Dublin-based Krone importer and distributor Farmhand held a large hands-on training event for all its Irish dealers north and south at the UCD Lyons farm in Co Kildare last week.
The firm took the opportunity to update its dealers from a sales and service point of view before taking advantage of having all machine ranges within the one field to demonstrate the German manufacturer’s extensive grass equipment lines.
A number of the latest Krone mowers, tedders and rakes were worked, alongside the flagship Big X 1180 forage harvester and AX 310 GL forage wagon helping gather the farm’s first cut. That said, some balers and other smaller plain disc mowers were lined up on static display.
Here, we take a look at some of the highlights.
1 EasyCut TS 320 CV
The latest EasyCut TS 320 CV trailed conditioner mower displayed its ability in a heavy first-cut crop. The EasyCut TS 320 CV is one of Krone’s most recently updated machines. Its distinctive curved frame replaced the older rectangular design.
Aside from the 3.16m cutting width of the 320 model, a larger 3.6m cutting bed is available. The 320 model is also available as a centre pull type (TC).
The latest frame design lifts higher than its predecessor, with cutterbar suspension adjusted hydraulically from the tractor’s cab.
The bed still features Krone’s tried-and-tested SmartCut and SafeCut protection systems.
Although most units on the Irish market are fitted with the steel conditioner tine (CV), a rubber chevron roller system (CR) is optionally available. A crimping M-shaped roller is available as an option.
2 Big M 450
The renowned Big M 450 also made an appearance. This is the fifth generation of Krone’s popular self-propelled mower, which was originally developed in 1996. Ever since the first machine left the production line at Spelle, Germany, the Big M has been well received among Irish contractors because of its manoeuvrability and output.
The Big M 450 has a total cutting width of 9.95m and is fitted with a 449hp Liebherr engine. It is fitted with the SilentSpace cab adapted from the Big X line of foragers. It features the same 10in touchscreen monitor too.
Putting the wheels in motion is a 40km/h hydrostatic transmission, which sees a wheel motor in each hub as well as hydro-pneumatic axle suspension and hydraulic axle height control. The Big M is clad with 800/65 R32 and 600/65 R28 tyres.
According to Farmhand, 2019 was the most successful year for new Big M sales, with a record 20 new units sold. This was believed to have been 20% of the new Big Ms built by Krone that year.
Over 260 new Big Ms are believed to have been sold in Ireland to date.
3 Vendro 560
The smaller six-rotor mounted Vendro 560 tedder was demonstrated. The Vendro is one of Krone’s most recent announcements in its tedder department. It replaces the older KW range and comprises machines of working widths ranging from 4.7m to 11.2m. The nine-model range consists of two four-rotor machines (470 and 560), three six-rotors (620, 680 and 790), two eight rotors (820 and 900) and the 1020 and 1120 10-rotor units.
The tedders feature either five, six or seven tine arms per rotor. The patented OptiTurn rotor and tines orbit closely to the rotor wheels for improved contouring. Similar to the KWT models, the Vendro range uses the maintenance-free OctoLink eight-finger clutches. An extra gauge wheel can be fitted to optimise ground following ability while the headland curtain can be lowered from the cab either manually or hydraulically. Mechanical dampers are also fitted as standard to prevent sway.
4 KWT 1600
The KWT 1600 is currently Krone’s second-largest trailed tedder available. The 14-rotor KWT 1600 covers a 15.27m working width while the larger 18-rotor KWT 2000 has a working width of 19.60m. The trailed range also comprises four other models from 5.5m to 13m in working width.
Features of the KWT trailed tedders include permanently lubricated rotor gearboxes and 1.53m rotors, each of which have six tine arms. Krone uses a 9.5mm-thick unequal length tine on all tine arms. The wide chassis sits on flotation tyres and, according to Krone, uses high-strength beams to cope with the strains associated with the wide working width.
Transferring drive between rotors are the OctoLink eight-finger clutch and rotor gearboxes immersed in a semi-fluid grease.
Working height is centrally adjusted via a crank located at the centre of the machine. A hydraulically driven border spreading curtain is an option to prevent the crop from being thrown outside the field boundary or into the hedge.
5 Swadro TC 1370
The latest model added to the Swadro four-rotor rake lineup was also demonstrating its abilities ahead of the Krone Big X 1180. The Swadro TC 1370 differs from the other models in the range such as the TC 1250 and 1400.
Some of the main changes the TC 1370 brought about are a restyled trapezoidal main beam, modified hydraulic rotor arm suspension system and new control interfaces. The TC 13 70 offers a variable working width from 10.8m to 13.7m and swath width from 1.4m to 2.6m. Each of the four rotors are fitted with 13 tine arms, the only difference being that the front tine arms have four double tines while the rear arms have five double tines.
Rotor bogies are offered with four caster wheels as standard while six caster wheels are optionally available. The TC 1370 uses either Krone’s DS100 or DS500 terminal or the optional Isobus-compatible CCI 800/1200 terminal. A CCI A3 touch joystick is also optionally available, so too is the option of section control which gives the rake the ability to automatically raise and lower rotors in accordance to the GPS maps.
6 AX 310 GL
Representing Krone’s forage wagon offering was the 31m3 AX 310 GL model, the 310 being the largest of the trio of AX models. In total, Krone offers four self-loading forage wagon ranges – AX (25-31m3), MX (37 and 40m3), RX (40 and 43m3) and ZX (43 to 56m3). The AX range is aimed at farmers and small contractors while the other ranges with increased capacity are more suited the larger farmer and contractor market. Features of the AX series include a camless pickup with a W tine arrangement, up to 32-knife chopping unit, sloped front floor for improved crop feed and sprung or unsprung tandem axles with hydraulic self-levelling.
7 Big X 1180
Krone’s flagship Big X 1180 forage harvester demonstrated at its ease. The 1180 completes the Big X lineup, which comprises eight models ranging from 490hp to 1,156hp. Taking the title of the world’s most powerful forage harvester, the 1180 is fitted with a 24l V12 Liebherr stage V engine.
It shares many of its features with its smaller siblings including six pre-compression intake rollers, tight turning circle and rear independent suspension. Customers have the choice of 20-, 28-, 36-, 40- or 48-knife chopping drums and to suit the power output of the 1180, a larger 305mm diameter OptiMaxx 305 corn cracker is optionally available.
Other features include Krone’s EasyLoad system which uses 3D imaging to automatically fill the trailer, and an AgriNIR forage sensing system to measure forage constituent values.
Although launched in 2018, the first unit was sold in Ireland to the Killen Brothers based in Co Derry, this being the particular unit demonstrated. However, three more units are expected to be working in Ireland in the coming days.
Since becoming Ireland’s Krone importer in 1962, Farmhand has gone from strength to strength.
Today, Farmhand remains solely owned by the Scrivener family and now employs about 50 staff.
Fastparts, Farmhand’s sister company also owned by the Scrivener family, works out of the same premises. In addition to Krone, Farmhand is the main importer for Amazone, Quicke, APV and Zuidberg.
In 2021, a 1,100m2 extension saw the parts warehouse at Farmhand’s Damastown facility expand to 2,500m2 while a 900m2 covered machinery storage area was also completed.