Machinery News

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Kuhn French press launch for new products

Ahead of Agritechnica later this year, Kuhn has displayed its 2020 product line-up to agricultural press at its test farm in France. David Williams was there. 

Last year Kuhn celebrated 190 years of trading, but in the past 19 years since 2000 the company’s workforce has grown from 2,041 to 5,300+ employees while production sites have increased from 4 to 11, supplying 100 countries. Between 8–10 per cent of revenue is invested in research and development every year, with E47M spent in 2018, and the range now includes 1,500 base models with 40 per cent of the 60,000 machines produced annually built to configurations specified by customers. 

The launch event included approximately 30 new models from all product areas, many of which were shown for the first time and others which had been displayed at the French Sima show earlier this year. 

Cultivations and drilling

Kuhn’s Smart Ploughing concept with control through Isobus is available for Vari-Master L mounted ploughs, making it easier to set-up and adjust the plough from the cab. But it also offers additional advantages – including its Smart Line function which ensures uniform ploughing regardless of irregularities in the field and corrects curves for improved efficiency and furrow matching. 

However the function which has created most interest since it was announced is Smart Lift – which lifts and lowers each body individually as it passes the headland line. The main advantage is neater matching where the headland meets the main field area with reduced unploughed ‘triangles’ on the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ which are an issue where conventional bodies lift and lower as a rigid set. When the headland is ploughed at 90 degrees to the main furrows, ploughing across the triangles means some land is double-ploughed. This not only wastes fuel and plough metal, but also means trash is returned to the surface creating opportunities for weed growth, especially where black-grass is an issue. 

The electronics are more complex but mechanical furrow activation is simple, relying on gravity when the plough is turned over to latch the upper or lower pivot points

Kuhn’s Smart Lift uses GPS guidance to precisely locate the headland line and as each section is lifted and lowered exactly where needed, the result is a tidier working edge. Another benefit of the individual plough body activation is that any number of furrows can be selected for work, so the working width can be set to precisely suit the remaining unploughed area, when completing headland work for example. 

The system also provides flexibility for working steep slopes where an asymmetric mode allows different numbers of furrows to be selected up and down hill.

The Kuhn event was the first time the plough has been shown working and the advantages of the Smart Ploughing technology were obvious.

Smart Ploughing models will be available in limited numbers this season in pre-series versions.

Optimer L updates 

Large 9m and 12m versions of Kuhn’s Optimer L cultivators have been added to the line-up catering for demand for higher work rates. 

The Optimer has 510mm discs with large or small cut-outs and mounted on rubber blocks. 

For transport the cultivator folds to 3m wide and remains under 4m tall, and EU homologation allows travel speeds up to 40kph. 

Steady Control ground tracking is exclusive to Kuhn and each chassis section can move independently for ground contour following. Hydraulic adjustment maintains sufficient disc ground pressure for penetration and depth across the full working width remains constant. During headland turns, weight is transferred to the depth wheels and rear packer, rather than the central transport wheels.

Under body clearance of 55cm is said to be the highest on the market making it ideal for high trash volumes. 

Depth adjustment is hydraulically assisted.

Kuhn suggests work rates up to 18ha/hr can be achieved at 15kph by the new Optimer cultivators, making them ideal for stale seedbed creation. 

Prolander R

New folding, mounted versions of Prolander R vibrating tine cultivators have been announced. The 100 R series has 4 tine rows and is available in 4, 5 and 6m working widths and suitable for tractors between 100–210hp. 

S-shaped 70x12mm vibrating tines ensure good mixing and create a fine tilth making the Prolander ideal for stale seedbed creation. 

Tine spacing is 15cm and a duck’s foot tine option will loosen weeds across the working width at just 3–7cm, whereas a straight tine is for deeper 5–12cm cultivation. Levelling tines behind the main cultivation elements leave the surface level. Under body clearance is 60cm. 

As well as the low power requirement, suitability for use with smaller tractors includes much of the weight well forward for ease of lifting. 

The roller and levelling board are hydraulically adjusted. The tines can be changed quickly with just one bolt for fixing, and the straight share can be reversed extending working life by up to 20 per cent. 

There is a range of rear packer options available. 

Drill news

Drill updates include a new foldable pneumatic seed drill combination. The BTFR 6030 seeding bar has a 6m working width and uses SeedFlex coulters. These are parallelogram mounted with depth control and a press wheel. The double discs have a 41mm offsett and a 35cm space between the first and second rows ensures accurate performance, even in wet conditions and heavy soils. Seeding depth is adjusted hydraulically. 

Drill updates include a folding pneumatic drilling combination

For versatility that will appeal to larger farms and contractors, VistaFlow seed distribution provides intelligent tramlining making it simple to establish crops even when drill and tramline widths don’t match. The system even allows starting at any point in the field with tramline position automatically calculated. 2×2 VistaFlow valves are standard but an upgrade offers half-width shut-off on the left side, or for maximum flexibility a full universal VistaFlow distribution head with half-width shut-off on the left or right is available. 

A separate transport carriage is removed in the field and attached quickly for the road without tools. 

The new BTFR 6030 was demonstrated mounted to the HR6040RCS power-harrow and TF1512 front hopper. The HR6040RCS is for tractors up to 460hp and comes with hydraulic depth and levelling bar adjustment with the bar also adjustable for angle. With the seed bar removed the power-harrow can be used independently. 

The front hopper has 1,500 litres standard capacity, with the option to increase it to 2,000 litres. Isobus compatibility allows the hopper to be controlled through the CCI terminal or tractor display and with volumetric metering rates between 1–430kg/ha can be achieved. 

Greater flexibility

There is strong demand for mechanical seed drills and Kuhn Sitera 3010/3020 and 3030 3m box drills all provide top quality seeding and great ease of use points out the company. 

The 3010 comes with Suffolk coulters, the 3020 has Double Disc coulters and the 3030 has SeedFlex coulters. 

Seed rate is controlled by Helica fluted metering units; one for each chute and capable of handling seeds of any type. 

User-friendly set-up includes the new VT30 3.5in colour touch screen that displays the main functions including hopper level, metering rotation and automatic tramline management. Isobus compatibility for the Sitera 3030 version means a CCI terminal or suitable tractor terminal can be used along with Kuhn’s SpeedSet smartphone app. 

A new quick-release interface allows quick fitting and removal from latest HR power-harrows and CD disc cultivators, making it easy to swap cultivation elements in response to working conditions or to use the cultivators separately. 

The new HR1020, 1030 and 1040-series power-harrows come in 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0m working widths and are suited to tractors up to 300hp. Where conditions allow, swapping the drill onto the new CD1020 seedbed cultivator – available currently in 3.0 and 3.5m versions, allows faster working up to 15kph. The disc cultivators have 24 or 28 discs and leave a fine tilth and level seedbed. 

Continuous working depth adjustment is an option for real-time adaptation to working conditions and they come with a new levelling bar with hydraulic or manual adjustment of depth and angle. 

Packer options include the new large 590mm MegaPacker roller, the 550mm SteelLiner furrow-opening roller, the 535mm MaxiPacker roller and the 592mm PackLiner. 

Variable precision seeding

Precision seeding including regulating seed numbers by area based on soil characteristics and using information from field maps can be achieved using the new Maxima 3 electrically driven drill. 

The new Maxima 3 electric-driven precision drill enables variable seeding to reduce costs or maximise yields

Kuhn suggests techniques to improve profitability include adjusting seed numbers to suit the soil type; capitalising on areas of high potential, and limiting seed population in areas with lower potential can optimise yields across the field. Coupled with automatic row shut-off this results in seed savings of two to three per cent claims the company. 

Agronomic optimisation involves adjusting the seed rate in lower potential areas to reduce water stress and improve access to nutrients and light for the crops planted. 

Varying seed rates to achieve optimum plant numbers for the soil characteristics results in typical yield increases of five to eight per cent, adds Kuhn. 

Adjusting the seed rate by row is simple with all settings made through the Isobus terminal. Seeding density changes constantly in response to the modulation map and position, and if the drill passes over two different rate zones at the same time, then the individual rows comply with the specific rate instruction for the location. 

Ultimate versatility

Also shown at the event was Kuhn’s Aurock 6000 seed drill which is designed to optimise plant establishment in zero-till farming regimes but also performs well in direct-seeding, min-till and mulch-based crop establishment situations. 

The Aurock is available with single (R) or dual metering (RC) allowing users to mix two varieties and establish through one seeding unit or to sow each type in alternate rows while managing seeding depth independently. The Aurock can be equipped with an integrated cutter roller with adjustable pressure allowing chopping or lighter crimping of vegetation such as cover crops. 

The Aurock 6000 drill is designed for zero-tillage regimes but is attractive for growers moving toward zero-tillage as flexible set-up means it can be tailored to suit various soil and weather conditions. Cultivation and seed and fertiliser placement options make it extremely versatile

A full-width wheel set can also be fitted for min-till seeding with a staggered wheel train preventing soil build up and reducing power demand. 

Two rows of opener discs create an opening slot at the front, and there are two disc options including a 460mm wavy disc to work on prepared soil or a 430mm embossed disc for efficient residue cutting and minimum soil movement. 

Parallelogram-mounted double discs place seed in the slot and an articulated chassis means the coulters precisely follow the opening discs even during turns. 

The Aurock is Isobus compatible for control direct from the tractor or through the CCI50 or CCI1200 terminals, and a joystick option can be added for greater ease of control. 

Trials ahead of the drill’s launch and during its development were very successful in the UK, where the drill proved it could work perfectly in a zero-till regime, and also perform well on fields where conservation tillage practises had started, but where conditions were not yet suitable for full no-till establishment. (See Farmers Guide June 19 edition for more information). 

Control line-up

Kuhn’s display choice has been increased with the addition of a new CCI800 8in screen. This joins the current CCI50, and the CCI1200 which can monitor and control two Isobus–equipped machines at the same time. The new CCI800 can manage and control one Isobus-equipped machine and is equally user-friendly. Tapping the screen allows each CCI application to be viewed on a full display, allowing adjustments to be made quickly and easily. To return to the standard display the user simply taps the screen again. The CCI800 version is Agrirouter-ready and transmits data wirelessly with no USB stick needed. Also new is the CCIA3 joystick controller with a touch-display and different grid layouts to suit various implements. 

The new CCI800 8in screen (left) joins the base CCI50 and CCI1200 in Kuhn’s line-up providing additional options for users. The CCIA3 joystick (right) is versatile and comes with different grid patterns to suit various applications

Cutter bar upgrade

An improved version of the OptiDisc cutter bar features on more than 60 mowers and mower-conditioners in Kuhn’s forage line-up. The OptiDisc Elite retains design strengths of the standard OptiDisc including variable disc spacing dependent on direction of rotation with a wider gap where blades converge for improved forage flow-through and to prevent double cutting, and smaller centre distances between forward-rotating discs to increase overlap. Also retained is Fast-Fit knife attachment for quick blade changes in the field. 

New features of the Elite version include doubling of the overlap area to improve performance in wet, sticky swaths and heavier crops. 

New disc bearings hold the knives in place and allow 360 degrees of swivel to protect against impact damage. 

Replaceable wear plates are available which can be fitted to the disc skids, along with protective plates for the underside of the cutter bar. 

Demonstrated at the event was a pair of rear-mounted GMD8730 mowers working with a front-mounted GMD3123F. 

The GMD8730 disc mower is an established model but has been upgraded with features to optimise its quality of work. A slightly wider cut width up to 8.8m increases overlap and the standard cutterbar is the new OptiDisc Elite, complete with Fast-Fit knives. 

Independent left/right lift with electric pre-selection makes it easier to finish tapered work areas. 

New FlexProtect polyethylene side guards are fitted which flex rather than break if an impact occurs. 

The GMD8730 is compatible with 3.1m or 3.5m front mowers and it can be stored flat or vertical using parking stands supplied as standard. It’s ideally suited to tractors from 120–130hp, says the company. 

The GMD3123F front mower is for tractors between 80–170hp and fits into the line-up between the GMD2721F and GMD3121F light-weight mowers designed for hill work and the heavier duty GMD3125F and GMD3535F which are for intensive use. 

The mounting linkage allows pendulum-type articulation +/-12 degrees for accurate ground contour following. 

The Optidisc Elite cutterbar is standard with the direction of disc rotation helping form compact swaths between 1.3–1.4m wide to avoid damage from tractor tyres. 

Leaf spring suspension maintains stability for road travel and during tight turns in the field. 

FlexProtect side guards are fitted with manual or hydraulic folding. 

Side delivery rakes

Kuhn displayed new GA6930 and GA7530 Gyrorakes for side delivery of forage. Working widths are up to 6.8m and 7.4m respectively. 

The ability to produce one or two windrows from the GA7530 model is standard, but an option on the GA6930. 

Both are suitable for heavy working conditions thanks to the MasterDrive gearbox which has a double reduction system. 

A high frame allows the rotors to lift rapidly for headland turns and generous clearance over swaths already formed prevents damage. 

Both rotors lower rear first to protect the sward and allow gentle engagement with the forage. 

Rotors have 3d articulation and the wheels are positioned close to the tines for accurate ground contour following. 

For transport StabiDrive uses an inclined hitch pin to apply pressure to the inner wheel during cornering to ensure maximum stability. 

Centre delivery rakes

The GA7631 and GA8131 semi-mounted central delivery Gyrorakes are designed for medium and larger farms with working widths of 7.5m and 8.0m. Drive is through MasterDrive generation 3 gearboxes, which save weight and require lubrication only every 200 hours. 

The rotors have 3d suspension and lower rear first for progressive ground contact. With the rotors lifted there is 43–70cm clearance to avoid contact with formed windrows. 

Hydraulic adjustment of working and windrow width is standard and options include hydraulic working height adjustment, individual rotor lifting, wider transport wheels, a bogie axle and hydraulic windrow curtain. 

Simpler specification

Complementing the current flagship GA13131 and GA15131 4-rotor rakes the new GA13031 offers 8.4–12.5m working width but a simpler specification and lower price tag. 

Rotor drive is 100 per cent hydraulic for reduced maintenance over mechanical drive alternatives and a MasterDrive G3 transmission ensures trouble-free operation in heavy swaths. Specification includes 3d rotor articulation, suspension springs on the front rotors and wheels close to the tines for accurate ground following. Control is by the tractor’s hydraulic valves unlike the GA13131 which has Isobus connectivity and a further feature not available on the latest model, but included on the premium version is the ability to increase front rotor speed relative to the rear by up to 20 per cent. 

Transport width is under 3m and maximum folded height is under 4m and Kuhn points out that the new rake is ideal for larger farms which need the potential high work rates but which don’t have the latest tractors.

Cleaner forage

Swath mergers are in growing demand offering advantages including high work rates and reduced forage contamination. 

Two new belt mergers have been added, complementing the current Merge Maxx950 which becomes the mid-size model in the range. The Merge Maxx760 and Merge Maxx1090 both offer side or centre delivery. The Merge Maxx760 has two 2.75m pick-ups giving a total working width of 5.5m for side delivery. Centre delivery increases the working width to 7.5m.

Growing swath merger demand is mainly for reduced forage contamination and high work rates. Two new belt mergers have been added to Kuhn’s range

The larger Merge Maxx 1090 achieves 10.95m working width in centre delivery format and with both 4.40m pick-ups side by side in side-delivery position, the working width is 8.80m. 

The Merge Maxx 760 is controlled by the KMM 01 display and the Merge Maxx 950 and 1090 models are controlled by the AT10.

New wrapping option

A film binding option is available for the FB3135 fixed chamber round baler providing increased protection for bales during transport from baler to wrapper and an additional new feature for several round balers in the range is a factory-fitted drawbar for towing in-line wrappers. 

Kuhn’s film binding system uses two regular 750mm stretch film rolls eliminating the need for special wide film, reducing film binding costs by approximately 37 per cent claims the company, plus reducing film changing frequency by up to 30 per cent. Using twin rolls which overlap saves time at the start and end of each bale over single roll models. Swapping from film to net is quick and easy as both the net and film rollers stay on the machine. 

The new drawbar option for FB3135, FB3130 and VB3100 models allows the baler and wrapper to work in combination or separately to suit the situation. With the RW1810 self-loading wrapper the combination becomes fully automated for one-man operation.

Rapid round baling

The new VB7100 high performance baler range is designed for larger farms and contractors offering high density and high capacity. The variable chamber round balers create bales up to 140kg/m3 in straw and will bale up to 30t/hr in a wide variety of working and crop conditions. 

The high bale density is achieved through i-Dense. This uses an intelligent twin tension arm which works with a moisture sensor to automatically adjust the baling pressure according to different crops and conditions for most economical use of the baler.

The VB7100 high performance round baler offers density up to 140kg/m3 in straw and up to 30t/hr capacity

With four belts and three rollers, working with i-Dense, the chamber ensures fast and consistent bale formation in any conditions including silage, claims the company. An integral rotor ensures even crop flow, and active stretch technology for wrapping guarantees consistent net tension.

Tailgate operation is the fastest on the market with bale ejection and tailgate closing completed within four seconds. 

The main drive is by 1.5in chains with constant lubrication. Rotor tines are from Hardox steel and 50mm spherical roller bearings are fitted to the main driven rollers and protected by Kuhn patented seals. 

There are two models currently – the VB7160 for 1.60m bales and the VB7190 for 1.85m bales. Both are Isobus compatible and will be available in limited pre-series next year. 

New square balers 

A new generation of large, square balers to optimise efficiency of straw handling was demonstrated. The SB-series is designed for high work rates and high bale density and four models produce bales in three sizes, all with double knotting.

The SB890 produces 80x90cm bales, the SB1270X produces 120x70cm bales and the SB1290 and SB1290iD both make bales of 120x90cm. 

An improved intake includes a new crop guard and all models feature new drive lines including higher rated cam-clutches for the rotor with up to 20 per cent extra capacity over current models. 

All new SB-series balers have a larger 485kg flywheel, up from 285kg currently. The plunger linkage includes angle and force sensors which measure the working load, and thinner flakes from the pre-chamber with size regulated by an electronic management system achieve throughputs up to 45t/hr in wheat straw. 

For highest bale weights the iD model achieves up to 198kg/m3 straw density in wheat, approximately 25 per cent higher than the standard version due to its 3.85m long chamber and TwinPact double plunger system. Kuhn explained at the event that despite the high bale density, machine stress loadings are similar to a conventional 120×90 baler. The plunger rollers, which used to be replaced every two years are now designed to last the life of the machine, reducing cost of ownership.

The new balers feature guidance to tell the operator to move left or right to improve bale formation if the swath is uneven and up to 16 twine spools can be carried on each side of the machine. 

All SB models are Isobus-compatible for control from the tractor screen or by the CCI50 or CCI1200 terminals.  

Feed mixing efficiency

Mixer wagon updates include a CVT transmission for Kuhn’s larger two- and three-auger vertical mixers. 

The electronically controlled, infinitely variable drive includes intelligent management to regulate the auger speed. This allows smaller tractors to power modern, large mixers by reducing the start-up loads required as well as ensuring maximum efficiency during the mixing process. The transmission is part hydraulic drive and part mechanical – similar to tractor CVT units and Kuhn said advantages include reduced power requirement and less fuel consumption, lower risk of tractor overload – especially during the early stages of mixing, automatic selection of faster blade speeds as the tub empties for a cleaner hopper and total control of mixing speed during the mixing process. There are three operating modes;

Manual- reducing torque on the tractor during start-up and allowing total control of mixing speed throughout the cycle.

Automix- This automatically regulates the auger speed depending on the stage of the mixing cycle.

AutoTorque- This regulates the auger drive according to torque and after the operator enters the tractor power at the terminal the computer determines the input power required by the CVT gearbox based on power exerted on the satellite gears. If power requirement exceeds the set power limit then the drive ratio changes to reduce demand.

The new transmission will be available in limited numbers as a pre-series next year. 

Bedding dust control

CleanStraw is an option for Kuhn straw bedders and uses a fine mist of water during straw spreading causing dust to settle faster. Very little water is needed so straw moisture absorbency is not affected. A 64-litre tank is standard which is enough for 12–18 straw bales applying at a rate of 3 litres per 100kg of straw. 

CleanStraw is available to fit to the chutes of all multi-purpose straw blowers and mixer wagons equipped with straw blowing turbines, and can be supplied for after-fitment as well as to new machines.

Heavy-duty shredding

Designed to handle woody material up to 8cm diameter, the new BVR 100 series of shredders will have particular appeal for orchards and vineyards.

Working widths are 1.53–1.91m and unlike current BV10 and BV100-series models, the BVR variant can be equipped for front mounting only or with a versatile double coupling for front or rear use, also incorporating hydraulic offset.  

The rotor is 423mm diameter and the 1.2kg hammer knives work with 3 counter knives for thorough shredding. 

Four drive belts allow use on tractors up to 110hp. 

Hedge maintenance

Agri-Longer G2 hedge and grass cutters replace previous models, incorporating a mechanical safety system. 

There are 2 models – the 4345M with 4.3m reach and the 4745M with 4.8m reach. 

From January, Agri-Longer G2 hedge and verge cutters replace previous models and come with a higher specification

220-degree head rotation and the outer boom cylinder positioned above the arm makes it easy to tackle hedge tops and ditches and allows working at the rear of the tractor in areas with restricted space. 

An air-cooled radiator keeps the 40hp transmission oil cool. 

Lights are integrated into the bumper for protection and control is by cable or electronic.

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