NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Flail mower or topper?  (Read 3809 times)


  • Joined Sep 2014
Flail mower or topper?
« on: September 14, 2014, 06:40:37 pm »
Looking into getting a compact tractor to manage our 7.5 acres - particularly cutting grass (some of it very long now and weedy) but also rotavating. Am currently looking at a 17hp Kubota 4x4. The land is quite slopey and rough in places (holes etc) - would I be better with a flail mower given several fields are full of thistles, nettles etc and the ground isn't very level or would a topper manage it? I am not bothered too much about finish - just want to get control of it over the winter and keep the grass reasonably short.

So would be grateful for your views on two questions: 1. would the Kubota be up to the job and 2. flail or topper? Also - can you get hedge cutting attachments for these compact tractors? I haven't seen any but that might be helpful in the longer term - we have hedges everywhere! :)

Thanks in advance.
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Flail mower or topper?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2014, 04:32:42 pm »
cowling agri show a small hedge brusher (combined with other tools) for compacts .. but I'd be dubious about degree of reach with a light tractor even if you water-ballast the tyres.

I've got a 43hp TYM with cab and front loader and no way would that take a brusher with enough reach for my hedges and it's a really scary drive on my slopes with the smaller front wheels to allow the loader. I pay a chap with way more experience driving these things to do the steeper bits and also have a deal with local farmer you does my hay to top them once a year.

My 5foot topper has no bother chopping through 6 foot bracken and does a good job reversed into blackthorn and bramble if not too matted. You need to top in reverse for anything thorny unless you want to spend all your time mending punctures.....

One of my decision re tractor model was based on my tall height - a cab I could get into. But with the benefit of hindsight I should have had an agri merchant come to the place and advise on type/size of tractor for the jobs I needed and then borrowed that model to try. I;d have probably bought a bigger second hand one instead of this one new.


  • Joined Sep 2014
Re: Flail mower or topper?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2014, 11:26:42 pm »
Thanks - that's helpful. I think I need to work out how steep my slopes are - I want to be sure whatever I get can safely manage them with a mower and to get things about. The hedge trimming is not critical - they have been pretty much left to their own devices for some time I think and provide some very nice shade and shelter. None are near roads or anything so trimming them isn't a priority. Good to hear that the topper manages the bracken etc - we have thistles and nettles so not much worse I think. But the ground is rough and stony  - from what I have read toppers are less robust in dealing with that kind of thing?


  • Joined Sep 2014
Re: Flail mower or topper?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2014, 12:23:14 pm »
If I've worked it out correctly the slopes are 6-12 degrees so should be doable with a tractor - in fact I was in the field and the guy next door was topping his with a Ford 8340 - reversed down - forwards up - took minutes! I managed to find a gap in the hedge to have a chat and he is happy to do ours - so that sorts the immediate problem. Might even mean we don't need a tractor at all - certainly won't rush into it.

He also has a hen house for sale and a couple of the horses we have been admiring in the field next door are for sale too (hardy live out all year cob types) - he may have seen me coming ..... but a really nice guy so good to make contact.


  • Joined Mar 2014
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Flail mower or topper?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2014, 03:03:29 pm »
Cannot comment about the Kubota but I chose a flail mower for my compact. It took a while to decide reading all the info on the net out there.

The biggest concern was the cost of a flail over the topper. Even with that I steered to the flail, my ground is very uneven in places and the flail copes very well with that. When doing the roadside verge it mushes most rubbish the motorist lobs out their window and I miss picking up.


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