I was able to pick up another box of ammo in stripper clips in bandoliers  recently.  Should be pretty well set for that one for a while.   I should actually take it out and shoot it some.

Also, if you know anyone who's in the market for an equipment trailer, I have a brand new 20'  PJ bumper pull deckover with 7,000lb axles coming up with this mower on it.  Full warranty on it,  I needed it to bring the mower up but probably don't need another trailer.   This one has a small dovetail with spring assist ramps and metal plate over the axles to allow for a lower deck height.  A friend of mine down in Georgia pulled it around some and liked it so much he went and bought an identical one.   I'm half tempted to keep it but selling it will mean being able to get more stuff for the farm.   We weren't able to get the implements we left in Missouri on this trip thanks to all the rain they've had down there either.  I wish I could've added some more stuff to the trailer while it was coming up but didn't work that out.  

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3 hours ago, Baradium said:

Speaking of garands, I was able to pick up another box of ammo in stripper clips in bandoliers  recently.  Should be pretty well set for that one for a while.   I should actually take it out and shoot it some.

Also, if you know anyone who's in the market for an equipment trailer, I have a brand new 20'  PJ bumper pull deckover with 7,000lb axles coming up with this mower on it.  Full warranty on it,  I needed it to bring the mower up but probably don't need another trailer.   This one has a small dovetail with spring assist ramps and metal plate over the axles to allow for a lower deck height.  A friend of mine down in Georgia pulled it around some and liked it so much he went and bought an identical one.   I'm half tempted to keep it but selling it will mean being able to get more stuff for the farm.   We weren't able to get the implements we left in Missouri on this trip thanks to all the rain they've had down there either.  I wish I could've added some more stuff to the trailer while it was coming up but didn't work that out.  

Give me a text tomorrow with more on the trailer, I may be able to find an interested person or two

 

glad to hear about your finding a bit more ammo, it's hard to find in the stripper clips.  

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On ‎5‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 7:50 PM, AKwelder said:

 

Give me a text tomorrow with more on the trailer, I may be able to find an interested person or two

 

glad to hear about your finding a bit more ammo, it's hard to find in the stripper clips.  

Sorry, I just got this.  I was out working.    The trailer is up here now.  We're waiting for everything to dry out to get the mower off of it and then it can go.   I'll try to get some pictures of it and text them to you.  

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On ‎5‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 4:53 AM, NY1468 said:

Good deal, hope it works out well for you. Post some pictures 

I never did post pictures, but I'll get some this next week. I'll tell you the drum mower has been amazing.   I think it's probably the best single investment we've made on the farm to date.   It will cut without trouble in places the tractor shouldn't go.   

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I actually had some pictures on my phone already.    To start, here it is still on the trailer.  It folds up fairly compactly. 

NCM_0595.JPG

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Here it is on our 756.   It'll probably spend the majority of its time behind this tractor.   I'm really happy with how it's set up and the simplicity of it.   

NCM_0661.JPG

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The swing arm locks in place for operation and you pull a pin to use the ram to fold back for transport.   Depending on width requirements the big pulley the drive shaft is going to folds flat alongside the mower as well, there are holders on the draw bar to set the drive shaft on when doing that. 

 

I was uncertain about the lack of a skirt around the mower (I think the new ones have them now), but everything seems to stay very low to the ground and I haven't seen anything fly up.   I can see why rocks could be a concern just because of the rotor RPMs.  

 

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We mowed for years with horse drawn sickle mowers and crimped behind them with a cunnigham crimper. Worked great. Very rarely broke down. Modern sickle mowers have provision for powering and pulling crimpers behind them. You can mow all day with that setup error free and its cheap....like under 1000$ dollars cheap!

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Glad you got something that works for you! I was really debating the same question but the biggest advantage seemed to be speed. However terrain seems to limit my speed on cutting, not the equipment. I've heard some guys doing 12mph while mowing. Driving across most of our fields in a jeep at 12mph can be a bit challenging with the hill contours and other obstacles. Nothing I'd even want to attempt on a tractor. 4-5mph is about as fast as I ever mow and the sickle bar mowers have proven well for me. I do keep my eye out of a drum mower for the edge but I don't seem to have much issue now so it's definitely a tertiary concern for me.

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