A: If you are using one of the popular brands, you have several options. But I would be sure to look at the mowers from Trimax and Broadwood International.
Trimax is a New Zealand-based company well known for its wide-area mowers such as the 16ft and 20ft Pegasus roller mowers. It began manufacturing in the UK recently, starting with the FlailDek FX.
With working widths of 1.35m, 1.52m and 1.83m, the FlailDek FX can be specified with suitable couplings to enable it to be fitted in place of the standard rotary cutter deck on most popular makes, including units from John Deere, Toro, Iseki, Kubota and New Holland.
A key feature is the fitting of Gamma long-life flails formed from high-tensile, hardened alloy steel that combine a straight cutting edge for an even cut with an aerodynamic profile for reduced horsepower requirement, but with sufficient draught to prevent clogging.
This flail mower also incorporates Trimax's Converter, which alters the machine's set up to enable cost-effective operation across a wide range of grass lengths and conditions from fine, close-cut turf to rough, stalky grass and weeds up to a metre in height.
I also suggest you look at the Wessex ProLine machines from Broadwood International. It offers the 1.5m TGX-150 out-front flail to cope with longer grass in areas such as roadside verges yet still gives a good finish to sports turf. You can match it to Kubota, John Deere, Iseki and Shibaura machines.
The latest out-front flail from Broadwood is the TGX-150H. It has been developed with Ransomes Jacobsen, specifically for the HR3300T. Like the other ProLine machine, this new model features a 305mm heavy-duty rotor shaft and rear roller with replaceable end caps and spigot shafts for reduced service costs.
Finally, Major Equipment is currently designing a new flail for out-front rider mowers but as yet cannot give me a launch date. The company previously offered the MT21 Out-front Flail Mower with 1.55m cutting width. Strongly built, you may still find one at a machinery sale.
It fits the Kubota 3680 out-front and John Deere 1435 and 1565 machines. It can also be used on the older Iseki out-front mowers - the SF300-303 and SF330-330. Note that Ransomes Jacobsen offers a 60in flail mower for the new Iseki 301 and 370 out-front models.
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Sally Drury has been reporting on product developments and testing kit for 29 years. The advice given in this helpline is independent.