Even though sales of riding mowers were up 16.5% in the first nine months of 2012, they ended flat for the year because of the drought, according to data from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. This year could be better. The prices for consumer-grade zero-turns have come down, and customers prefer the larger decks for larger properties. "Consumers continue to be pressed for time, so zero-turn mowers will continue to grow because they offer the speed and maneuverability to get mowing done efficiently," said Eric Julstrom, marketing manager for Toro.

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