There’s a new line of forage harvesters in town. On Wednesday night, Krone announced they would begin selling four lower-horsepower models of their BigX Forage Harvesters in North America, nearly doubling their market opportunity in the States.
The BiG X 480, 530, 580 and 630 complete the range of Krone’s BiG X line with 489, 523, 585 and 617 horsepower respectively. Tommy Jones, President and CEO of Krone North America, told nearly 80 dealers attending the launch party the new machines were designed to meet the needs of customers that don’t need high horsepower harvesters.
“The Big X machines we currently have on the market in North America come with some really high horsepower and boy can they chop,” he said. “Not everybody needs that same horsepower and speed.”
Krone officials say the new forage harvesters are ideal for small to medium sized dairy farms and beef operations which is a portion of the market that has previously been out of the company’s reach.
“We get the opportunity to meet the harvesting and foraging needs of about half of the overall the market that we haven’t tapped into yet,” Jones said. “That’s a lot of folks we’ve never been able to work with before. This is a huge opportunity for Krone.”
The Big X series of harvesters were originally engineered by Dr. Josef Hortsmann who has been with Krone for more than 30 years. He said the new choppers were designed with feedback from both American and European farmers.
“We met with a lot of American farmers to find out what they want and need in a chopper,” he said.
Key new features of Big X 480, 530, 580 and 630 machines:
- Transversely mounted MTU R6 Tier 4 final engine
- Sleek and sloped design of the body to increase rear operator visibility
- Large cab and 10” touch screen monitor
- Easily accessed hydraulic components and on-board air compressor
- Revised crop flow components, including a narrower feed roll, to meet the machine’s lower horsepower
- The MaxFlow cutting drum was designed to handle the engine outputs of the Big X 480 to 630 models
- All models come standard with 20 knives on the cutting drum. The 580 and 630 can be ordered with 28 knives.
- The knife bar was redesigned to allow better crop flow
- “Forklift like” turning radius
According to Krone, the instrument panel on the new forage harvesters is more intuitive, allowing an operator who doesn’t speak English to easily navigate the machine. Hortsmann said many farmers requested their employees be able to operate the machine without having to read the manual so Krone made the machine easier to operate, added a new multi-million dollar software system and a touch screen monitor.
“We think the changes will help those who don’t speak English,” he said.
The lower horsepower Big X machines were tested extensively in California, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Officials say it’s the most tested machine the company has ever sold.