The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Equipment => Topic started by: Womble on October 21, 2020, 08:20:53 pm

Title: Topping a small acreage
Post by: Womble on October 21, 2020, 08:20:53 pm
OK, TAS hive mind, I need your help!  :)

Up until now, we've been topping our fields using a vintage walk-behind mower, but it has finally died.

Part of me is disappointed, but part of me thinks there must be a better way of topping 5 acres than sweating away behind a 1 ft cutting width mower...... but what!?

I already have a 4x4 which does everything except mow, and I really don't want to buy a tractor - it just seems like expensive overkill for such a small acreage, so I started looking at things like "Scag" walk-behind mowers (the type the council use for rough ground), but again they're a lot of money for what they are.

So what do the rest of you do? Do you all have mini tractors, or is there another solution that works?
Title: Re: Topping a small acreage
Post by: sheeponthebrain on October 21, 2020, 08:48:49 pm
why not get a topper for the quad bike? it could be pulled behind the 4x4. expensive to buy but far less donkey work and far quicker
Title: Re: Topping a small acreage
Post by: Fleecewife on October 22, 2020, 03:14:42 am
We have two tractors for 9 acres.  One was a gift and is fairly clapped out but enables us to make our own hay.  The other is a Siromer which we bought in kit form nearly 1/4 of a century ago and we use it for so many things around the holding.  We have a topper which means we can whizz around the paddocks in no time as often as necessary, instead of wasting time which we could use in other ways, trudging around behind a walking version.
It's a good idea to project costs versus time for the probable life of any machinery and of you, and you see that when the cost is spread so thinly it really isn't much.  And what else would you spend it on?  We have never regretted buying our Siromer, which was new, as opposed to a 'little grey Fergie' which was the other option but would have needed many hours of mechanicking to keep functioning and would probably have cost as much once parts were added to the equation.
Title: Re: Topping a small acreage
Post by: Buttermilk on October 22, 2020, 07:00:24 am
Or you could try some gang mowers.
Title: Re: Topping a small acreage
Post by: Backinwellies on October 22, 2020, 07:11:29 am
we have flail mower for quad to do ours
Title: Re: Topping a small acreage
Post by: macgro7 on October 22, 2020, 10:19:03 am
How about this sort of thing: (

Title: Re: Topping a small acreage
Post by: Bramham Wiltshire Horns on October 22, 2020, 01:59:10 pm
I am glad you brought it up Womble

i am in the same predicament so will read on and see what peoples ideas are,

i have thought about a walk behind mower and Quad/topper, i also like the idea behind buying a fergie but cant justify the cost at the moment.

i have a brush cutter and strimmer but thats no fun.

i am just tempted to get a Quad topper for the Landrover to pull around.
Title: Re: Topping a small acreage
Post by: arobwk on October 22, 2020, 03:09:06 pm
The mind boggles @Womble at you "topping" 5 acres with a tiddly mower (especially if it was a "lawn" mower!).  Anything is going to be an improvement. 

I'm also wondering why you are topping 5ac with a mini mower at all - you can't surely be taking hay by that method!?

Anyway, my thoughts (in no particular order): 

Anything towed by your 4WD will leave corners and tight-up field margins to be dealt with by other means, but you might be happy with that - if so, the gang mower or towed power-mower would be a good option as suggested by others.  Not exactly cheap as chips though, although you might (??) find 2nd-hand.

Friendly farmer neighbour for a few quid or even for free if they can cut for haylage or whatever. (Fertilizer required for good year-on-year harvest obviously - if you pay for that, then you might actually be able to ask farmer to pay you for the grass crop!!)  Of course depends on how many times a year you want a cut.  If more than 2 cuts, then you will almost certainly be paying your neighbour!  However, well worth considering and comparing with the capital outlay on any kind of capable meadow mower. (Field corners and tight-up-to field hedges might still need to be considered.)

Two wheeled tractor with sickle-bar cutter (as already mentioned by macgro7).  This should allow you do get into the corners and up tight to hedges although you might wish to kick-through the mole-hills to flatten before a cut!  (Unfortunately 2nd-hand offers for sale are pretty scarce I have found.)

Some four-legged friends  :)   (Not quite as hassle-free as the friendly neighbour with a topper or other machinery options - unless a farmer neighbour would like a bit of extra grazing through-out the year.)