Over the last two decades, the once familiar trailed forage harvester has become a rare sight in the paddock — is that all about to change?
As fuel costs have risen, studies have shown that modern, loader wagon-based harvesting machines can use 50% less diesel than comparative systems.
Pottinger has recently announced a raft of upgrades to its loader wagon range. The new EuroProfi 4510, 5010 and 5510 models and the Torro 6010 and 65610 versions can be used as loader wagons but have the ability to quickly convert to transport operations. With power requirements of 130-220hp for EuroProfi and 160-300hp for Torro, there should be something in the range to suit individual users' requirements.
Up front, heavy duty drawbars combine with wide angled pto shafts that see overload clutches uprated to 1800Nm on the EuroProfi and 2300 Nm on the Torro series – claimed to deliver 10% more power to the cutting rotor with a resultant 20% hike in capacity, all with lower maintenance.
At the front of the wagon a six-bar suspended pick-up follows twin cam tracks for optimal tine control and smooth clean transfer of grass to the chopper unit. This is enhanced by a new tracking roller mounted under the rear centre of the pickup unit, working irrespective of the front jockey wheels; this gives exceptional ground following, especially in a wet season when ruts created by tractor tyres can cause soil contamination
From the pickup grass is fed to the gear driven, 800mm diameter chopper rotor, where eight rows of helically arranged tines push the crop over the chopping knives in a progressive manner said to reduce power requirement.
The Powercut knife system is also new, with 35 knives on the Europrofi series which results in a 39mm theoretical chop length, while the Torro series has 45 knives and the ability to chop down to 34mm. Loader wagons rely on sharp knives to achieve good chop quality and low power consumption, so the EasyMove system allows the knife bank to be lowered and swung out to the side of the machine at the touch of a button, and a central knife lock control allows the knives to be removed quickly. An optional TwinBlade system features knives uniquely shaped to offer cutting edges on two sides of a triangular design and allow a quick change to sharp items as the crop dictates.
Once chopped, crop is transferred to a lowered scraper area that takes the material back into the body, and for the first time allows the fitment of 710-45R22.5 tyres to keep the body level; an upgrade to the floor chains to 10mm deals with the capacity upgrade, as does the addition of a two-speed floor motor for the NZ market.
Indicative of the combined capability of the wagons, the front bulkhead can be hydraulically shifted from loading to transport duties, and a viewing port allows the driver to see the load at all times. When in automatic loading mode, twin sensors and adjustable compression springs ensure the wagon remains matched to the available power.
Side panels are full length and lightweight and combine with a wide opening rear door to enable rapid discharge; optional rear beater packages and cross conveyor systems will suit those wishing to feed into troughs or zero graze.
A choice of control system includes Direct Control for L versions, Power Control for D versions, or the optional CCI ISOBUS terminal for both versions.