Three point hitch bushogs

1badDart

Member
Sep 7, 2021
71
57
18
W. KY.
I've only been on this site for a couple months but grew up on a farm and have operated tractors all of my life. I've noticed in several photos of tractors and 3ph bush hogs with standard threaded top links. Has anyone ever used a chain in place of the top link? We always ran a chain (I still do), even if we were clipping pastures.

What happens with a top link is if you get on a stump or something large is that the bush hog can make the tractor buck, possibly tossing the operator off the tractor and running over them. A chain will allow the bush hog to jump up and prevent it from causing the tractor buck.

Over the years I know of three guys who have been killed this way.

Stay safe guys.
 

NCL4701

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L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500, 16kW IMD gen
Apr 27, 2020
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Central Piedmont, NC
Have run a chain in the past. Have also put the top link on for transport and off to mow. Currently run a hydraulic top link with float and float it when actually mowing. I have really liked the hydraulic top link with float.
 
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Elliott in GA

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LX 2610SU w/535,LP RCR1860,LP FDR1660,LP SGC0554, LP FSP500, DD BBX60005
Mar 10, 2021
172
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North Georgia
Three things: (1) you should be wearing your safety belt - you cannot be bucked off, (2) my Quick Hitch hooks under the pivot link on the rotary cutter - it can pivot up and down to absorb/ride over any collisions and (3) with an HST, if my foot leaves the pedal the tractor stops immediately.
 
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nbryan

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Equipment
B2650HSD ROPS BH77 LA534A 54" Martatch 42" forks B2782B WC68 BB1560 M5-4 hog
Jan 3, 2019
604
276
63
Hadashville, Manitoba, Canada
It seems my M5 mower can if forced to "jump up" quite a ways already given the freeplay of the lower arms when they're lowered to mow, as there's no 3-point downforce and the mower would have to jump 2-3 feet up before the lower ams would "top out". Is that how these mowers kick up the tractor's rear? Fly up past the 3-point free play? If so I may strongly consider opting for the chain on the mower top link instead of the factory threaded bar.

That just seems like a lot of force beyond bouncing on a solid stump would impart, then again I'm only running barely the minimum pto hp with my B2650, maybe stronger pto tractors would suffer this phenomenon more easily?

And if you have a ROPS, wear the belt. Tossing hazard gone.
 

1badDart

Member
Sep 7, 2021
71
57
18
W. KY.
Three things: (1) you should be wearing your safety belt - you cannot be bucked off, (2) my Quick Hitch hooks under the pivot link on the rotary cutter - it can pivot up and down to absorb/ride over any collisions and (3) with an HST, if my foot leaves the pedal the tractor stops immediately.
(1) None of the older tractors have seat belts, at least none I've owned or operated. (2) A lot of people still don't run a quick hitch. (3) Most tractors aren't HST.

Stay safe.
 
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SDT

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multiple and various
Apr 15, 2018
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SE, IN
I've only been on this site for a couple months but grew up on a farm and have operated tractors all of my life. I've noticed in several photos of tractors and 3ph bush hogs with standard threaded top links. Has anyone ever used a chain in place of the top link? We always ran a chain (I still do), even if we were clipping pastures.

What happens with a top link is if you get on a stump or something large is that the bush hog can make the tractor buck, possibly tossing the operator off the tractor and running over them. A chain will allow the bush hog to jump up and prevent it from causing the tractor buck.

Over the years I know of three guys who have been killed this way.

Stay safe guys.
I have used both rigid top links and chains on multiple tractor/rotary cutter set ups over the decades.

Used chains with some tractors/mowers to prevent damage to internal draft control mechanism in certain circumstances.

SDT
 
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Elliott in GA

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LX 2610SU w/535,LP RCR1860,LP FDR1660,LP SGC0554, LP FSP500, DD BBX60005
Mar 10, 2021
172
140
43
North Georgia
(1) None of the older tractors have seat belts, at least none I've owned or operated. (2) A lot of people still don't run a quick hitch. (3) Most tractors aren't HST.

Stay safe.
While true about older tractors, most (the vast majority) of the photos I have seen on this site are of more recent vintage tractors with ROPS, seat belts, HST and maybe a Quick Hitch.
I did not realize that you were talking only about antiques. :LOL:

If I had an older tractor, I would add a ROPS and seat belt if at all possible. There is even help to reduce the cost .

I do not know how well the program works, but it probably helps.
 
Last edited:

1badDart

Member
Sep 7, 2021
71
57
18
W. KY.
While true about older tractors, most (the vast majority) of the photos I have seen on this site are of more recent vintage tractors with ROPS, seat belts, HST and maybe a Quick Hitch.
I did not realize that you were talking only about antiques. :LOL:

If I had an older tractor, I would add a ROPS and seat belt if at all possible. There is even help to reduce the cost .

I do not know how well the program works, but it probably helps.
A seat belt is only good if you wear it, I hope everyone does.
 
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Elliott in GA

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LX 2610SU w/535,LP RCR1860,LP FDR1660,LP SGC0554, LP FSP500, DD BBX60005
Mar 10, 2021
172
140
43
North Georgia
FWIW, Messick's has a video about rotary cutter travel with respect to top links.
It offers a cheap solution at the 8 minute mark.

Better or worse than a chain? I do not know.
 
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DDCD

Member

Equipment
MF135
May 8, 2021
61
54
18
Oklahoma
I have a bush hog with a chain from the 3 point mount to the back of the mower. Rigid top link from mount to the tractor. I have to have a way to pick up the mower.

Mowed in plenty of dips and ditches and no bucking me off. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but the mower link and chain seem to move freely. This is on a 60 year tractor with no seatbelt.
 

1badDart

Member
Sep 7, 2021
71
57
18
W. KY.
I have a bush hog with a chain from the 3 point mount to the back of the mower. Rigid top link from mount to the tractor. I have to have a way to pick up the mower.

Mowed in plenty of dips and ditches and no bucking me off. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but the mower link and chain seem to move freely. This is on a 60 year tractor with no seatbelt.
Your chain is doing the same thing as using a chain in place of the top link. I'm not saying that not using a chain is going to get you hurt, but if you mowing in rough places with stumps or other large objects at least consider one.

In the end use what you choose, I choose a chain.
 

mcfarmall

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Equipment
Kubota M5660SUHD, Farmall C
Sep 11, 2013
469
404
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Kalamazoo, MI
Tell me about the "bucking tractor." I'm not understanding. Is the tractor popping a wheelie when you contact a hidden obstruction?
 

Tire Biter

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B 2601 434 loader MMM, bunch of tractor stuff . Ford 4600
Jul 10, 2012
209
70
28
S.E. TN
I alway use a chain with an extra clevis part way up the chain and use it to tighten up the chain for transport. There are some situations where a solid link will bind up where I mow. Never thought about the mower catching and flipping the tractor and I doubt it could even happen.
 

1badDart

Member
Sep 7, 2021
71
57
18
W. KY.
Never heard of one flipping but do know of three guys that have been thrown off and run over. This has been over the course of many years.
 

NHSleddog

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B2650
Dec 19, 2019
1,941
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Southern, NH
I use my top link all the time with the brush hog so I would not go to a chain I like the on-the-fly adjustments.

I drop it over banks and angle it down, I angle it up and back up over nasty stuff etc. On my unit (5ft Mahindra) the top hook frame can "float" about 6".
 

Fordtech86

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L3200
Aug 7, 2018
2,298
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Pineville,LA
Have a rigid top link on tractor and a floating top link on bush hog. But can’t see how the mower hook up itself would cause someone to get thrown over. I have lost the top link pin and got stuck in the ditch because I couldn’t pick the mower up, bout it.
 
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In Utopia

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Equipment
L175 FEL
Apr 21, 2013
470
31
28
Utopia,Tx/Pasadena,TX
Not only does my Brush Hog brand rotary cutter have a chain on top, but also limiting chains to keep it at a constant height since older tractors won't hold position very well. Most people probably wouldn't cut the areas that I do. Pretty rough terrain, lots of ups and downs.
Chains.JPG
 
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Magicman

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M4900 Utility Special 4WD e/w FEL & 1530 John Deere "Traveling Man"
Oct 8, 2019
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knotholesawmill.com
IMG_0867.JPG

Neither my 3008 Bush Hog nor my smaller 6' cutter have a top link at all. It's called a 'semi lift' where the rear cutter wheel(s) are always on the ground the cutting height is adjusted by the tractor's lift arms.
IMG_7823.JPG

Another view of the 3008 which has 3 wheels. Notice that there is nothing for the top to attach to.
 
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