The three main categories of forage cutting machines are sickle bar mowers (old school), drum mowers (simple design and economical) and disc mowers (high speed, gear drive train).
Sickle bar mowers are still very popular choices for discriminating customers. Many farmers like the cut of a sickle bar mower, and the way the hay falls gently in a windrow directly behind the cutter bar. Unfortunately, due to reducing demand for sickle bar mowers, we have seen machine prices rise to the point of pricing out smaller farmers who need a simple mowing machine.
There are only a few manufacturers left in the sickle bar mower universe. Gaspardo is one manufacturer that continues to produce sickle bar mowers and continues to improve the design.
Drum mowers offer an entry level machine, priced to be attractive alternative to a sickle bar mower. A simple belt drive mechanism rotates two large drums that float on the ground contour. The lower edge of the drum is fitted with a disc mower style blade, allowing for decent mowing speeds. The one disadvantage to a drum mower is the limited working width due to the drum size.
Disc mowers are the fastest hay mowing machines available. A gear drive system (fully sealed in an oil bath drive) powers low profile cutting discs that rotate with a high RPM. Disc mowers can have narrow widths, or wider widths, depending on the length of the drive train and number of discs. Usually the size of the mower is matched to the available tractor. If the disc mower is fitted with a crimper, or rollers, the machine becomes a mower conditioner. The big disadvantage to the disc mower is the relatively complex drive train, which can be difficult to overhaul and repair should damage occur.
View all mowing options here: Hay Mowing Machines