Tom's Blog

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mowing fire breaks with the Kubota

There are lots of ways of creating fire breaks, but the fastest and best is with a tractor. For the small prairie remnants that we burn here in southern Wisconsin, the breaks don't need to be real wide, and a small Kubota tractor is ideal. I'm not talking about a 50-100 horsepower tractor, but one of the small ones sold for use around small "estates". The one we have is about 18 HP.

We have owned our Kubota for about six years and it has served us very well. Although it has a PTO and 3-point hitch, suitable for use with a small brush mower, for prairie and savanna fire breaks, the under deck mower works well and is very easy to use. No fussing around hooking up the brush hog. Just climb aboard and start mowing. The photo shows Kathie "touching up" a fire break at Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie, one of the prime Prairie Enthusiasts preserves. She had mowed the fire breaks late last fall but since we are burning tomorrow, another pass today made good sense.

The impressive thing about our Kubota is that it is able to handle even small brush.

I know a lot of people mow fire breaks with walk-behind mowers such as the DR or Ferris. These are a lot cheaper, and just as effective, but on the kinds of hills we have to deal with, the operator needs to be young and strong. On the other hand, even an 80-year old in reasonable shape can operate a Kubota.

In addition to fire breaks, we use the Kubota to mow hiking and ATV trails; only two passes (over and back) are needed.

And when you are all finished with your prairie work, you can use it to mow your lawn!


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