Product Report: Dixie chopper rewrites the rule book

Updated May 31, 2012

Three years ago, Dixie Chopper founder and president Art Evans decided the time had come to build the zero-turn mower of his dreams. It’s no secret that Evans – born and raised a hot-rodder in Indiana – is obsessed with speed and performance. And he wanted a bigger, stronger and faster mower to meet his vision.

The result is Dixie Chopper’s new XC3300 mower – the first machine in the company’s XCaliber series of large zero-turn mowers. The XC3300 is new in many ways, but it’s not a stand-alone machine. Evans is incorporating many of the design upgrades found on the new machine into the entire Dixie Chopper line of commercial lawn cutting equipment.

Because Evans knew that multi-blade mower decks were prone to streaking, particularly at high cutting speeds, he personally designed the XC3300’s whopping 74-inch cutting deck to enhance mulching characteristics and remove thick, wet grass from the deck more efficiently. “It takes less horsepower to drive this deck,” Evans explains. “But it gets rid of clippings easier and quicker than any deck we’ve ever offered. And at the speeds we like our mowers to go, and the productivity we like to offer our customers, an efficient cutting deck is key.” Evans says initial tests have shown the new twin-blade deck design gives 10- to 20-percent more productivity when compared to the company’s 70-inch deck model.

A 50-year life span
As impressive as the XC3300’s cutting deck is, it’s the mower’s sheer size that will garner the most attention. “I wanted to design a mower that could work productively for 50 years,” Evans says. As a result, the XC3300 features big power, big pumps and big components. So we now know we’re over-powering that cutting deck and guaranteeing high grass-cutting performance.”

The XCaliber model weighs in at approximately 1,000 pounds. “We had to stretch our existing frame design 7 inches to accommodate this larger mowing platform,” Evans notes.

A 33-horsepower Generac gasoline engine powers the machine, with Dixie Chopper’s three-stage air filtration and advanced, 10-micron oil-cooling systems ensuring a steady flow of clean, cool air to the carburetor. The platform is supported by 11⁄2-inch axles – the same as those found on construction-grade skid-steer loaders.

Sixty acres cut in five hours
Early last month, Dixie Chopper was kind enough to send a demonstration XC3300 mower model to Total Landscape Care’s offices. We enlisted the help of local landscaper Cole Deason to evaluate the mower for us.

Deason is owner of Cut-N-Edge Unlimited in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Deason used the XC3300 in several commercial landscaping applications, since he determined that’s where its strengths lie. “It’s a high-volume mower,” he explains. “It’s so big that it’s not really designed for enclosed residential work. But it’s incredible on wide-open fields and lots.”

Deason cut 60 acres with the XCaliber and says the 74-inch deck made a huge difference in production times. “I cut that lot in five hours with the XC3300,” he says. “That’s compared to 12 hours of work with a tractor and mower implement, or seven to eight hours with a 61-inch deck zero-turn mower.”

Dixie Chopper’s patented Operator Controlled Discharge Chute also got high marks from Deason. This system allows the operator to manage how much material is discharged from the deck with an easily accessible hand lever. “I’ve got a job that I always have to turn the mower to discharge inward, or else I end up with a parking lot full of grass blades,” Deason says. “It’s a real time killer. But with the XCaliber, I’d just whip the mower around, close the chute and make another pass. It was really nice.”

The mower’s engine, speed and ride all worked together to favorably impress Deason as well. “They’ve over-powered this mower, which is important given the size of this deck,” he notes. “It’s a fast machine, but the controls are precise and the ride doesn’t throw you all over the place. So you can really take advantage of the production boost it gives you.”

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