|Walk behind sickle mower|
Not necessarily this make or model (Troy Bilt Trail Blazer Sickle Bar Mower), but a walk-behind sickle mower that we could use for cutting hay. Dan uses his scythe, but I was wanting a piece of equipment that could help get the job done in less time.
I've been keeping an eye on craiglist, but walk-behind sickle mowers don't come up very often. The ones I have seen have been in the $900 to $1100 range. When the Troy Bilt presented itself for $400, I had to go see. It had been taken care of and ran well. I bought it.
Dan checked it over and tested it out, then it was my turn. I mowed about a quarter of our one acre front pasture, the part where the best grass is growing.
|My first cutting of hay.|
It's heavy and does not maneuver particularly well. Neither does it have a reverse. It is self-propelled, with a wheel drive and a blade drive, operated separately with hand levers. I like that because I could "walk" it to the area I wanted to cut, or over areas I didn't want cut, such as a patch of deadly nightshade.
When we initially discussed getting a sickle mower, Dan pointed out that could get a sickle bar attachment for his walk-behind tractor. That would, of course, entail being able to find one, which I've never seen for sale around here. The other consideration is that the tractor is bigger, heavier, and more machine than I care to wrestle with. The sickle mower still requires muscling, but it is smaller and more manageable.
|Caleb checking it out.|
We actually got it a little late in the season for the best quality hay. Ours is starting to go to seed, but something is better than nothing and I can't let it go to waste. At least it's leafy and not stemmy. Dan scythed a first cutting here earlier this year and it was mostly stems. For a previous blog post about the cuts and quality of hay, click here.