When is a drum mower the right choice for your operation?
Trying to decide which type of mower to purchase can seem like a daunting task. At Siromer Tractors we believe in not only providing high quality implements to our customers but also in providing top quality information to help you in your purchase. Since mowers come in all shapes and sizes, many of our customers need help in determining which type will best meet their needs. In this post we’ll help you to determine if a drum mower could be just that!
What is a drum mower’s uses, and how does it work?
Typically, a drum mower is used for hay cutting, not finish or topping. The standard drum mower has two counter-rotating drums that are powered from a gearbox above. Each drum is essentially a cylinder of 10-14 inches in diameter and length of 15-24 inches, with a large disc attached to the bottom. Depending on the model, either 3 or 4 free-swinging blades are attached to each of these discs. When in operation, the entire drum/disc/blade assembly rotates. This heavy rotating mass creates a great deal of momentum, which helps to power the mower through thick spots in the field.
As a drum mower moves through the field, the drums are rotating toward each other, which causes the cut crop to pass between the drums and be dropped in a windrow behind the mower. This windrowing effect eventually must be spread back out with a tedder or rake in order for the hay to dry properly.
Drum mower advantages are:
No hydraulic requirement. You do not have to have hydraulics on your tractor. For transport, the drums swing to the rear of the tractor manually.
Durability. Drum mowers are easily the most rugged of the hay mower types. They rarely sustain damage even from striking an unmovable object. This makes them a great choice for contract cutting in unfamiliar fields or for mowing unruly pastures.
High ground speeds. A drum mower can be run at even higher speeds than a disc mower, and double the speed of a sickle bar.
Low power consumption. This feature is important particularly for compact tractors of modest horsepower.
Drum mower disadvantages are:
Contour mowing. Because the drums are very heavy, it is not recommended to hang the mower out over a downward slope. Drum mowers also do not pivot enough to effectively follow extreme contours like a sickle bar will.
Weight. The drum mower’s heavy weight can be detrimental for tractors with light front ends. Drum mowers are very heavy in relation to other mower types of the same width. This can make manoeuvrability and transport difficult if there is not sufficient weight holding the front wheels of the tractor down. Siromer supply a 1.35m drum mower with a short chassis to help overcome this problem.
Windrowing. Drum mowers windrow the cut crop, it will not dry in the field without being spread out or double-raked.