Machinery: Mowers galore
Several of the top companies have launched new mowers in advance of the silage season
We are only weeks away from the start of another silage season. Many of the top names in silage mowing are launching new models in advance of first cut so this week I'm taking a closer look at what's new on the market.
I'll begin with Claas, which recently announced a complete new range of mounted and trailed Disco contour disc-mowers with 19 models, ranging in working widths of 2.6m to 9.1m.
The 'max cut' mower bed features a waved shape leading-edge that positions the cutting discs as close to the front of the bed as possible. This enlarged cutting area improves quality and flow through the mower. The mower bed itself is made from two pieces of pressed steel plate, which are bolted together (rather than welded) to achieve a high torsional strength.
In order to help operators achieve a clean cut and avoid soil contamination, extra wide skids are fitted to the underside of the Claas Disco mower-bed. The satellite drive-train of the mower bed is permanently lubricated and maintenance free.
It is designed so that in lighter crops, it can be run at 850rpm, which Claas claims will help reduce fuel consumption by up to 20pc. To fully protect the drive-train, each mowing disc is mounted on a module that will shear in the event of a collision, and is easy to replace.
The new Disco models start with the Trend mower units, which are operated using the tractor spool valves without any electric control terminal. However, if required they can be incorporated into the tractor's headland-management system. The optional individual lifting function is operated using a hydraulic isolator valve, which makes it possible to pre-select the mowing units.
The Contour series can be operated using the new operator control panel or an Isobus control terminal. Moving up the spec level again, the firm's Business, Duo and Autoswather mowers utilise load sensing hydraulics and are controlled using either the new operator terminal or the Isobus-compatible Communicator II terminal.
The latter allows the various mower functions to be assigned to the function buttons on the tractor's multi-function control lever. Completing the line-up are two front mowers, the Disco 3200F and the Disco 3200FC mower conditioner, both of which have a 3m cutting width.
To ensure optimal movement with ground contours, the mower units are fitted with the Claas Profil kinematics system. On the principle that it should be the ground that guides the mower - rather than the tractor - the mower is suspended and pulled using a trailing linkage with a pivot point close to the ground.
Not to be outdone, the new SM 3570 TL mower is one of four models in Fella's updated centre-mounted range of heavy-duty disc mowers.
Distributed by Farmec Ireland in Co Meath, the 3.5m Fella SM disc mower uses a hydro-pneumatic 'turbo-lift' suspension system. One of the key features is a centre-hitch attachment that allows turns to be made significantly faster without any back-swing. The suspension system can be set without the need for additional tools to provide an infinitely adjustable ground pressure.
Another distinguishing feature of this series is an impact guard with a pivoting gearbox. This gives the mower a large evasion angle, and the fact that the gearbox pivots in tandem with the mower prevents damage to the drive-shaft.
The newly developed full-cloth guard is lightweight and folds away to give quick access for cleaning and carrying out maintenance work.
Kuhn Farm Machinery has also updated its entry-level range of disc mowers with the arrival of four new versions of its basic GMD model. There will be plenty of farmer interest in this range, with prices starting from just over €5,000 for the smallest model. Available in working widths from 1.6m to 2.8m, the four-model range uses Kuhn's 100 series cutter-bar and 'Protectadrive' system to deliver high-quality and reliable grass cutting.
The cutter bar is equipped with large-diameter gearwheels with reinforced teeth for improved wear and impact resistance. It also uses disc pinion-shaft bearings, which are symmetrical in relation to the radial forces endured by the disc. These bearings are fitted in anti-distortion housing to enable them to withstand the heaviest loads and to optimise the load balance incurred by each disc.
"The cutter bar is specifically designed to have a long service-life and to be easily serviced," Kuhn's Duncan McLeish said. "It is protected by Kuhn's anti-impact system, which protects the gear train if an obstacle is struck. Each disc-shaft features a shear groove that is designed to fail should the mowing bar come into contact with a foreign object.
"By making the sheared shaft easy to replace, any downtime is kept to a minimum, and the mower should be operational again in less than 15 minutes."
For increased machine protection, the new GMD range also uses a swath wheel to prevent the cutter bar from coming in contact with the ground, while a safety break-back system allows the mower to shift rearwards should an obstacle be struck.
Last but not least, Krone distributors Farmhand have also gotten in on the plethora of new mowers available for the 2015 silage season with attractive finance packages in place to boot.
The ECR360 is the very latest of the Krone EasyCut mower range, with a sturdy headstock and the most advanced centre-pivot suspension arrangement to date.
"Bigger dairy farmers are the target market for our new ECR 360 mower," said Val McAuley of Farmhand.
"The cutting width is 3.6m, which means you can mow and top a lot faster than most mowers out there. And 100hp is ample to handle this mower because it folds over-centre for transport on the road.
"The EasyCut cutterbar has SafeCut stone protection hubs, along with the ability to reverse the direction of any of the discs. The machine comes with swath-boards on both sides and a stand, so you can park it quickly and safely," he said.
Tom O'Connor, Farmhand area sales manager, says this mower can be purchased using the Krone finance package for around €3,000 (including VAT) per year over five years, with no trade-in.