Don’t stop with the models we’ve highlighted from the five manufacturers below. We’re bringing you news on some of the most innovative and efficient models, but forage equipment as a sector is experiencing a major technology boom. Most manufacturers have unveiled multiple new designs in the past 12 months, particularly Deere, New Holland and Vermeer. It certainly shows that forage crops aren’t being overlooked or undervalued in Canadian agriculture. But it also means you need to be prepared to do your homework. It will pay.
Krone — EasyCut F 360 CR Glide
A new model disc mower-conditioner with improved cutting and conditioning, plus easy-to-use applications is what producers will find in the EasyCut F 360 CR Glide front-mount disc mower from Krone. The unit comes with a working width of nearly 12 feet and a conditioner that’s driven by top and bottom rollers, creating full-width conditioning. The EasyCut F 360 CR also features the SmartCut cutterbar designed to produce a quality cut, even in a light crop. The design allows for an increased blade overlap by the strategic placement of the discs on the cutterbar, combined with the direction of the rotation. QuickChange blades and SafeCut hubs also provide speed plus safety when changes need to be made. The “Glide” part in its name signifies the pull-type flotation system, with large springs and parallel linkage, allowing the mower a smoother ride over rough or uneven ground.
New Holland — Roll-Belt 560
The New Holland Roll-Belt 560 baler boasts eight different features that the company believes are worth a close look. These include the twine wrap system, a relocated back wrap roll, a choice of monitors and tires, belt and pickup choices, a simplified net wrapper and New Holland’s exclusive Bale-Slice system. With this unique feature, bales are denser and easier to feed. Knives enter the bale after the core is made, retaining a solid core with the option of how much of the bale is cut to the outside face. The three different pickup configurations run from a five-bar ActiveSweep system to the standard-duty four-bar ActiveSweep and a 60-inch six-bar Supersweep pickup. There are also three belt choices which include the premium laced belts, made with constant heat and pressure to eliminate belt flaws and enhance tensile strength.
Vermeer 600N Series Baler
It turns out 2014 was a busy year for Vermeer too, with a number of launches and introductions in forage equipment, including the 600N Series round balers for hay, forage and even cornstalk baling. There are many similarities to the Super M balers that are popular —like the five-bar pickups and Direct Crop Feed System — but there are plenty of new features too that mark this design for durability and high performance. Among them are an optional pickup clutch that actually stops the pickup when the desired bale size is reached. That lessens the chance of inadvertent overfill of the chamber and helps protect the rollers, belts and bearings. Adjusting the pickup height is also made easier by a tool-less gauge wheel adjustment function. Bale weights and moisture readings are also streamlined by the new E-Link Pro display unit that’s coupled with an optional scale kit and moisture sensors.
Claas — Jaguar 900 Series
As if the introduction of the all-new 800 Series Jaguar forage harvester wasn’t enough for 2014, Claas engineers decided to redesign the Jaguar 900 Series before the end of the year. Rolled out in August, the 980 model comes with power to spare, including a MAN V12 engine at 884 horsepower. At 775 horsepower, the 970 boasts a MAN V8 with the remaining four models (960 to 930) running on Mercedes-Benz in-line 6 engines. The hallmark of the previous 900 series was the infinitely variable chop length, and that’s been carried forward into this redesign. And not only is it standard, Claas has added an intake cylinder for continuous pre-compression for improved chop quality. The 900 series also offers a tighter turning radius (as little as 41 feet, depending on the tires), plus Trimble GPS guidance and mapping capabilities that are easy to add.
John Deere — 8000 Series SPFH
Until now, forage producers might have had to choose between durability and technical sophistication capable of performing crop analysis (with corn silage). Now John Deere says it is bringing the two together in the 8000 Series self-propelled forage harvester. The combination of the DuraDrum cutterheads and KernelStar technology means improved efficiency plus precision analysis, all designed to save time and expense during harvest. With the 8000 series, engine horsepower is matched to two cutterhead widths, enabling the operator to adapt the capacity to conditions in the field. According to the company, the new header solutions and crop-flow layouts also increase flexibility in different crops and improve performance in wet or dry conditions. The 8000 also brings enhancements for the operator too, including improved visibility and longer service cycles.