Too Steep for a B01 or Even a BX?

TheOldHokie

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L3901/LA525, B7200DT/B1630, G2160/RCK60, G2460/RCK60
Apr 6, 2021
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Myersville, MD
Wow – there is a ton of useful information here. Thank you all for the replies.

It's surprising to me, but predicted above, that after going outside and actually measuring the slope, it's less than I had thought. There's no single plane/grade here, with larger-scale "mounds" and "bowls" coupled with smaller-scale ruts and uneven ground, but I came up with a maximum of about 18 degrees in the worst the places that I'm concerned about (there are other spots that are up to 28 deg, but those are narrower sections that are impractical to get at due to our current fencing).

So it sounds pretty clearly like the B2601 isn't an obviously terrible idea in the hands of a first time owner who is generally cautious and understands that riding along hills is dangerous. I'm still a bit apprehensive given that it seems unavoidable in practice on these contours to end up off of the straight-up-and-down paths, but I'm also hearing that some of that is likely going to be fine. I'm also thinking it might be a good idea to try smooth out the surface on the small-scale to make it safer/more predictable, but possibly with some kind of walk-behind equipment to avoid a chicken-and-egg problem...

RE: skipping the MMM for a zero turn or a riding mower, I've thought about it for the flat stuff, but I've not heard great things about reliability/longevity with them (I've never owned either before...), and I'd still need to brush hog the hilly stuff from the pictures. I think the zero turn is a stretch for our place, as the "flat" stuff I've referred to is only sorta "flat," none of it is "smooth" (it's currently pretty easy to turn an ankle on all the ruts, although I recognize that I can spend the time to fix that) and at least half an acre of it is still sloped in some direction. Frankly, after having suggested a riding mower for finish work to my wife a while back, that's still her preference. I imagine that I'd end up spending more in the long run with that option (operation and maintenance and presumably replacement at some point), but I acknowledge it would surely be faster. It's still a possibility.ercial
Based on the photos your property has a varied slope. Some of it may be too steep to navigate with anything..

I drive sidehill all of the time. Straight up and down 100% of the time is simply not practical. The trick is knowing what is safely navigable and what is not. That comes with time and experience.

A commercial diesel garden tractor like my G series will last decades but they are 5 figure purchases. Do not confuse them with the machines you see at HD and Lowes. A good diesel zero turn os even more capable and expensive.

A B series is not too large for your needs - if anything it is undersize.

Good luck. You will learn a lot in short order once you start taking care of that property. You might want to start witj a nice used BX to get a feel for the job. That will be a good fit for much of what you need and give you some perspective on the larger machine you will surely need to go with it. Resist the temptation to buy a cheap 2wd lawn tractor. It won't do the job and you will be trying to make it work under unsafe conditions. BTDT.

Dan
 
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bird dogger

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Kubota B2650 and lots of other equipment
Feb 24, 2019
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Rule #1. Never, EVER mow 'side hill', ALWAYS 'up and down'.
Rule #2. If you break rule #1 ,be sure your life insurance is paid up in full

Now for those that have broken #1, you've been lucky but your luck will run out.

If the hill is too steep,simple solution.... recover with a 'no-mow' form of vegetation.
Along our farmstead, I mow about 1900 feet of roadside ditch for a total of 3800 feet +/- (both sides of the ditch) Your rules above certainly don't apply in all cases. 32 years of mowing the ditch on the sides. The first time I'd try mowing up and down I'd either be arrested or hit by traffic.

The first mowing each spring is slow and cautious to make sure there's no new badger/gopher holes or mounds, washouts, etc. After that it's quite manageable. Similar to but most likely steeper than Henro's pic above.
 
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Daferris

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LX2610
Nov 23, 2021
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Mid-Michigan
Just a quick note about commercial grade zero turns. My old Cub Cadet Z54 ( more of a prosumer than a true commercial grade) is 12 years old just gave it to one of my daughter for their new place. I got a lightly used Scag Tiger Cat 2 to replace it with. The Scag can mow foot tall ( or higher) grass like it was nothing. Was going to get from one of my customers a 2016 Scag Turf Tiger 2 but they haven't gotten in their new replacement's yet. It has 2600+ hours and has had 1 pump replaced other than that it's just been blades, oil and belts.
 
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n00b

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Aug 4, 2022
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Issaquah, WA
You might want to start witj a nice used BX to get a feel for the job
These things hold their resale value too well – around here, if you ever see one, the surprisingly low discount relative to the reduced warranty duration and risk associated with possibly poor maintenance/operation. Also, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of buying such an expensive item used online, so it'd have to be local. I suppose private party might see better discounts (if, uh, certain typical transaction-related costs get excluded...), but there are some (relatively minor) transportation costs come into play (I don't even own a truck ...yet... let alone trailer).

Resist the temptation to buy a cheap 2wd lawn tractor. It won't do the job and you will be trying to make it work under unsafe conditions.
Just to be clear, since you mention safety, the possibility being considered was buying, in addition to a (sub?)compact tractor for more obviously tractor-y things, a lawn tractor (or maybe zero turn) just to mow the "flat" stuff instead of buying the MMM, for the sake of some combination of efficiency (our multiple, disconnected "flat" areas have a decent amount of tighter spots and corners)/convenience (since the MMM should come off for the woods)/fewer hours on the tractor (there's some hand-waving in the net benefit there). I'm fairly certain those particular areas would be "safe," albeit perhaps a bit bumpy in spots. There are some additional areas of gently sloping hill that a riding mower would probably do fine in. I'm still not really sure how I feel about it – I can see benefits on both sides. I can say, however, that nothing beyond a mid-range (or "high-mid"-range) mower would be in the budget.
 

GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
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bd, our roadside ditches now tend to be deep 'V' style, 3-6' deep and not very wide at the top.Least not full size tractor accessible. Decades ago they were, and county had custom A-C B tractors with belly mounted sickle bar mowers and small diameter wheels on the right side. Funny to see on the road,made sense when mowing(engine gets oil !, driver 'level' and safe. Those ditches were more broad and shallower(5-6 decades ago).
The new ditches are great at filling up with snow, and capturing 'too fast' drivers of cars and pickups !
County now has expensive air conditioned tractors with articulated arm and cutter on the end.
 

ve9aa

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tg1860, bx2380
Apr 11, 2021
467
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NB, Canada
Jay -
bd, our roadside ditches now tend to be deep 'V' style, 3-6' deep and not very wide at the top.Least not full size tractor accessible. Decades ago they were, and county had custom A-C B tractors with belly mounted sickle bar mowers and small diameter wheels on the right side. Funny to see on the road,made sense when mowing(engine gets oil !, driver 'level' and safe. Those ditches were more broad and shallower(5-6 decades ago).
The new ditches are great at filling up with snow, and capturing 'too fast' drivers of cars and pickups !
County now has expensive air conditioned tractors with articulated arm and cutter on the end.
sounds like here in NB. I used to mow my ditch, then 3 yrs ago they thought it was a good idea to put down nearly a foot of "reclaim' asphalt shavings on the road, -AND- dig out my ditch in a very steep VEE.

I can only mow about 4' of "ditch" which used to be a very smooth "half-pipe" (really more like 1/3pipe) which was more like 10' tip to tip (side to side?) and now there are weeds, trees and whatnot right against the road. It's so steep, nothing could get it down except an industrial strength whipper-snipper-

Improvements?

I think not.

Sorry to veer OT, OP
 

RBsingl

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Kubota F 2690 72" rear discharge deck, Deere 955
Jul 1, 2022
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Just to be clear, since you mention safety, the possibility being considered was buying, in addition to a (sub?)compact tractor for more obviously tractor-y things, a lawn tractor (or maybe zero turn) just to mow the "flat" stuff instead of buying the MMM, for the sake of some combination of efficiency (our multiple, disconnected "flat" areas have a decent amount of tighter spots and corners)/convenience (since the MMM should come off for the woods)/fewer hours on the tractor (there's some hand-waving in the net benefit there). I'm fairly certain those particular areas would be "safe," albeit perhaps a bit bumpy in spots. There are some additional areas of gently sloping hill that a riding mower would probably do fine in. I'm still not really sure how I feel about it – I can see benefits on both sides. I can say, however, that nothing beyond a mid-range (or "high-mid"-range) mower would be in the budget.
Since 1995 I have used a Deere 955 (33HP/27 PTO compact 4WD) with a 72" midmount finish mower and a 5' rotary cutter (for some of the roadside and an area south of the creek I only cut a few times each year). The combination has worked well, I mow 4.5 acres with the midmount which takes just under 2 hours.

I have a Kubota F2690 with 72" rear discharge deck on order, waiting for Kubota to ship the deck so that the dealer can deliver it and the 2690 to me. I will continue to use the Deere for a lot of tasks but I am buying the F-2690 to mostly retire the Deere from finish mowing duty. My reasons are I would like to be able to leave the loader on the Deere and a mounted loader while finish mowing is awkward. The Deere 955 is also fairly heavy and when I have to mow even slightly damp grass, the weight of the tractor front wheels in front of the deck force mowing very slowly or there will be tire strips that are slightly longer than the rest of the grass even using high lift blades. The Kubota front mount mower takes the cut before the "tractor" body rolls over the grass and it will also be nice to have the deck where it can go under trees without me being on top of it under the tree.

I started out looking at different Deere and Kubota diesel ZTR mowers but the more I learned about them, I found they weren't well suited for several parts of the area I finish mow (fairly steep slopes that I sometimes have to mow when it is damp during the Spring). I realized with a ZTR that I would still be using the Deere compact to mow a lot of the area so for me the front mount made more sense. The F series also has a nice deck offset to one side which will allow me to mow near a couple of very steep drop off points without having an equipment tire right on the edge.

My 955 compact with both finish and rotary mowers does everything I need and does so safely but I want something that will be a bit faster while also avoiding adding a lot of additional mowing hours to a very versatile compact tractor that I use with a loader, snow blower, blade, and tiller. If I were you I would start with a good Kubota compact with a midmount finish and rough cut 3 pt deck and try that for a season or two and then decide how much a smaller mower would be useful and which type is best suited for the terrain that you would use it for.

Rodger
 

bird dogger

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Kubota B2650 and lots of other equipment
Feb 24, 2019
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bd, our roadside ditches now tend to be deep 'V' style, 3-6' deep and not very wide at the top.Least not full size tractor accessible. Decades ago they were, and county had custom A-C B tractors with belly mounted sickle bar mowers and small diameter wheels on the right side. Funny to see on the road,made sense when mowing(engine gets oil !, driver 'level' and safe. Those ditches were more broad and shallower(5-6 decades ago).
The new ditches are great at filling up with snow, and capturing 'too fast' drivers of cars and pickups !
County now has expensive air conditioned tractors with articulated arm and cutter on the end.
:) Jay, agreed, ditches are done differently in different areas of the country for whatever the reasons. I just couldn't help but comment, though, on your "one size fits all" post above. Everybody's situation is different. I get a kick out of some posts that say things like: Always get the tire's loaded before it leaves the dealership!! Or.....never get loaded tires, just use wheel weights! Don't bother with a midmount mower as only a zeroturn is the way to go. Front snowblower only!!! And if you choose otherwise to any of the above, you'll be extremely sorry....if not dead. :ROFLMAO: The list could go on and on. One size never fits all, at least that's my opinion.

noob, once you get the tractor/mower setup of your choice and very carefully tame the hillsides for the first few times....you'll find out what might be too steep to mow along the sides or has to be mown straight up and down. But once you get used to your set up and know the ground your operating over, chances are that it won't be as scary a task as it first appears. It's always good to be leery, focused, and on guard when working your slopes.
 
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PaulL

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B2601
Jul 17, 2017
1,306
520
113
NZ
Would recommend the OP minimize side slope mowing until he becomes quite familiar with tractor operation. AND that he wear his seatbelt and keep the ROPS up!

You never know when things are going to turn bad, and very often no time to react when they do.
Yes, last time I tipped my tractor I had the ROPS folded and no seat belt on. I jumped off (instinct), and of course I jumped off the low side (also instinct). It was only just tipping so I could hold it up once I was off it. But in a more severe roll that instinct would have seen me dead - the tractor would have gone right over top of me.
 

PaulL

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B2601
Jul 17, 2017
1,306
520
113
NZ
Just to be clear, since you mention safety, the possibility being considered was buying, in addition to a (sub?)compact tractor for more obviously tractor-y things, a lawn tractor (or maybe zero turn) just to mow the "flat" stuff instead of buying the MMM, for the sake of some combination of efficiency (our multiple, disconnected "flat" areas have a decent amount of tighter spots and corners)/convenience (since the MMM should come off for the woods)/fewer hours on the tractor (there's some hand-waving in the net benefit there). I'm fairly certain those particular areas would be "safe," albeit perhaps a bit bumpy in spots. There are some additional areas of gently sloping hill that a riding mower would probably do fine in. I'm still not really sure how I feel about it – I can see benefits on both sides. I can say, however, that nothing beyond a mid-range (or "high-mid"-range) mower would be in the budget.
My recommendation would be get the tractor first. Use it for a while. Then, if you think you'd get more efficiency from a zero turn or a rider, look at them then. If you go the other way around the family financial controller may not let you get the tractor....

Having said that, if you were mowing with a zero turn, then it would make sense to have a close look at a L2501. Once you're not mowing, that's a lot more tractor for not a lot more money.

I still believe that you'd end up using your MMM for most of what you thing you'd use a brush hog for. To me a brush hog is used only for things that can grow 1/4 inch or more shrubs between times you mow it. If you're mowing at least once a month, that just won't happen. The MMM will happily eat anything smaller than that.

In terms of levelling the bits that are bumpy with ruts etc, that's a one time job. I worry less about stability on a one time job, because you only do it once so you don't have time to get overly comfortable and start taking risks. One option for rutted territory is buy a cheap roller that you fill with water. Wait till it's just the right amount of wet, and roll it. Up and down only of course, 'cause I've deliberately picked a time when the ground is soft and slippery. Again, it's something you do infrequently so it's plausible to be very careful whilst doing it.

There are a lot of possible answers. I'd say a B or an LX is in the right size range for that size property, I personally think a BX is a bit small. An L is at the top end but would be nice - but means giving up any MMM on the tractor. I personally like the MMM on my tractor, despite most people liking zero turns etc (I also don't have space to store two machines). A B or LX will hold their value incredibly well. So there's not a lot of risk in buying one and using it for 2-3 years, and if it turns out you'd rather a zero turn + an L, you're not going to lose a lot of money on the transaction.