Alan Beat writes about a machine that has stood him in good stead over the years

Alan Beat writes about a machine that has stood him in good stead over the yearsI bought this Kuhn disc mower at a farm sale for £200. It has four rotary cutting discs mounted on a flat beam that slides along the ground, gliding under the crop being mown to leave a flat swathe behind. There are two cutting blades in each disc, swivelling outwards by centrifugal force into the working position, but yielding against an obstruction; these blades are easy to resharpen or replace. The height of cut is set by adjusting the height at which the beam slides above the ground. Drive is transmitted from the tractor PTO via fixed ratio gearing and rubber belts. All in all, it’s solidly made and has given no problems at all since purchase more than a decade ago. In use, this mower cuts straight through mole heaps without hesitation and flings aside small stones (so I always keep any bystanders well clear). It copes with a lodged crop almost as well as a standing one, leaving the ground clean for turning and baling. On our wetter ground it readily cuts thick clumps of soft rush and encroaching thickets of bramble. If I really work it too hard, the rubber belts squeal a warning and forward speed can be reduced accordingly. One useful feature on some models is hydraulic lifting of the beam into the transport position for passing through gateways; on mine this is carried out by hand operated screw jack, which is time-consuming and quite hard work; so if I bought another mower, this feature would definitely be on my wish-list.

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