Flail Mower


Well-Known Member
So I plant 4-5 acres of corn every year to help the deer get through our tough winters. In the spring, I bush hog it and rake up the residue. Thing is, the leading edge of the cutter tends to knock stalks down flat making the rotary cutter of modest use. When using a York rake to clean up the residue, I inevitably loose precious topsoil. I’ve toyed around with lowering the cutter on an angle and lower it to cut some of the residue up....but with mixed results.

I’d love to be able to reincorporate all the trash for for enhanced nutrients. For those who have experience with a flail mower, please advise on how you think it would. I’d hate to spend the coin on a quality piece of equipment only to have it not make a material difference. Thoughts?
A flail mower is often the implement of choice for farmers to chop corn stubble, but your Bush Hog should do the trick for you without buying another piece of equipment. I'd try lifting it a bit higher, and/or tilting the front edge up higher by lengthening the 3 point top link. I've never heard of cleaning up corn stubble with a York rake? If chopping doesn't quite make the fodder manageable I'd sooner run a disc over it a time or two. The corn fodder is doing the most good for preventing erosion if you don't move it, and partially incorporating it into the soil will help prevent erosion. Discing last years corn fodder to prep soil for planting in the spring is standard practice for farmers. Disc until it's compatible with your planting methods. If you have a notill drill less disking is needed than for conventional tillage.
Can you plant into your stalks first and then bush hog it down and leave it lay? If your stalks aren't breaking down, something isn't working right. What do you do for tillage (or non) and spraying?
All my corn is broadcast and all the trash would really be a problem. MM, I do disc the stalks trying to cut them up. It still leaves way to much trash in the ground. Raking the big stalks has proven most effective.

If the grain is all used up, and the snow dissipates, knocking it down will facilitate naturally breaking down. If there’s still grain on the stalks, I’m hesitant to knock it down because we routinely have 40” snow storms in late February or March (I like to keep it available for the deer).

I’m just trying to learn a more efficient method.... It may be the ultimate answer is a heavy no till planter.
I used to simply knockdown the stalks with my FEL and just plow mine under. Then disc or roto-tiller. If your broadcasting seed, your going to have to work the soil anyway. I don't do near 4 or 5 acres either.....