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Agritechnica 2017: Latest grassland and forage equipment showcased

We take a look at some of the latest grassland and forage equipment solutions. James Rickard and Richard Bradley report.


Offering narrower transport widths, a 40kph top speed with suspension, and a larger contact patch, Claas now offers its Jaguar 960 forager with adapted versions of its Terra Track track units.


Developed to suit the wet maize harvest conditions in Northern Europe, tracks are available in three sizes from 635mm (25in) to 890mm (35in) wide. The narrowest 635mm (25in) wide tracks maintain a sub-three metre transport width, and offer a 120 per cent increase in contact patch when compared to large 800/70 R38 tyres.


In a bid to prevent scuffing and reduce its turning circle, the track units’ front idler automatically lift when turning corners to reduce contact patch length. Due to the additional length of the tracks, a new longer chassis has been developed.


New Holland FR gets more power

New Holland FR gets more power

Increasing the appetite of its flagship forager, New Holland has made several revisions, not least the introduction of a 911hp, 20-litre, V8, FPT engine. This sees the current FR 850 model replaced with the new FR 920.


To cope with more power, several areas of the forager have been beefed up including the feed roller and crop processor frames, along with fatter belts for the main drive and crop processor drive.


At the rear, larger tyres can now be fitted - up to 710/60 R30. In addition, a new automatic four wheel drive function sees four wheel drive disengaged when making turns, designed to protect the ground, especially when chopping grass, says the manufacturer. It can still be used in manual.


Top of a five-model range, the new FR 920 will be available next January.


Krone BigX refinement

Krone BigX refinement

Dominating the Krone stand was its latest wide body BigX self-propelled forage harvester range, which sees three new models; the BigX 680, 780 and 880 replace the 700, 770 and 850 respectively. For now, the flagship 1100 remains the same, while the 600 has been phased out.


All three new models are powered by V8 Leibherr engines, with power ratings roughly relating to the model number.


A new stand out option is cab lift, which allows the cab to be raised by 700mm, offering greater visibility over tall crops such as maize. Krone also adds it makes filling taller trailers easier and you get better sightlines to the far edges of large headers.


Inside the cab is a significantly revised layout, which now includes a 12 inch touch screen terminal for more convenient forager set-up and monitoring.

From the narrow body BigXs, the new models receive a fresh look along with rear wishbone suspension. The latter allows increased comfort and a tighter turning circle, says the manufacture, and it can raise the forager for easier maintenance access.


Orders of the new foragers will be taken towards the end of next August. More details coming in our forthcoming test drive report.


Reiter expands working width

Reiter expands working width

Following the sale of more than 70 of his three-metre crop mergers, Dr Thomas Reiter has launched a higher output trailed version.


Via the use of two 3.5m wide pickup and belt sections, the Respiro R9 Profi has the ability to work at 9m wide creating a single centre swath, or at 7m wide discharging to one side. The firm says by putting two runs into one you can create 14m swaths, similar to that of a four-rotor rake, while maintaining forward speeds up to 25kph.


Collecting the crop, pickup and belt setup is similar to that of Reiter’s current 3m mergers, with a small diameter cam-less pickup and top rotor getting crop onto the metre-wide transfer belt.


Hydraulic drive to the machine is via a pto-driven 80l/min axial piston pump, which has been over-specced to allow the tractor to reduce its engine speed, saving fuel.


Brought into the UK by Suffolk Farm Machinery, retail price is expected to be about £95,000 (€103,000). Reiter says it is currently developing a 12m version to further boost output.


Goweil baler axle drive

Goweil baler axle drive

Showcased on its combination baler and wrapper, Austrian baler manufacturer Goweil used the event to launch its axle drive system.


Developed to suit undulating environments where a tractor may struggle to pull a baler up the hillside, the system may also be advantageous in wetter conditions.


By using a sensor on the drawbar, the axle’s control system detects to what extent the tractor is pulling the baler, and sends more oil to the axle, speeding it up. Alternatively, if the baler is trying to push the tractor along, it will slow down the wheels, providing a braking effect when working downhill.


Available on its standalone balers and combination units, the system costs about £20,500 (€23,000).


SIP launches monster mower

SIP launches monster mower

Slovenian hay and forage specialist SIP has launched a monster five-gang mower to accompany its 15m tedder and new 12.5m rake.


SIP’s Disc 1500T offers a 14.55m working width via the use of four rear mower beds on a large trailed frame, and one front-mounted mower. Available in either plain disc, or with roller or nylon tine conditioning units, the trailed unit weighs in at a hefty nine tonnes.


All four 3.25m wide beds feature hydraulic break back protection and pivot from the centre to improve contour following. One button operation looks after folding and unfolding of the 1500T, bringing the machine just below a three-metre width and four-metre height for road travel.


Not suited to small fields, the firm says at least 350hp is required to drive it, and claims outputs up to 22.5ha/hour (55.6 acres) are possible.


Retail price is about £94,000 (€105,000) with nylon conditioners, with matching 3m front mower costing £8,900 (€10,000).


Kuhn Merge Maxx merger

Kuhn Merge Maxx merger

Aimed at large-scale grassland farms and contractors, Kuhn’s latest Merge Maxx 950 merger uses two adjustable, variable width, bi-directional merger belts to give a maximum grass pick-up width of 9.5m.


Twin belts are said to provide multiple windrow delivery options; forage can be delivered into a single central windrow, a single lateral windrow (left or right side), two lateral windrows (one either side) or a central and left or right lateral windrow. For central windrows, this can be up to 2.20m wide.


Compared to a conventional rake, the manufacturer says more uniform and airier rows can be produced, resulting in faster drying times and faster working speeds for the following harvester. Work rates of the merger are also faster by 30 to 100 per cent, says Kuhn, with the greatest time savings to be made when handling wet or heavier forage crops.


Pottinger combi baler

Pottinger combi baler

Following the launch of its Impress round baler at the Sima event earlier this year, the firm has now added a combination wrapper unit to its line-up.


Showcased as a 155 Variable Pro, the combination setup will also be available on its 125 fixed chamber machine. As with Pottinger’s standalone units, an uplift feed rotor is featured, this sees the crop pass over the top of the rotor, providing a smoother crop flow into the bale chamber, according to the firm.


To safely transport the bale from the chamber to the wrapper, which sees its satellite arms mounted below rather than above the bale, the moving platform features large side-plates to prevent the bale falling off unexpectedly.


To cope with the additional weight and the load transfer when wrapping a heavy silage bale, tandem axles are featured, shod on 500/50 R17 tyres. Pottinger says it has added features such as external controls of the wrapping unit, and pivoting film holders for more convenient loading.


Anderson round bale chaser

Anderson round bale chaser

Designed to offer savings in labour and time required to transport round bales, Canadian based manufacturer Anderson used the event to launch a round bale chaser.


Accompanying its Stack Pro large square bale chasers, the RBM2000 can hold up to 20 netted or wrapped round bales, and can handle bales from 1.2-1.5m in diameter thanks to hydraulically adjustable runners.


Loading the chaser is via a claw-like grab and hydraulic arm, with all movements controlled automatically. Bales can be picked up in various directions, with the grab ready to collect another bale every 20 seconds. Once the bales are placed two wide, with the option of placing a third on top, bales are pushed down the trailer via a moving headboard.


Bales can be unloaded either onto their ends or side, simply by tilting the trailer backwards and pushing the bales off.


Power requirement is about 140hp, and retail price is about £55,000 (€62,000).


Strautmann widens wagon pickup

Strautmann widens wagon pickup

To better cope with wider swaths and prevent missing crop in corners, Strautmann now offers its Giga-Vitesse forage wagons with a wider pickup option.


Offering a 200mm increase in width to 2.2m, the new pickup has required redesigned drive lines and jockey wheels, along with a new chopping rotor. Despite the wider pickup, maximum possible chopping rotor width was 2m, so Straumann has fitted auger flights at either end of the rotor to channel the crop inwards. Coupled with its continuous flow system, Strautmann says an even crop mat is now possible right to the rotors’ edge, allowing for more effective filling of the wagon.


To suit the high-workload nature of its Giga wagons, the firm has adapted the drawbar from its larger Terra-Vitesse range. As well as being narrower to allow better cornering, this sees a shorter pto shaft used as a bearing is mounted to the drawbar.


Giga-Vitesse 02 Series are available alongside the current 01 models, in capacities from 30-42cu.m (uncompressed).

New Holland mowers

New Holland mowers

Agritechnica was the first time New Holland showed what its recently acquired Kongskilde products will look like in the Italian-firm’s livery.


On show was a pair of its Disc Cutter mounted mowers; the front mounted F320P and the rear mounted 320P. Both feature a three metre cutting bed featuring eight discs, a conditioner with plastic ‘V’ fingers and swath width adjustment via screw adjustable deflector boards.


The front mower features ‘pull type’ suspension, said to follow contours better, and the rear gets hydraulically adjustable suspension.


While the grassland and forage equipment from the Konskilde portfolio will be painted in New Holland’s harvest yellow livery, tillage and seeding equipment will get a blue paint job, as shared with the tractors.

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