Turning 20 years old is a major milestone for any machine production run, not least in the fast-paced world of forage harvesters. However, for Krone’s Big X range, the original concept has stood the test of time. With the help of Krone UK’s James Duggleby, Alex Heath charts the major developments of the machine.
Rolling out of the assembly hall at Spelle, Northern Germany on May 20, 2000, the first Big X signalled the final step in Krone’s transition from a general agricultural machinery manufacturer to a specialist in forage technology.
Reacting to the decline in popularity of forage wagons and trailed foragers, the design brief was simple; the company would offer something bigger than the other manufacturers at the time. An engine capable of 600hp was a must, while maize headers with eight, 10 and 12 row options were also needed, as six rows were most prevalent. In addition, a host of electronic features, many of which would later be adopted by the wider market, would deliver performance and operator comfort.
L624 and L634 models use a heavier 468kg flywheel, while hydraulic chamber pressure has been increased from 180 to 210 bar. Pick-ups are 2.3m as standard, equipped with 10mm finger rake steel tines and hydraulic load sensing.
Krone made the bold decision to enter the self-propelled forage harvester market, determined to produce a forager bigger than anything else available. The crop flow concept remains the same today
The first Big X rolls out of the assembly hall and is shown to the public. The next day field trials begin, harvesting grass local to the factory in Spelle, Northern Germany
Having proven its commercial success, the Big X is available in two models; the Big X V8 (605hp) and the Big X V12 (780hp), along with the EasyFlow grass header and 8, 10 and 12 row EasyCollect maize headers
With more than 200 units in operation across the world, development of the second generation nears completion. The monstrous twin-engine Big X 1000, capable of producing 1,000hp is launched, along with the 6.2m wide XDisc direct cut header. The Big X 500, 650 and 800 forages follow shortly after in early 2006
Fitted to the latest Big X 650, the VariStream crop flow system is introduced. Sprung loaded drum bottom and accelerator back plates deal with lumpy swaths, reducing shock loading
Krone further strengthened its portfolio of high-performance high-powered foragers with its third generation. Three new models are launched, consisting of Big X 700, 850 and 1100. Gone were the twin-engines, replaced by V12 power units. Although featuring the new PowerSplit system, enabling reduced engine power operation, customers wanting a machine from 450 to 700hp would need to wait a little longer
The manufacturer puts a marker down for the UK market, exhibiting at that year’s Grassland and Muck event held at Stoneleigh, showcasing its biggest kit consisting of the Big X 1100, six rotor rake and Big M self-propelled mowers
The Big X 480, 530, 580 and 630 signal the manufacturer’s entry into the lower horsepower sector. The lessons learnt from the Big X 500 were applied. The drum width is reduced from 800mm to 630mm providing a better power to cutting width ratio. The addition of independent rear wishbone suspension significantly enhances operator comfort, rear visibility and manoeuvrability
The fourth generation of wide-bodied foragers are launched, featuring Big X 680, 780 and 880. Krone now boasts five models in the popular 450 to 700hp range. Focusing on improved performance and operator comfort with rear wishbone suspension and a new cab design with the cab raising CabLift, elevating the operator by 70cm. SmartConnect connectivity allows data logging and telematics
XCollect maize headers accompany the well-established EasyCollect range, with widths up to 12 rows. The flagship Big X 1180 completes the range, Krone now offers eight harvesters from 490hp to 1,156hp, all equally at home harvesting grass, whole crop and maize. With an increased focus on forage quality, all wide body foragers are now available with the larger OptiMaxx conditioner and AgriNIR silage analysis system
Little has changed to the cropflow in 20 years. There are now two cropflow widths; 630mm for the smaller machines and 800mm for the larger, with elements like VariStream and OptiMaxx added over time
Today (May, 20) sees Farmers Guardian host the first live Krone webinar. Join us live at 7.30pm for Forage Fest.
The virtual Grassland 2020 review will comprise interviews, live Q&A and videos featuring: Swadro rakes, Easycut mowers, Comprima round balers and KW tedders. There will also be an exclusive 20th anniversary celebration of Krone’s Big X forage harvesters.
Visit fginsight.com/foragefest to register for your free place.
At KRONE, we never trade performance for profits. Our brand was built on innovative, high-quality machinery that performs like nothing else in the field. We will continue to focus all our resources on maintaining that standard.
KRONE creates machines for hay and forage growers who want professional results from their machines. Each and every component of our company has been purpose-built to increase the production efficiency of our customers.