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BiG Times Issue 5

  • Text
  • Magazine
  • Bigtimes
  • Times
  • Krone
  • Forage
  • Mower
  • Baler
  • Easycut
  • Acres
  • Comprima
  • Crop
  • Tractor
  • Operator
The KRONE UK magazine Issue 5 including tips, product news, company updates, customer testimonials and more.

FORAGE WAGON FEEDS TO

FORAGE WAGON FEEDS TO ORDER Marston Estates feeds grass to two types of hungry consumer – a 150 cow dairy herd and a 500kW anaerobic digester, both based at Stuchbury Manor Farm, Northamptonshire. Mr Woolley with his AX wagon The digester, run by daughter company Marston Power is fed on grass, rye, maize and muck from the estate’s livestock units, while the cattle are zero grazed and require fresh grass year round. A Krone AX 250 forage wagon does double duty cutting and chopping grass for both purposes. Plant manager Carl Woolley explains: “We were using a Bonino wagon but it simply cuts off the grass and picks it up, whereas we can engage the knives on the Krone AX 250 to produce the chopped forage needed for the AD.” Purchased in March 2015, the AX 250 was specified with wide 600 tyres as it will be used all-year round as long as the grass is growing. “The more grass we can cut, the less maize and rye I will need for the AD, which reduces the contract costs for harvesting,” says Mr Woolley. “We aim to cut 3000 tonnes a year, of which 1000 tonnes goes to the dairy herd.” Cutting fresh grass every day for the digester also reduces the amount of feedstock storage space needed, he points out. The AX 250 is used in a one-pass operation with a front mounted mower – creating an impressive 16m long unit with the 170hp tractor – offering significant staffing and cost advantages over separate mowing and foraging operations. Mr Woolley comments that while there is a large selection of forage wagons on the market, the Krone stood out for its simplicity and robust build. “Comparable models were more costly and we also like the low centre of gravity – many forage wagons are a lot taller.” The 32 knives can be selected and activated from the cab, allowing Mr Woolley to harvest unchopped grass for the cows first and engage the knives to fill the wagon with chopped material for the digester. Minimum chop length is 23mm, and as the body fills the extra compression improves the chop quality. A drop floor also allows any blockages to be easily cleared without leaving the tractor seat. “Most machines are designed for dry forage, so we’re impressed with how well the Krone works in wet conditions,” Mr Woolley comments. He specified manual, rather than self-sharpening, but comments that the knives have only needed attention a couple of times so far. “We’re on clay soil so there are few stones and the blades do stay sharp,” he says. “We’ve had to replace a couple, but it is easily done.” The chassis tips slightly to assist the walking floor when unloading; forage is ejected close to the intake hopper for the AD and loaded with a telehandler, or simply tipped into the silage clamp on the dairy unit. Capable of holding 12 tonnes fully laden, the AX 250 offers the capacity to do both jobs efficiently – the cows can consume 6 tonnes of grass per day in summer. “We had a tight budget which governed the size of the machine and went for a basic specification, although we can retrofit extras if we need them,” says Mr Woolley. “We did look at rear beaters to feed the forage directly from the wagon, but the buildings are just that bit too low. The autofill system looks useful to pack more material in, but we actually don’t want to compress the forage too much when it is being fed to the cattle.” Performance in the AX 250’s first year has been impressive, he says, with the forage wagon proving highly reliable. “We worked closely with Krone dealer Farol to get the right combination of mower, tractor and forage wagon, and we reckon that 170hp is needed to get the best out of the outfit,” says Mr Woolley. “It’s very flexible – on tight headlands we run the mower first and pick up the material afterwards and that’s an option in very wet conditions; if we get too much grass to use straight away we can simply clamp it. Another advantage over a self-propelled forage harvester is that it gives us a good tractor to use for other jobs on the farm if we need it.” The industry leader in hay and forage equipment The AX 250 forage wagon 12

OPERATOR FRIENDLY KRONE BALER TAKES PRESSURE OFF WORKLOAD Mr Taylor with his new Comprima F155 round Baler Asimple well built baler that is operator friendly and is easy to maintain was all Berkshire mixed farmer Alister Taylor had on his wish list when going out to the market to replace an expensive and unreliable machine. As director of Three Counties Farms Ltd based at Ham Spray near Hungerford in Berkshire and with two other farming operations near Newbury and Marlborough, Mr Taylor is responsible for nearly 4,500 acres under the plough as well as a successful horse training operation and running a herd of Murray Gray cows and 126 followers – believed to be the largest in the country. With so much going on Mr Taylor needs to keep operations simple and the decision to trade in the old baler coincided with the business owner purchasing the Manton Estate near Marlborough – an arable and equine estate with hundreds of acres of mowable grass. “We wanted a straight forward baler for straw and hay, which would be simple to operate and robust enough to require minimum maintenance, but when it does breakdown, could be repaired on the farm,” says Mr Taylor. “Simplicity is the key. The more complex a machine becomes the more intelligence is required to run it. With the Comprima many of the problems can be sorted out over the phone. We do not want our operators needing an electronics degree to drive it. “We have to be in charge of the operation and we just couldn't rely on outside contractors. By owning and operating our own baler, it means we can make it work across the whole business. We have been let down too many times by contractors in the past so it’s one operation that we can do ourselves and be in charge of the job.” Enter the Krone Comprima F 155 baler purchased two seasons ago from local dealer John Day Engineering. It was very competitively priced machine and the build quality was excellent, says Mr Taylor. It was the first fixed-chamber baler on the market to produce variable-diameter bales. “Our dealer back-up is also first class should we need it. We have had two minor problems with the baler since its purchase, but in both situations the dealer was here within the hour and had us back up and running within two hours.” Comprima F155 is a straightforward machine that employs the EasyFlow camless 2.15m pick-up and the NovoGrip elevator system made up of channel-type slats, which are attached to two endless belts. Relying on the NovoGrip system, the baler is quiet, requires low maintenance, and produces high quality bales. The wide pick up ensures no crop is left behind except in the case of straw where the chaff is left behind. This helps reduce the slug problem says Mr Taylor – an issue that he says had been exacerbated in the past when a Quadrant baler had been employed to remove straw on land that was then drilled with oilseed rape. The Comprima also follows the ground contours which is an important feature on the gallops and on slopes. “It must be able to track well,” he says. Producing quality forage for the beef unit is critical, but to justify transporting it back from Manton to store it at the Ham Estate – a distance of about 15 miles – it also has to be good quality. Between the two farms Mr Taylor cuts about 200 acres of grass for hay. The Comprima F 155 is pulled by a 120hp John Deere 6930 which he admits is totally boss of the operation, but it is very economical to run. “This is our second season with the new baler and we will keep it until it’s worn out, although having said that there is very little in the way of moving parts that we anticipate having to replace over time.” One of the key advantages of the Comprima baler is its ability to produce different bale sizes for both straw and hay. Bale diameters can be altered in 5cm increments, although the farm only produces 1.25m and 1.50m bales, all of which are stored under cover. The diameter is set on a simple pin/hole setting system. The pin position adjusts the spring-loaded tensioning bar. “Varying the size of the bale improves palatability when feeding young stock,” explains Mr Taylor. “It always helps wherever possible to put fresh food in front of young animals. This year we made some excellent hay and the cows look good on it, which is the acid test. The bale size also fits our sheds, trailers and feeders. The straw bales are not too large that they cannot be unraveled and fed to the animals either.” Straw baling is now a one man operation and is carried out straight behind the combine with the bales removed from the field either the same day or before the combining starts the following day. “Baler output is not as important as quality and consistency of the bale,” says Mr Taylor. “However, output is still an impressive one bale every minute. We have not had a bale fail yet, even in testing times. There is no need for a camera because the operator can see everything. Krone has got it right with this baler in my opinion – a very simple and straight forward machine.” 13 How the F 155 works