Tell me about toppers

laura_nash

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Help! I'm feeling seriously out of my depth here.

So we got about 6 acres of grazing and a MF35 tractor with our house. Sadly the MF was feeling a bit sorry for itself, it started but lacked a few things like brakes and steering. My OH has just finished re-building it and now its time to put it to work. I know I want a chain harrow and a topper, but now I've started looking I find there are all different kinds of topper and I have no idea what I actually want.

Money is seriously tight and it will certainly be secondhand. I keep seeing lots like this: https://www.donedeal.ie/toppers-for-sale/topper/12721947 but I'm not sure if this has the ground clearance to cope with rough fields? What do you use for topping and what would you recommend?
 

Mike007

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those side skids can be unbolted and moved down for greater ground clearance.The semi offset thing is usefull because your tractor wheels flatten the grass so the wheel lines dont get topped. This way you only have one wheel line. Quite an asset with a 6ft topper. Price seems good too. By the way ,there is a company called Agriline who can sell you all the bits you could ever need for your tractor. I practicaly have them on speed dial. They are great. Any further questions ,dont hesitate to pm me.Edited to say,find a friendly irish farmer willing to chat about tractors (now that isnt going to be hard!) and get him or her to teach you about tractors. They are great when they are your friend but deadly if you dont keep them on a tight rein.(bit like my Irtish draft)
 
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Pen

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You might want to consider a flail mower instead of a topper as they scatter the cut grass instead of leaving it in rows which then need dispersing to avoid lines of rotting grass. We have this problem this year as we have too much grass and have topped twice but its been too wet to break up the rows the topper has left.
 

Pen

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We have a found flail mowers suitable for our compact tractor(20hp) so I would have thought they would be ok for a MF135.
 

pennyturner

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I have a MF35 and a similar offset topper. Just the job for your 6 acres, I would say. I started with a topper and a transport box, then built up my collection of toys one by one, second hand or cheap. Particularly useful are pallet forks (quicker and easier to move things than a trailer or transport box), and a PTO driven compressor.

The MF35 should run a flail if you want, but I haven't found a single rotor topper to be a problem - I think it's the double rotor ones that pile it up in rows.
 

laura_nash

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those side skids can be unbolted and moved down for greater ground clearance.The semi offset thing is usefull because your tractor wheels flatten the grass so the wheel lines dont get topped. This way you only have one wheel line. Quite an asset with a 6ft topper. Price seems good too. By the way ,there is a company called Agriline who can sell you all the bits you could ever need for your tractor. I practicaly have them on speed dial. They are great. Any further questions ,dont hesitate to pm me.Edited to say,find a friendly irish farmer willing to chat about tractors (now that isnt going to be hard!) and get him or her to teach you about tractors. They are great when they are your friend but deadly if you dont keep them on a tight rein.(bit like my Irtish draft)
Thanks Mike007, that's very reassuring and I will PM if needed thanks. Good to hear the price is reasonable too as I have no idea really, but seen several similar ones locally for a similar price. The tractor mechanics is very much OH's jurisdiction, he used to regularly re-build motorbikes and has found the tractor easy enough to pick up, he has said parts are very easy to get hold of. We have lots of friendly local farmers, but they mostly seem to take their tractors to one local guy for all work, plus the most helpful one is pretty keen on us renting him half the land (which we did the first couple of years, and he has rented for 15 years before) so I feel awkward asking him about this stuff.

I have a MF35 and a similar offset topper. Just the job for your 6 acres, I would say. I started with a topper and a transport box, then built up my collection of toys one by one, second hand or cheap. Particularly useful are pallet forks (quicker and easier to move things than a trailer or transport box), and a PTO driven compressor.

The MF35 should run a flail if you want, but I haven't found a single rotor topper to be a problem - I think it's the double rotor ones that pile it up in rows.
Thanks pennyturner, I'll make sure its a single rotor one then. I never thought of a pallet fork, that would be really handy!. We do have a transport box but it needs a new bottom.
 

TTK

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I have a MF35 with an offset topper and it's just great for rough ground. You can, as mentioned previously, raise it on the skids. When you go round a 45 degree corner, raise the topper or it puts too much strain on the lifting arms and drive shaft. My new toy is am 8' folding frame chain harrow. I bought a frame one so I didn't have a chain Harrow lying about waiting to be driven over! And the folding frame means it goes through gates.

Oooo, I like the sound of pallet forks - new toys to buy.
 

Dry Rot

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The answer to topping is, I think, not to leave it too long between toppings! Then you don't have a lot of cut grass to rot down.

I am currently harrowing poo and that seems to be a bit of a black art. Some piles of poo disintegrate and spread nicely when harrowed, others just break up into small lumps which get spread around and foul the ground for weeks. One thing I have found is that dragging an old railway sleeper behind the haropws is great for breaking up poo and mole hills and spreading the debris.
 

laura_nash

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The answer to topping is, I think, not to leave it too long between toppings! Then you don't have a lot of cut grass to rot down.

I am currently harrowing poo and that seems to be a bit of a black art. Some piles of poo disintegrate and spread nicely when harrowed, others just break up into small lumps which get spread around and foul the ground for weeks. One thing I have found is that dragging an old railway sleeper behind the haropws is great for breaking up poo and mole hills and spreading the debris.
Thanks Dry Rot. I'm only really topping to tidy up the long bits so shouldn't ever be cutting any quantity of long grass, if a field gets too long I just leave it and get our neighbour to cut it for hay. Luckily one of our neighbours is a very helpful agricultural contractor so we have no problems with the big stuff like haymaking, but they are too busy to just come and harrow or top a small field when we need it doing.

I'll have to see how the harrowing goes but we don't have any molehills (no moles or rabbits here :) ). Usually the poo is pretty well pecked apart by the birds, but 'll bear in mind the extra railway sleeper spreader idea if needed.
 

Rowreach

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Definitely handier to have your own kit and do the job when it needs doing (and the weather allows). I just sold my offset topper and we're using a flail because the offset was no good on rushy ground. Don't know whereabouts you are but I'd try local machinery sales and you may grab a bargain (cheaper than DoneDeal).
 

laura_nash

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Definitely handier to have your own kit and do the job when it needs doing (and the weather allows). I just sold my offset topper and we're using a flail because the offset was no good on rushy ground. Don't know whereabouts you are but I'd try local machinery sales and you may grab a bargain (cheaper than DoneDeal).
Thanks Rowreach. I'm on the south Mayo / north Galway border, I'll have to look into local machinery sales. Our rushy ground is separated off (with very tractor-unfriendly access) so I wouldn't be topping that.
 
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