Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Big X steals the show at silage demo

Krone's new self-propelled silage harvester looks set to make a big impact in the buoyant silage machinery market

Krone silage harvester
Krone silage harvester
Silage demo

I was in Co Louth recently to see Krone's new Big X 580 self-propelled silage harvester working at a silage machinery demonstration.

There was a range of Krone silage machinery being worked in a good crop of grass at the demonstration but, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Big X harvester was the star of the show.

Contractors and farmers were anxious to get a glimpse of the harvester that Krone distributors Farmhand are hoping will now take a sizeable share of the sub-600hp self-propelled silage harvester market in Ireland.

The stout-looking harvester has a 585hp engine and is designed for predominantly grass markets.

Krone importers Farmhand claim that the new models excel on crop flow and throughput thanks to six pre-compression rollers and the VariStream spring-loaded cutting floor and crop accelerator back plate.

Consisting of a spring-loaded floor beneath the cutter head and a spring-loaded plate in crop accelerator housing, VariStream ensures blockage-free and smooth operation, even when the flow of crop is not even.

This means the forager is utilised to its limit but uses less fuel per ton of crop harvested.

Interestingly, the new Big X 580 is actually lighter, more compact and more manoeuvrable thanks to its independent wheel suspension.

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Farmhand demonstrator, Declan Smyth, said that after driving the Big X 580 for a few weeks he has been impressed with its power.

"The main things I notice are that it has great output and very intuitive driver control," he explained.

"The operator terminal reminds me of something designed by Apple in that it is really simple but at the same time effective.

It uses symbols for controlling the main functions like chop length, so even first time drivers get the hang of it very quickly.

"The output is impressive; last week I lifted a 50ft swath of second cut silage at a forward speed of 13kph."

I sat into the new 'Silent Space' cab on the Big X 580 and it provides generous room.

High side windows and the slim posts give operators an unobstructed view of the spout even when the unloading height is as high as 6m.

To the driver's right a new ergonomic joystick with clear icons gives control of multiple machine functions.

This is a special development for the Big X 580 model, and the slim stick sits comfortably in the driver's hand and has more than 20 functions programmed to it such as ground speed, direction of travel and header and spout control.

The operator terminal records all machine data and reads them out on a high-definition colour screen.


The driver also enters a number of settings here, including the step-less variable length of cut adjustment.

The 585hp transversely mounted engine allows the hydrostatic pump, the cutter head, the crop accelerator and the header and intake pumps to take the engine power efficiently off Poly V-belts - a concept that Krone claims eliminates the need for a power-take off gearbox.

All crop flow components are activated by operating a belt clutch.

Hydraulic four wheel drive is an option, and the engine drives through a 40 kph (25 mph) transmission.

It is shod on 710/70 R 42 tyres, which brings the machine's width down to 3m (9in10ft) for safe travel on narrow or busy roads.

A hydraulic driveline provides infinitely variable speed changes, so important for varying crop conditions.

The sensitivity of the metal detector can be increased or decreased as necessary. Interestingly, during the demo the metal detector went off after it picked up the lid off of a tin can.

Speaking at the demonstration, Farmhand boss John Scrivener revealed that at €235,000 plus VAT, the price of the Big X 580 will be lower than what contractors might have seen with previous models in the series.

"We think this will make it an attractive proposition for Irish users this year, along with the fact that - because this model comes in at under 600hp - we are targeting the mainstream share of the market for self-propelled harvester sales in Ireland."

Mr Scrivener said that in general sales of grass machinery like mowers and balers so far this year are "surprisingly buoyant" and are running about 10pc ahead of 2014 figures.

Indo Farming