What Is a Rotary Cutter and How Is It Used?

April 11, 2017

A rotary cutter is a tractor-mounted implement that’s used to help control overgrowth of properties and pastures that have been inundated with brush or tall weeds.

What is a Rotary Cutter

These implements are often times confused with grooming mowers. It’s important to note that the two are not the same. Rotary cutters are typically used to cut through rough plant material (up to about one inch thick) and can be adjusted to cut at low (1 1/2 inches) or higher (9 inches) heights. After the rough material has been cut, the rotary cutter will leave the material on the ground behind.

On the flip side, grooming mowers are implements used to provide a finer finish to a surface like a sports field. The grooming mower will not be able to cut through the same rough materials that the rotary cutter can go through, and the rotary cutter can not provide the smooth finish that the grooming mower can.

Frontier Rotary Cutters come in widths that range from four to seven feet and require a tractor with between 18 and 90 PTO horsepower to run effectively. When choosing a cutter right for your tractor, be sure to consider the PTO horsepower of your machine and the width of the tractor’s wheelbase. The ideal cutter will reach beyond the outer limits of the tractor’s tires to avoid the tractor running over parts of grass that won’t be cut.

Checklist to Reference Before Operating a Rotary Cutter

  1. Bring your rotary cutter into a local John Deere dealer to have the blades inspected. Dull blades should be sharpened before use, and any blades that are worn out or have been damaged should be replaced. Blade sharpening is a specialized task and should only be completed by professionals.
  2. Be sure to survey the land before going to work. Driving over a hole or a tree stump could do severe damage to the cutter, yourself, and the tractor.
  3. Check the radiator screen on your tractor periodically after cutting through dense material. Thick material can get caught in the screen and could cause your engine to overheat.

Visit this page or contact your local John Deere dealer for more information about rotary cutters or other equipment used to manicure overgrown areas.

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