Colton Bros. of Martinborough decided this year to trade their 3m Kuhn mower conditioner in exchange for the high capacity Krone AMT5000CV which has a 4.8m working width.
Colton Bros. mow between 4000-5000 acres per year in conjunction with their silage and hay making operation. This year they have also purchased a new Claas 840 self-propelled forage harvester. They cover the whole of the southern Wairarapa valley from Carterton to the coast, a distance of about 60 km.
The AMT5000CV is being powered by a John Deere 6910 tractor with 125 PTO hp. Jacob Hawkins has been operating the mowers for the last 3 seasons. We interviewed Operations Manager Jim Alpe on 11th November out on the job.
The high capacity Krone AMT5000CV with it's 4.8m working width
Your old machine was only one year old. Why did you need to buy a new mower conditioner?
We needed to increase our mowing capacity. Last year we had to drive the mower at 14 km/hr to keep up with the rest of the operations, and even then the mower operator was doing more hours than the others. At 14 km/hr it becomes difficult to corner and manoeuvre obstacles. It is too high a ground speed for mower conditioning. We also wanted to stick with one tractor, one machine and one labour unit.
Which different systems did you consider?
We considered the front mounted/ trailed combination. The cost was about the same. But we figured that it would be easier to operate with just one trailed machine. What were your expectations of mowing capacity? We expected to be able to mow between 10-12 acres/hr on average. Previously with the 3m machine we had been able to achieve an average of 7 acres/hr.
Have your expectations been fulfilled?
Yes, comfortably in the 10-20 acre paddocks. In the smaller dairy farmer paddocks, we are not able to achieve 10 acres/hr. Jacob still has to put in a few extra hours to keep in front of the forage harvester.
Why did you go for the Krone AMT5000CV?
It was a new model, and Kuhn didn’t have an equivalent machine in NZ. Kuhn had a second hand machine, but we wanted a new one. We liked the short drawbar and the machine’s ability to corner. That feature has exceeded expectations. The end-tow system looks complicated, but it is well synchronised, and is user-friendly.
What other features appealed?
The ease of changing the knives. I liked that idea. Also the ruggedness of the conditioner, which would have to be one of the better ones on the market.
Have your customers been happy with the mowing job?
We have had several comments about the clean cut made, there are no ribbons left like you see from some mowing jobs. They have also commented on the speed of the operation, which has even surprised ourselves. It’s doing a brilliant job.
What are your longer term plans for mowing?
We expect to get a 3-4 year run out of this machine. And we’ll have to see after that.
How do you find the EASYCUT bar and the Quick-Change knife system in practice?
The Quick-Change system has been good. And the new cutterbar would leave a superior job compared to the older model.
Do you find it an advantage or disadvantage in having 2 smaller rows instead one larger row?
It is definitely advantageous for wilting having 2 smaller rows ie. 2x 2.4m instead of 1x 3.0m. We have noticed the difference in wilt time. It also gives us more flexibility with raking. In a heavy crop we rake 3 rows into one (3x 2.4m = 7.2m), and in lighter crops we rake 4 rows into one (4x 2.4m = 9.6m).
How do the 2 independent bars float in undulating ground conditions?
The system works brilliantly, and we are of course counting on it taking some stress off the cutter bar, hopefully, we will see.
Do you have undulating ground?
There is quite a lot of rolling country, sidlings, and sharp dips where we need to be careful. But probably 80% of our jobs would be flat.
Since the introduction of the end-tow models AMT4000CV and AMT5000CV, John Tulloch believes there is a good future for this type of machine in NZ for these reasons:
- The machine is efficient at cornering, meaning less time with the cutterbars out of the crops.
- The split cutterbar on the AMT5000CV ensures better floatation giving a cleaner cut, but more importantly, places less stress on the cutterbars resulting in a longer life compared with standard 3m machines.
- The end-tow machine has a transport width of less than 3m, making it suitable for contractors moving from job to job.
- The new cutterbar with the Quick-Change knives increases cutting performance and lessens downtime when changing knives.
- Standard tractors with 110-120 PTO hp can be used without the need for front linkage and front PTO.
- Mowing “round and round” allows the rake to follow in the direction of the mown windrows, which makes more consistent feeding into a round baler. This, in turn, improves the “thatching” quality of the round bales.
Pictured with the new KRONE AMT5000CV is Jacob Hawkins (left) and Jim Alpe (right) of Colton Bros.
Noel Preen's operation uses Elho 1410F2 AC New model bale wrapper
Pictured below is contractor Noel Preen, and his assistant Sam McLennan who operates the new wrapper. Noel has purchased this machine through our dealer North Canterbury Equipment in Amberley.
Noel had previously owned the earlier semi-automatic model, and reports a vast improvement in the wrapper’s performance, especially with being able to program the machine for fully automatic operation. Noel purchased the machine because he needs to wrap both square and round bales.
The Elho can be converted from round to square bale operation or vice versa in a matter of seconds, making it ideal as a contractor’s machine.
Noel Preen (left) and Sam McLennan (right) with their new ELHO 1410 F2 AC.
Service Training for dealers
Klaus Vehring, Service Training Specialist for Krone, was in Masterton during September 2000. All dealers were invited to send service representatives on the training course, and 2 sessions were held each lasting 2 days.
About 20 service technicians were put through the training course during Mr Vehring’s visit. The aim of the course was to further improve dealer and staff knowledge of the products we distribute. Apart from learning in-depth about the electronic control systems on different models of Krone balers, the trainees were put through the paces in driveline design. In addition, they were able to participate in pre-delivering a new VARIOPACK round baler from start to finish.
At the end of the 2 days, they were capable of completing a pre-delivery check single-handed, and felt comfortable with reprogramming the baler systems, and are now able to be confident with the operation or demonstration of a machine in the field. They have also obtained an understanding of how a driveline works, including the most common pitfalls in setting up a driveline in the field, and they are now capable of calculating the lifetime expectancy of a specified PTO-shaft, and make recommendations for PTO-shaft sizes for new applications.
The course was thoroughly enjoyed by all those who attended, and we intend to continue the training on an annual basis.
Klaus Vehring in the Tulloch's Workshop.
Assistant Service Manager
Stephen has worked for the company for 6 years in the service department. He handles most of the tractor repairs and pre-delivers new tractors, as well as repairs to machinery in general.
Stephen has completed service training courses on 4200 series and MX series CASE tractors, with the MX training held at CASE HQ in Sydney. Stephen steps in as Service Manager when Philip O’Neale is away, and this arrangement has been in place for the last 2 years.
On the personal side, Stephen is married with 2 children, and daughter Kelly has represented New Zealand on several occasions in athletics with her strongest discipline being the 800 m. In his spare time, Steve likes to relax at his beachside retreat at Mataikona near Catlespoint, where there is good fishing and peace of mind.