STRONG VERSATILE BALERS NEEDED FOR ABERDEEN CONTRACTORS When the time came to replace their Krone Comprima round baler, Pamela Airth and her partner George Johnstone looked no further than an upgrade to a Comprima Xtreme. They needed a machine that would suit conditions peculiar to the area of Foulden in Aberdeenshire where they are based. Pamela takes up the story: “Here in Aberdeenshire, we need a baler that is capable of working on all crops and in all conditions. As contractors, we are required to bale straw, silage and hay. This far north, third cut silage can present particular problems, as it can be very wet.” “There is very little daylight to dry third cut silage in the autumn. Making baled silage is extremely problematic with wet grass. This is because the bales tend to lose their form. This last season, in particular, was very wet and this means that the water can sometimes get in between the layers of netwrap and prevent it gripping. This is not a problem we have with the Comprima.” “Our previous Comprima had baled a total of 50,500 bales over a period of four years without any trouble. We naturally looked at replacing it with an updated version. The new Xtreme coped very well all year with everything we threw at it and it baled 10,700 bales in total.” “My son, Eddie operates the baler and has found it a very helpful upgrade on the previous model. As we only have one machine it is crucial that we get each job done as quickly as possible and the Comprima keeps the wrapper going without any downtime. The baling operation also includes a Krone front mower and a rear mower, which allows us to use a 2:1 Auto swather, as well as a Krone tedder and a Krone rake.” The Comprima Xtreme is considerably stronger than its predecessor and so is able to cope with these demanding conditions, she says. A stronger pick-up unit helps to maximise baler stability at high forward speeds, while standard crop press rollers and baffle plates minimise blockages and boost throughput. The rotor cutter maintains consistent crop flow from the pick-up to the bale chamber by pulling the material through its 17 knives. Krone’s unique NovoGrip belt and slat elevators have also been strengthened and the slat holders are manufactured from higher quality material and the roller floor bolts are thicker too. Pamela and George have been running G and R Johnstone contractors for 30 years. As well as baled silage, individually wrapped or tubed, they offer a full grass silage and wholecrop operation from field to pit. During the peak times, they offer two combines and two forage harvesting teams. A couple of stone separators, for use on potato land and more importantly the local bulb growing industry, are also kept busy during planting season. Muck and slurry spreading is also an important part of the business. As well as Pamela, George and her sons Eddie and Andrew, they rely on subcontractors during peak times. Pamela Airth with her new Comprima Xtreme The industry leader in hay and forage equipment 14
Mr Suggitt with his BiG X 770 NEW BIG X OFFERS EVEN BETTER CHOP AND MORE OUTPUT Contract services to the biogas industry require the highest possible standards and the ability to offer high work rates, so utilising the most advanced machinery on the market gives a significant business advantage. Suggitt Farm Services of Attleborough, Norfolk, has taken the opportunity to try Krone’s new BiG X 770 forage harvester ahead of its official launch at Agritechnica and build on the success enjoyed with two BiG X 700 machines, one of which has been in the fleet since 2012. Steve Suggitt harvests 15,000 acres per year of feedstock for anaerobic digesters, comprising 1000 acres of grass, 3500 acres of rye and 10,500 acres of maize, working across Norfolk and Suffolk. “We built our own AD plant in 2011 after 10 years of research and now specialise on supplying feedstock to AD plants, alongside straw baling and muck services, and applying AD digestate,” he explains. The first Krone forager was purchased after a visit to the factory in Spelle, Germany, which left a highly positive impression on Mr Suggitt. “The build quality of the feed roller area is better than any other machine on the market – they are so heavily constructed. Presentation to the drum is also superior and this is reflected in the crop flow and quality,” he says. Advances in technology made by Krone also help him to keep ahead in an increasingly competitive market. “The new forager has 36 knives on the biogas drum, which are narrower than on the previous version, with more space between each which holds the crop more securely for improved chopping. An increase in horsepower also gives more torque which handles heavier crops better – there’s more back-up in the engine,” Mr Suggitt points out. He also likes the adjustable plate (StreamControl) in the discharge chute which allows him to increase or decrease the blow as needed. “You can get right over the top of the tractor and trailer when opening up a field.” With the tight harvest windows imposed on biogas contractors, minimising downtime is crucial and Mr Suggitt is full of praise for the back-up offered by Krone. “The forager was supplied by Pecks who offer a very good service. But we do a lot of the work on the machines ourselves, and there is always someone to answer the phone at Krone if we need help – even on a Sunday evening! Krone’s Gary Pettett is fantastic.” One feature picked out for particular praise is the compressed air system which blows out the feed roll on a timed circuit. “It keeps the dust and chaff away from the knives which is paramount for efficient sharpening.” Mr Suggitt comments that the BiG X is very much an ownerdriver’s machine offering all the creature comforts needed. “It’s very easy to operate and seems more refined than other foragers on the market. We work some long hours in the season but the cab is very comfortable, has good suspension, air conditioning and a fridge.” Control of the header makes for easier working in changeable crop conditions, with variable header speed to match the forager’s forward speed. “When the going is good, outputs can be up to 150 acres a day,” Mr Suggitt comments. “And in the wet, the Krone is the go-to machine. “With big 800 tyres on the front and 750s to the rear, we never get stuck, and the crop processing system is so good that we’ve never blocked a Krone forager up.” Mr Suggitt has the full suite of Krone headers, and says that the grass pick-up has proved very reliable, while the X-Disc wholecrop unit performs really well, leaving a very even stubble. “We specified a 12 row maize header to minimise compaction, and it’s a highly productive option,” he adds.