How to Brush Hog (or Bush Hog) for the First Time...10 Tips That Make it Easier and Safer

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hi it's mike with asktractormike.com and

backup me today is a field of mine that

could really use mowing and I'm getting

ready to brush hog or a bush hog if you

will a bush hog he's a brand name but

I'm getting ready to take a tractor to

cutter and knock this down I'm doing a

this video really kind of targeted to

people that have never run a brush hog

before never run a rotary cutter and you

and your you're getting ready to get in

the field for the first time and you're

a little intimidated there's a lot going

on when you're when your brush hogging

and so I'm going to talk today about

number one about how to get ready for it

and what to expect it how how do you get

the tractor in and get it going and then

number two I'm going to give you ten

tips that might make the experience just

a little better and if you're a seasoned

operator some of these you might not

think about so stay with me first off

today if you grew up on a farm I think

most of us were itching to get on a

tractor from a very young age and most

of us our fathers didn't let us on a

tractor and a brush hog the first time

they they would let us drive the tractor

around with them on it and then pretty

soon we were driving a tractor around by


and then it was a a smaller step to hook

a brush hog or a rotary cutter on the

back of the tractor and go cut with it

but we had some tractor seat time before

we were out there trying to cut with a

rotary cutter and I feel real sorry for

folks that buy a tractor and a cutter

and they've never been out in the field

and that's their first experiences go

right out in the field and try to

navigate all that around because there's

a lot going on with the brush hog and a

lot to watch out for here's a list of

things to check both on your cutter and

tractor before you cut consult your

owners manual for more things I've done

videos on most of these processes okay

so now what do we do when we go to the

field well the first thing I'm telling

you on a tractor with a brush hog you

may hate seatbelts and not wear them but

if your brush hogging put that seatbelt


because there is a danger it's it's it's

not a big danger but if a rock comes out

from under that brush hog and kongs you

in the back of the head and knocks you

off and you know dive into the ground

it's not gonna be pretty what your

family finds when they find you in the


so put that seat belt on a lot of lot of

tractors will shut the engine

if you fell off but some don't so so

make sure that seatbelts on so if

anything it happens you stay on that

tractor where you're safe when to engage

the power take-off well first off

there's you need to know there's two

kinds of power take-off there's a fully

independent power take-off where you

just either throw a switch or a lever

and your PTO comes on you don't have to

touch the clutch and there are some PTO

s that usually have what's called a

two-stage clutch where you have to

clutch to engage the power take-off and

a two-stage clutch means if you push the

clutch all the way down everything stops

the power take-off and the ground speed

of the tractor if you engage the PTO and

let it up halfway the blades start

spinning and letting it up the rest of

the way and the tractor moves and and

the opposite is true if you push it a

half way down the tractor start stops

its movement PTO continues to spin push

it all the way down the PTO stops and

the tractor stay stopped so that's a

two-stage clutch now when you engage

your power take-off here's another thing

your brush hog is gonna have one or two

types of protection in case you hit

something that doesn't move it's gonna

have a shear pin which is just a light

gauge bolt that goes through that's

going to shear off and it's going to let

everything spin free and then you got to

get off a tractor and put another pin in

or it's gonna have a slip clutch and

slip clutches have to be slipped from

time to time to make sure they're worked

or barney stinson barney so whenever you

say that from time to time to make sure

they work but when you're kicking in the

power take-off try to gradually ease it

in if it's a two-stage clutch you're

gonna slowly let up on the clutch and

tell everything catches and starts going

around if it's a lever like I'll my

tractor if I just throw the lever and I

sure sure pin every time but if I

gradually ease that thing in those

blades just start spinning like this and

then they're gone and I'm fine

so be real yeah very deliberate when you

engage the power take-off now you want

to find the sweet spot of when to engage

your power take-off I usually in my mind

think you don't want to engage it at

full throttle you don't want to engage

it and idle or you may kill the tractor

I usually think the sweet spot is

somewhere around 1200 to 1600 rpm

depending on whether you're in tall

grass or not and so you're gonna rev the

engine up a little bit to that speed and

then gradually engage your pto or your

blades and then you just drive but I'm

gonna give you ten tips here that will

make that driving a little less

stressful because there's a lot of

things to watch out for and a lot of

things going on when you've got all that

spinning back there and you're trying to

watch the ground and you're trying to

navigate the tractor and not hit

anything or tip over or anything like

that so here are the ten things I'd

recommend to make your experience a

little bit easier number one I'd

recommend taking your tractor bucket off

if you've got a quick attached bucket

drop that thing in the weeds somewhere

and then take it off because especially

if you're a new operator that's that tip

of that bucket sticks way out there and

when you make a turn you could encounter

a tree or a fence post and knock

something down number two and this is

kind of common sense drive slow if

you're a hydrostatic drive put it in a

low gear and creep along a while til you

get comfortable if you're on a tractor

with a gear drive transmission put it

put it in a lower range in the lower

gear and lower Numerical and and and and

just kind of creep along until you get

comfortable that's number two number

three of course this is common sense

watch for obstructions but not only down

on the ground but up above too because

if you've got a roll bar and you go over

a lone limb or I had a guy one time went

through a one of those guy wires on a

telephone pole you know those wires that

keep the telephone lines or the power

lines tight and it tried to peel the

whole top operator area of the tractor

off when it encountered the roll bar the

roll bars are to protect you if it rolls


if you encounter something that doesn't

move with that roll bar it could be ugly

so be watching down below and up above a

lot lot to think about there watch out

for animals if you've got cattle a lot

of times a mama cow hides the calves in

the tall weeds where your brush hog and

sometimes those calves don't know to

leave so it's best to get all the

livestock out you can number four don't

start in tall wheat start your blades

going if you can sometimes you can't do


away from the tall weeds and lack of the

edge of the yard and then drive into the

tall weeds so everything's kind of

moving when you get started number five

watch your temperature gauge if

specially in stuff like this where


seed heads like this those will shatter

as the tractor goes over it these are

not real ripe yet so they're not as bad

but with another few weeks and they'll

shatter and they'll they'll suck right

into the radiator and clog up your

radiator and pretty soon your engine is

getting hot so keep an eye on your

tractor temperature gauge ever ever a

few minutes while your brush Auggie

number six get some kind of sun

protection there's nothing that'll cook

you any faster than being out on a 90

degree day on a tractor seat but nothing

to protect you from the Sun if you got a

cab that's great if not I really like

Rhino hide canopies and I sell them on

my website the neat thing about them you

can take them off if you're gonna go cut

a trail back in the woods so get a

canopy if you're on a budget an old car

hood will work but your neighbors will

make fun of you

number seven keep people and pets away

from where your brush hogging and

livestock to if you can you can't always

do that but I had a friend the other day

that was brush hogging actually I was a

guy did the video with where we helped

start his tractor who ran over a wire

and it cut up the part of that wire and

through a piece of wire through the

polyurethane fuel tank and started the

fuel leaking out so if I'd have been up

a little higher head level that could

have been kind of ugly so you never know

where that stuff's gonna go so keep

everybody away while your brush hogging

the next thing is if especially if

you're new operator go down the center

of the feel first until you get

comfortable with how much that brush hog

sticks out past the wheels and most of

them stick out past the wheels a little

waste you don't want to be next to a

fence when you start trying to mow out a

center and just mow back and forth you

can flat ground if you can't and and get

the feel of what it feels like to brush

hog on a flat area where there's no

obstructions or anything like that

number nine

avoid draws valleys if you when you're

running the brush hog here's your

tractor here's your brush hog and here's

a tail wheel if you start down a valley

and you get to the bottom and your

tractor starts up when it starts up the

tail wheels still coming down it puts

that PTO in an awful bind and you can do

real damage to your tractor your brush

hog or both or at least a PTO shaft if

you mow through a draw like that so mow

mow on the edge if you can if you have

to most

through it kind of mow through it at an

angle but I don't like to mow through

drawers at all and it could because you

can do some serious damage to a tractor

or a brush hog when you do that and

finally number 10 watch your butt watch

your watch your cutter when you turn

that cutter is sticking way out there

and probably further than you think and

if you make especially when you make a

tight turn that thing is swinging around

real fast and if you've got a tree or a

fence poster or anything that's that's

out on the way just a little bit you're

gonna hammer that thing so keep an eye

out to the back of you when your brush

hog in and make sure that you clear all

the obstructions when you turn and turn

slow you know invariably when you get in

the field I've heard lots of stories

from my viewers about things that they

ran over a mattress I've seen all kinds

of wire tied up and brush hogs I've done

it myself

you could run over a stump you don't

want to but but a lot of rocks I've run

over a ton of rocks and and most brush

hogs will take a few rock hits in fact

most of them will take a lot of rock

hits we my dad liked to mow really

really low and I hated it we'd pick up

rocks not only the rocks that were above

ground but we'd kick rocks out of the

ground and cut them up and I hated that

and it's actually better on your grass

if you mow a little higher like at least

three inches four inches is better and

let the grass grow back and and and help

you out there so but invariably you're

gonna grind up a few rocks and it sounds

like when you're we haven't been an

experienced operator the world's coming

to an end but you're probably not going

to tear up the cutter and you're

probably going to be alright so those

those are the things I recommend when

you're running you're running a brush

hog I've done a bunch of other videos

about brush hogs and here's some links

to a couple of my favorites right here

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future videos thanks for watching