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Ford Tractors Discussion Forum

How big of a bush hog should I buy for '55 ford 850

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09-22-2019 11:58:31

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This is a great group of people here. Your posts from the archives and the answers today are so helpful. Thank you for being there for all of us newbies.

I am looking at a number of rotary cutters to match up to my '55 ford 850 tractor. I believe there is several considerations for the match up:

1. PTO HP. Don't overload the machine. It appears that many 6 ft. cutters will be okay for the 39 HP that this tractor produces at the pto shaft, if it still does??

2. Weight of the cutter compared to the tractor lift capacity. The tractor spec is 1200 lbs. at the lift arms, if the tractor can still heft that. It appears that a 800 lb. cutter may be okay. Some of the heavy duty 6 ft. cutters are considerably heavier than 800 lbs. I have 240 lbs. of wheel weights on the front and I can put the snow plow on the front for additional weight so the tractor will be balanced for steering control with a heavy cutter. With this much front weight will a 1000 lb. cutter be prudent?

The rear tires 14.9 x 28 are loaded with calcium (approximately 35 gallons) for traction and there is 200 lbs. of iron weights attached to the inside of the each rear rim. This should mitigate the rollover tendency, as long as I don't get stupid, on side hills.

Like I wrote earlier I am a newbie, and my feeling is that heavier cutters that are treated with proper maintenance will outlast a lighter cutter. I don't mind paying for a heavier duty machine as long as my decision accomplishes the following:

1 Safety first
2 Doesn't wear out this old tractor
3 Provides good cutting performance
4 Provides reliability that justifies the investment in the cutter.

There is a lot to wade through for this decision, probably more than I have mentioned. Please comment.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.


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09-23-2019 03:01:00

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 Re: How big of a bush hog should I buy for '55 ford 850 in reply to tripper225, 09-22-2019 11:58:31  
I don t know your needs but something to think about. I started out with a 5 bush hog hooked to a 3000 and after clearing 8 wooded acres went to a 3 blade 6 Land pride finish mower. I ll tell you it would also cut some heavy stuff too, on real heavy would set higher on the first swath. I think I could have just went with the finish mower to start with but again depends on your purpose. This was all before the zero turn which I use now for mowing, what a great invention for getting around trees.

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09-22-2019 17:25:54

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 Re: How big of a bush hog should I buy for '55 ford 850 in reply to tripper225, 09-22-2019 11:58:31  
A 6 footer will be fine. I pull one with a 4 cylinder 4000 and have no problems.

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09-22-2019 16:51:13

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 Re: How big of a bush hog should I buy for '55 ford 850 in reply to tripper225, 09-22-2019 11:58:31  
Six foot.

Preferably not too heavy. If too heavy, you will need front weights.


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Ultradog MN

09-22-2019 15:00:35

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 Re: How big of a bush hog should I buy for '55 ford 850 in reply to tripper225, 09-22-2019 11:58:31  
I run a very heavy, 1400? lb 6 foot Bush Hog brand mower behind my 3000. It's a lot for the tractor to heft so I generally carry quite a bit of the weight on the tail wheel.
There's about 200 lbs of bumper and weights on it which are pretty far forward. Also have about an 80 lb cast iron oil pan which adds some weight forward where you need it.
A 3000 is about 37 pto hp so you have a few ponies on me which helps.
I don't abuse the tractor but I don't baby it either.
I used to have the same model Bush Hog but a 5' - (405 vs 406) I like the 6' better and would not go back to a 5. My tractor does have a couple of advantages over yours. One, I have slower gears which helps sometimes and two, mine has live PTO so I can more easily stop the tractor and let the engine catch up to the load if need be. Mostly though, the two tractors are pretty evenly matched and yours would do as well with a heavy 6'.
A lot of guys swear by using sway bars with their mower. I do not use them. I think sway bars make your tractor/mower one long, rigid, contiguous machine which I do not like.
I like to give the mower some side to side flex back there and with a quick flip of the steering wheel can sashay it away from obstacles better.
Lastly, don't forget if you get into some real heavy stuff you can take less than a full swath.

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Billy NY

09-22-2019 13:32:56

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 Re: How big of a bush hog should I buy for '55 ford 850 in reply to tripper225, 09-22-2019 11:58:31  
I ran a 6'-0" wide Rhino SE-6 on the same tractor, '55 850 for 14 years, cutting tall grasses, brush and everything else in between. Some of things that matter in regards to rotary cutters is making sure they are adjusted to the tractor properly, (MFR's operating instructions) and keeping the blades sharp and or in good condition for what you may be cutting. I replace them periodically, depends on how trashed they get, even though one may be careful, raised up high in unknown areas, always something it seems.

Also, cutting periodically throughout the season vs full mature hard stalky weeds, so much easier on the tractor when cutting lush green growth, + you avoid all that miserable chaff, dust and so on. Only time I get dust now is if I wait until the grasses bloom, last June my 4630 was covered with yellowish chalk like pollen dust.

A lot of little things add up, I changed the blades out one year when running the 850 and I found in the same conditions I could cut in the next gear higher.

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Tom in Mo.

09-22-2019 12:21:29

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 Re: How big of a bush hog should I buy for '55 ford 850 in reply to tripper225, 09-22-2019 11:58:31  
A six footer will work great for you. Buy the best quality you can afford. A five footer is too narrow to cover your rear tire tracks.

My personal opinion on all that weight is my mower tractor is the lightest one I have. No calcium, no weights, etc. Lighter means less mashing of what you're trying to cut.

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