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Shopping for a trailed forage harvester – the choices

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A brand new wave of precision chop forage harvesters might reinvigorate the marketplace for trailed fashions, even now that the majority established producers have deserted manufacturing of their designs.

For a lot of producers, the distinctive whining thrum of a forage chopper at full chat is an interesting sound that characterises the annual ritual of bringing within the grass harvest.

As of late, the work will most of the time be carried out by a contracting workforce with a massively highly effective self-propelled machine at its coronary heart.

See additionally: Excessive-hour Horsepower: 26-year-old forager nonetheless going sturdy in Herefordshire

With unparalleled output and work charge, first and second cuts may be picked up, chopped and packed right into a clamp whereas the climate holds.

However for farmers with a robust unbiased streak or whose scale and accessibility makes a self-propelled operation much less enticing, utilizing a tractor-powered forager nonetheless holds some attraction.

“Medium-sized dairy farms concentrating on producing top-quality silage prefer to have extra management over their slicing date.

“So the standard buyer for a Kongskilde FCT 1060 could be a farmer who must be versatile to make silage when the crop is prepared with out having to attend for a contractor,” says Neil Bodymore, Kongskilde specialist at New Holland.

“The upper-performance FCT 1260 MD additionally caters for such producers, in addition to small-scale contractors not wanting the outlay and working prices of a self-propelled harvester, however who require good chop high quality.”

He means that they’ve a bonus throughout “snatch-and-grab” harvests, when being lighter permits them to journey when different silage equipment can’t, and with lowered soil compaction.

Second-hand self-propelleds and forage wagons

An alternative choice for large-scale producers is to go down the self-propelled route with a used instance.

Though Mr Bodymore studies that delays at a vital time brought on by breakdowns that want costly repairs to place proper has resulted in noticeable back-tracking on this method.

“Gross sales of our trailed forage harvesters have remained pretty regular, with a slight improve over the previous 4 years,” he says.

“That’s additionally as a result of some forage wagon customers have moved again to trailed harvesters for a extra uniform chop and simpler compaction, which profit from silo capability with much less waste.”

The Lely Storm flywheel-type chopper is now not in manufacturing © Lely

There was important uptake of silage wagons as a no-rush, one-operator cut-and-haul answer that eliminates the necessity for a workforce of tractors and drivers, and which may be aggressive on output over comparatively quick field-to-clamp hauls.

This pattern, supported by progressive enchancment by way of the pick-up, consumption and crop-slicing efficiency, has hastened the decline in using pto-powered forage harvesters.

Trailed forager choices

But examples of aged drum-type precision chop machines from Claas, John Deere and New Holland can nonetheless be discovered lifting swaths, regardless that manufacturing ended some years in the past, and the identical is true of the extra prevalent disc- or flywheel-type chopper-blower foragers.

Predominant gamers embrace the Kverneland Ten-X, killed off in 2006; Lely’s Storm, a growth of the Mengele SH40N that didn’t survive Lely’s grass tools sell-off to Agco in 2017; and the Pottinger Mex, which it made in Mex VI type till 2019.

Richard Parris of equipment dealership Parris Tractors close to Taunton, Somerset, is disenchanted that the Lely Storm is now not in manufacturing, having bought the final machines to be constructed.

Lely Storm P 300 forage harvester

Final off the road – Parris Tractors purchased the ultimate batch of Lely Storm P 300 forage harvesters and has bought all however one © Lely

“We purchased 14 of them in two batches and bought nearly all of them prior to now six months – at £39,500 with a metallic detector, and £32,500 with out,” he says. “We’ve only one left within the yard.”

Most went to farmers in south-west England and Cumbria, the place steep floor and restricted entry alongside slender lanes and in tight yards make entry troublesome for forage wagons, not to mention the scale of apparatus operated by most contractors.

Mr Parris describes the Storm as “a incredible machine that Lely had taken to a different stage of efficiency, with a wider, trendy pick-up, larger-capacity chute, a much bigger energy band and so forth, which meant you possibly can put a 250-300hp tractor on the entrance and actually get the perfect out of it”.

“If Agco turned it right into a Fendt product, I feel it could promote as a result of it’s an excellent match for his or her high-power tractors.”

John Ayre at Alkmonton Tractors close to Ashbourne, Derbyshire, additionally laments the machine’s passing as somebody who turned a nationwide specialist for the Mengele design.

“We nonetheless get farmers phoning for a brand new forage chopper, however now all we will provide are completely refurbished variations of the SH40N and the Lely Storm,” he says.

“We’re at all times eager about good examples for refurbishment and nonetheless have entry to components, in addition to our personal spout liners, paddles and the chopping disc barrel.”

With the departure of those fashions from the market, solely the Kongskilde precision choppers initially developed by JF can be found as new-build machines in UK.


The only tractor-powered precision chop forage harvester vary on sale in Britain comes from Kongskilde Agriculture, having first been launched beneath the JF title.

Kongskilde acquired JF in 2011 and was itself purchased by CNH Industrial for New Holland in 2017.

The enterprise provides a variety of grass merchandise, reminiscent of mowers, tedders and rakes in New Holland colors, whereas retaining the entire vary beneath the Kongskilde model for distribution via different supplier networks.

All three of its trailed forage harvesters have mechanical drives, with enhancements through the years – and particularly with the 2012 introduction of the 60-series – together with load-sensing hydraulics and electrohydraulic management of all capabilities from one change field.

The present chopping cylinder is heavier than earlier variations, with elevated flywheel impact and higher airflow for higher crop-discharge efficiency.

They keep a multiblade chopping cylinder design meant to minimise the extent of knife harm ought to some {hardware} be ingested, in addition to the distinctive upward slicing motion idea.

Kongskilde FCT 1460 MD

Kongskilde FCT cylinder-type choppers – such because the FCT 1460 MD – are the one trailed harvesters obtainable new within the UK © Kongskilde

Kongskilde engineers reckon that is value as a lot as 25-50% higher capability over different cylinder choppers of equal dimension due to the way in which processed materials is projected straight into the discharge chute, moderately than being propelled across the underside of the chopper housing.

Particular person blades throughout the 720mm- and 900mm-wide cylinders are organized in staggered rows to type a helical sample.

There are 24 on the 720mm-wide cylinder put in within the FCT 1060, which is able to dealing with as much as 190hp from the tractor pto, and the FCT 1260 with a most energy enter score of 280hp.

The identical energy restrict applies to the range-topping FCT 1460, which sports activities a 900mm-wide chopping cylinder with 40 blades and a wider pick-up at 3.1m – however with a transport width of three.57m, this mannequin is even much less wieldy on the highway.

Whereas the FCT 1060 is provided with a 2.1m pick-up (or a 1.8m down-size possibility), the FCT 1260 will get a 2.65m pick-up reel, metallic detector and a regular chute to which an extension for aspect loading may be added, or a foldable chute that features the extension.

New Holland says the FCT 1060 with integral metallic detector is at the moment the bestseller within the UK and Eire – in addition to all through Europe and past – however the FCT 1260 MD is rising in popularity and is predicted to take over that place within the coming years.

Kongskilde forage harvesters


FCT 1060

FCT 1060 MD

FCT 1260 MD

FCT 1460 MD

Energy min/max






Proper offset

Proper offset

Proper offset or in-line

Proper offset or in-line

Cylinder width










Choose-up width





Steel detector










Transport width





Listing worth





Chute extension*





Foldable chute





Notice: *Chute extension for aspect loading; included in costs for foldable chute


In a shock growth, it seems that Krone is trialling a brand new tractor-powered forage harvester.

The primary Krone prototype is designed to be used on a tractor with reverse-drive services, reminiscent of a 500hp Claas Xerion Trac VC; Fendt 900 and 1000 Varios with as much as 517hp; and Valtra’s S-series with Twintrac possibility.

Krone prototype machine

Krone is seeking to re-enter the tractor-powered forage harvester market with this prototype machine for reverse-drive energy items © Krone

The possible new chopper is believed to make use of the 630mm-wide, 660mm-diameter full-width blade drum from Krone’s smaller Huge X self-propelled harvesters and is focused to carry out no less than in addition to the 460hp Huge X 480 by way of output, gasoline consumption and chop high quality.

Just like the self-propelled machines, the prototype has hydraulic drive to the pick-up, direct-cut disc mower and six- to 10-row maize slicing attachments, in addition to to the pre-compression rollers.

Krone emphasises that the mission is at an early stage and is eager to get suggestions and opinions from farmers and contractors by way of its krone.de international web site. 


Lacotec already builds a reverse-drive forage harvester, primarily with maize in thoughts, because it incorporates a disc-type kernel processor. Nonetheless, it may be eliminated for chopping grass.

The machine had a difficult UK debut on the Bathtub and West Grassland occasion in 2012, recollects UK agent Matt Noble at Somerset-based Noble Equipment.

“Lacotec constructed its personal pick-up, however in Germany grass crops are typically comparatively mild in contrast with the large swaths commonplace within the UK and Eire and the grass simply didn’t stream in very properly,” he says.

Lacotec LHII chopper

Lacotec builds a couple of examples of its LHII chopper designed for the most important reverse-drive tractors © Lacotec

“It was a disgrace, as a result of in different respects it’s a high-performance machine that’s extra like a self-propelled chopper by way of specification and options.”

Lacotec really builds its personal host automobile – the 446-550hp Raptor with stepless gearbox to create a self-propelled outfit – however, for essentially the most half, the LHII chopper is on reverse-drive tractors that may profit from its 500hp enter capability.

The machine has pto drive to the disc-type chopping meeting, which is out there in 10- and 14-blade configurations for grass, maize and wholecrop, plus belt and pulley drive to the 220mm disc cracker when fitted.

A built-in metallic detector, automated knife grinding and shear bar adjustment, and Isobus connectivity are all a part of the bundle, with adapters to function with four- to six-row maize headers and grass pick-ups from different producers.

“You don’t have the ability losses you get with a trailed forage harvester due to the direct-drive configuration, and it’s simpler to maneuver round on the highway mounted on a tractor,” says Mr Noble.

“There are a number of out in varied nations and it has super efficiency potential however, as a small household firm, Lacotec doesn’t have the sources to construct a batch of machines within the hope of getting some gross sales. You’re most likely £80,000-£100,000 every due to the low quantity and excessive specification.”


At Elho, the brand new Cobra forage harvester is already a industrial product that has been on sale for a few 12 months in Finland, however shall be rolled out additional afield as soon as Covid journey restrictions are eased.

Enquiries from different Nordic nations had been anticipated, says the corporate, however curiosity from Australia, Canada and mid-Europe has been extra of a shock, given the machine is optimised for grass harvesting. The UK importer is Shutts Farm Equipment, primarily based in Derbyshire.

Product growth supervisor Johan Löfbacka says the agency selected to have a look at a precision chop design to take advantage of the higher-powered tractors now being utilized by a rising variety of farmers and contractors.

Elho Cobra

The Elho Cobra departs from standard trailed chopper design in a number of respects © Elho

The ensuing machine has some notable variations from what has gone earlier than, together with a chopping cylinder larger than any self-propelled can boast. It’s pushed instantly from the tractor pto, achieved by putting in the cylinder at 90deg to the path of journey.

“Should you take a look at a woodchipper, you may see the place the inspiration got here from for driving the chopper instantly moderately than via a gearbox,” says Mr Löfbacka.

“There’s a energy saving of about 3-6% with this association, however the largest saving is in the price of manufacturing and components, as a result of once you wish to work with a 400hp tractor, a gearbox and different energy transmission parts are very costly.”

Different design

Because of the orientation of the chopping cylinder, incoming grass should flip via 90deg earlier than being delivered to the consumption compression rollers.

That is executed by twin transverse augers positioned in the back of the mechanically pushed 3m-wide pick-up, which itself differs from the norm.

For one factor, it’s totally enclosed; for one more, the reel is fashioned with a number of rows of tines in a helix association with no stripper bands – a setup already used for the corporate’s swath-conditioning tedder.

“A conventional pick-up is designed to deal with delicate crops gently, however you don’t must deal with grass gently when it’ll be chopped up a couple of seconds later,” says Mr Löfbacka.

His response to potential clients who level out that the enclosed design means they can not regulate the pick-up is that they don’t must: “It doesn’t block and it’s totally enclosed, so that you don’t get any losses from there.”

Equally, when potential operators discover that the format of the machine, with the chopping cylinder tucked shut behind the tractor, precludes loading to the proper, he additionally has a proof.

“We offer a digicam mounted on the top of the spout that provides an excellent view into the trailer on a display within the cab, and even should you look to the left, you may’t simply see the discharge level as a result of it’s so near the tractor.”

Along with direct-pto drive to the chopping cylinder, the Cobra wants a 160-litre/min oil provide from the tractor, primarily for the hydraulic drive to the feed rollers.

This, it’s claimed, makes it straightforward to regulate chop size and to place the rollers into reverse to clear a blockage – an eventuality {that a} load-monitoring system goals to keep away from within the first place.

It alerts the operator as soon as a sure load issue has been reached and a second set off level routinely stops all the consumption system whereas lifting the pick-up on the similar time to forestall it bulldozing the swath.

Chopping cylinder of the Elho Cobra

Mammoth chopping cylinder of the Elho Cobra outguns even self-propelled choppers by way of width and diameter © Elho

The Cobra’s mighty pto-driven chopping cylinder measures 1,000mm extensive and 770mm in diameter, which comprehensively trumps self-propelled machines constrained by the area obtainable between the entrance wheels.

New Holland’s Forage Cruiser comes closest at 884x710mm (or 690mm relying on the cutterhead put in), whereas the John Deere 9000-series is subsequent “finest” at 850x670mm.

Elho’s cylinder has 16 rows of half-width blades organized in a staggered chevron formation with paddle sections designed to generate loads of airflow to maintain the chopped materials shifting.

“The machine wants no less than 250hp, however should you put it on a 400hp tractor, we’re assured you’ll get the identical stage of efficiency as a self-propelled machine with the identical energy,” says Mr Löfbacka.

Along with the trailed Cobra 7710T with its stabilising telescopic axle, there may be additionally a model that integrates the harvester with a trailer for a single-operator chop-and-haul method paying homage to the Teagle Toucan and others that preceded right now’s heavy-duty, fine-chopping forage wagons.

Ivarssons & Metsjo

Ivarssons & Metsjo, a Swedish producer, builds its tackle a trailed forager as a result of it stays a well-liked format amongst Nordic farmers, says Loa Ivarsson.

The agency makes use of Kongskilde precision chop harvesters, with most fashions organized in-line so the tractor straddles the swath.

However on the brand new Harvester 1360 and 1460 fashions, the chopping unit is turned via 90deg and fed by a 3.1m-wide offset pick-up able to dealing with wider, fuller swaths of forage.

Combined chopper/trailer unit

A Roc belt merger types the pick-up on the newest mixed chopper/trailer unit from Metsjo © Metsjo

Two pick-up varieties are employed – the Harvester 1360 has a Metsjo development utilizing a traditional stripper tine reel and single auger pushed by an on-board hydraulics system.

The Harvester 1460 has a belt-merger unit from Italian producer Roc pushed by the tractor hydraulics.

Each fold up for a transport width of two.55m, and whereas the 1360 prices and weighs rather less however takes extra energy, the heavier and costlier 1460 has a built-in metallic detector and requires a flow-controlled double-acting oil provide from the tractor.

Because the firm’s trailers have interchangeable our bodies or hook-lift mechanisms, the extra expensive chassis and working gear may also be used for different functions with the chopper eliminated.

North American choices

In North America, conventional dairying areas are protecting gross sales of pull-type forage harvesters going – albeit in dwindling numbers – to retain independence and save prices over contractor expenses, says Brad Wenger, product advertising and marketing supervisor at New Holland.

“Since 2017, the North American marketplace for pull-type choppers has dropped from about 400 items to half that, largely as a result of it has change into more and more troublesome for the standard small household farms that use them to generate income from dairy.

NH FP230

CNH continues to construct ‘conventional’ pull-type forage harvesters within the US, just like the NH FP230 © New Holland

“They just like the simplicity of our FP230 and FP240 pull-type choppers as a result of, with supplier workshop technicians charged out at $100-$120 (£70-£85) an hour, they wish to take care of their machines themselves.

“With no less than one 180-300hp tractor on these farms for cultivations work, they actually have sufficient energy obtainable and there are additionally a number of farms with these machines that also use silos for fodder storage.

“Filling these is a slower course of than packing a silage ground bunker, and that doesn’t swimsuit a customized operator [contractor].”

The forage choppers constructed on the CNH manufacturing unit in New Holland, Pennsylvania, the place the equal Case-IH FHX300 can also be made, have barely modified prior to now 20 years, apart from the set up of electrical controls.

A 1.94m-wide swath centre-gathering pick-up feeds a pair of chain-and-sprocket-driven compression rollers forward of the 533mm-diameter cutterhead. It’s run at 850rpm and carries 12 full-width knives in a spiral association.

Case-IH FHX300

Forage chopped on the Case-IH FHX300 is transferred by transverse auger to a separate blower © Case-IH

From there, a single transverse auger takes the chopped materials to a devoted blower on the drawbar aspect of the machine, which is usually used to propel the forage right into a mattress conveyor unloading right into a hay cart towed behind.

Most enter energy for the 2 fashions is 225hp and 300hp, respectively.


Canadian producer Dion-Ag has a distinct outlook on the trailed forager market and goals to draw clients by growing new machines with elevated efficiency and trendy controls.

At its Boisbriand works in Quebec, the corporate manufactures three fashions obtainable with standard 2.15m or 2.75m swath pick-ups and a couple of.2m and a couple of.9m row-free maize cutters.

The 2 Dion-Ag Scorpion fashions have 12 full-width blades in a spiral format on the drum and are bought via sellers in Canada, the US and Australia.

The 2430 mannequin incorporates John Deere’s Duradrum segmented blade chopping cylinder and is constructed solely for Deere sellers worldwide.

Dion-Ag Scorpion 350

Canadian producer Dion-Ag got down to modernise pull-type chopper design with the Scorpion 350s © Dion-Ag

All three machines run on tandem axles and fats tyres either side to unfold their weight.

A straight-through crop processing design, with forage passing between the compression rollers, chopper housing and blower with out altering path, is in distinction to harvesters with separate chopping and blowing installations.

The Scorpion 350 is the flagship machine – it will probably take 350hp on the pto and is claimed to be able to delivering greater than 130t/hour.

Whereas the 2430 and Scorpion 300 have multi-speed gearbox drive to the feed rollers and standard electrical controls, the Scorpion 350 has hydraulic feed curler drive that makes use of the tractor’s “energy past” circuit for cutterhead load monitoring and infinite chop size adjustment.

On the coronary heart of the Scorpion fashions is a 560mm-diameter chopping cylinder pushed at 1,033rpm via a 300hp-capacity 90deg bevel gearbox to get 22% extra cuts a minute than a extra widespread 850rpm system.

A belt from the bevel gearbox output shaft drives a hydraulic pump and motor that, via a twin-output gear case, runs the higher and decrease compression rollers.

Dion-Ag factors out that infinite feed curler pace adjustment can provide a wider vary of chop lengths than mechanical drive utilizing gearboxes, and provides higher management when reversing the feed rollers to clear a plug.

Pace sensors on the feed rolls and cutterhead present blockage warnings, whereas sensors additionally watch overbelt drives to detect slippage.

And along with Dion’s metallic detector, the Scorpion 350’s monitoring system prompts an emergency cease if it detects a stone or different non-metal particles by monitoring the peak of the highest entrance feed curler and its rotation.

Within the cab, the operator is supplied with a Isobus info show, whereas as much as 4 distant cameras may be put in to supply distant viewing help from the spout and different areas of the harvester.

Fliegl trials hybrid harvesting idea

A special idea that goals to mix the decrease chopping energy requirement of a forage wagon with the higher output of a full silage-making workforce is being developed by German trailer maker Fliegl.

The Büffel (Buffalo) has a pick-up reel and crop-slicing system like a forage wagon, but in addition a aspect elevator for unloading the small physique – of 10cu m capability on the prototype – to supply buffer storage throughout trailer changeovers or when choosing up in awkward corners.

The concept is that the machine can work repeatedly in all conditions with out interruption as two or extra trailers haul grass from subject to pit.

Nick Dale, Fliegl UK gross sales and repair supervisor, says: “With every sensible check of the system, the calls for on the machine improve, so there was a interval of growth because it was first seen in 2017.

Fliegl Buffalo

The Fliegl Buffalo goals to mix the low-power requirement benefits of a forage wagon with the output of a multi-trailer system © Fliegl

“It’s now within the remaining check section and, from Might onwards, shall be harvesting first-cut grass at varied places all through Germany to show its skills to potential clients and sellers.”

In earlier trials, Fliegl engineers have recorded harvesting charges of about 130t/hour with a 200hp tractor up entrance.

Steady operation is made simpler for operators by “magic eye” sensors that stop the unloading elevator working when there isn’t a trailer current and even when there’s a trailer current however it’s out of kilter. This avoids dumping grass on the bottom or on the tractor.

At 8t, the machine is a relative light-weight and an axle extendable by 90cm is claimed to present good lateral stability on sloping floor.

Fliegl engineers reckon in significantly steep or delicate components of fields it could be attainable for the machine to retrieve grass and unload into trailers on extra stage floor. An total size of 6m makes the outfit fairly manoeuvrable, too.

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