Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Oxen › Oxen Mowing Machine Recommendations
- July 10, 2015 at 10:57 am #85813
In the constant search to find new “things” for my oxen to drag around, been looking into a sickle bar mower. With the little research I’ve done, I’m thinking a McCormick #9 with the high gear might be the best for my Devon teams. Looking for input from others. I have a couple small meadows that hardly justify mowing, but would make a good training environment for the boys.
Remsen, NYJuly 12, 2015 at 10:55 am #85819Kevin CunninghamParticipant
I have been trying to find the old thread about which mowers are geared for slower animals. I know there is a difference for slower paced oxen, but I am wondering how fast do your Devons step up? I would also like to find a good mower at some point but I am pretty sure that I will have to drag one out of the bushes and restore it.July 12, 2015 at 1:46 pm #85820dominiquer60Moderator
From what I remember of the conversation, the #9 High Gear is better for the slower oxen (still may need to keep after them), but a good quicker team can handle the likes of a regular #9.July 12, 2015 at 9:57 pm #85821
Thank you for the input, especially about the high gear. These Devons step up pretty good and I often have to get after them to slow down so I can keep up. It would be a good excuse to teach them how to drive from behind with lines, I guess! Of course let’s see how quick they are after a few acres of thick grass.July 13, 2015 at 4:35 pm #85822Kevin CunninghamParticipant
That is also what I thought I remembered. My next question is how do you tell a high gear from a low gear aside from counting the gears. Are there any markers or placards? I know where there are some old mowers sitting in the bushes and I am not an expert in telling them apart.July 14, 2015 at 10:21 pm #85826JayParticipant
Both the #7 and the #9 have “Regular Gear” or “High gear” stamped in to the lid of the tool box on the mower. JayJuly 15, 2015 at 7:22 am #85827
Thank you again. Good tip to know.July 16, 2015 at 12:52 pm #85828Donn HewesKeymaster
The “high gear” refers to the gear ration between wheel speed and knife speed. The “high gear” mowers knife will move about 10% faster than the “regular gear” at the same ground speed. Said another way, a team walking a little slower would still have good knife speed with a high gear mower. Mowers need a good knife speed and some momentum to work well.
Many have asked why all mowers weren’t made this way. The high gear will be a bit of a catch 22 with some advantages and some disadvantages. With the higher knife speed it may pull harder for the same acreage. With horses (or oxen) that walk a little slower this might be a good trade off. The pull required could also be adjusted with bar length. Five foot might be a good place to start with the high gear. While I have fixed some and seen some high gears work, I have never run one myself.
For folks with the “regular gear” mower, many find that they need to make the horses “rush”, or keep walking fast to keep the mower cutting. While it is essential to keep forward momentum in heavy mowing, one of the tricks I have learned is that my mowers will mow at a slightly slower, stead walk, if I ensure a good steady movement. With practice this is much easier to maintain than asking them to rush. This also depends on the perfect tuning discussed earlier. Figure out how much speed your mower really needs.July 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm #85832
Very good explanation. Thank you.September 14, 2015 at 5:20 pm #86102dlskidmoreParticipant
Five foot cutter bar is a good place to start, would you expect to be able to work up to a longer bar? Or are you as likely to need to adjust downwards?
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