Drum Mower? Flail Mower? Which do I need?

Drum Mower? Flail Mower? Which do I need?

Here at Tractor Tools Direct we field quite a few phone calls, chats, and emails asking about different types of mowers and their uses. This blog will discuss the differences between the two types of mowers we carry–drum mowers and flail mowers–and explain why they are not interchangeable. They definitely have very different uses on a small farm.

A drum mower is a hay mower. Its purpose is to cut the stem of a crop at its base leaving the cut plant as unscathed and complete as possible. This allows for easy pick up by a hay baler with little material loss. The mown grasses produced by a drum mower are meant to be harvested, not left in the field to decompose. The thick piles of grass and/or legumes created by a drum mower will not easily decompose, and may hinder or even prohibit future pasture growth if not removed. In addition, a drum mower is not recommended for tough jobs like mowing brush or severely overgrown woody areas, due to its smaller, free swinging blades.

On the other hand, a flail moweris a multi-use mulching mower. Flail mowers are ideal machines for maintaining field edges, trails, pastures, and clearing overgrown areas and brush. Cut material is held under the mower allowing it to be shredded, and then the finer clippings are distributed evenly across the full width of the mower. This ensures that clippings do not clump and pile, potentially killing regrowth and eventually leaving bare spots in the field. However, flail mowers chop biomass too finely for pick up by a hay baler and thus cannot be used for hay production.

So if you are looking for a mower to produce hay, a drum mower is the perfect choice. If you are looking for a mower to handle tough property maintenance jobs, a flail mower is the way to go.

For more information on these mowers and others, please check out these past blogs:

If you have further questions, please visit our website at or give us a call at 260-BALE-HAY today! 

Oct 1st 2022 Marti Goodwin

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