Fresh power and technology upgrades keep pushing up forager output and give cost-efficiency gains. We round up the latest changes. 

Claas

Claas Jaguar 860 forage harvester

Real-world fuel savings of 8-10 litres/hour are claimed for the latest-generation Claas Jaguar 800-series forage harvesters, thanks to more economical Mercedes-Benz engines which run at higher torque outputs at lower engine speeds.

See also: Fendt Katana finally gets UK launch

The new Dynamic Power feature of the Jaguar 860 and 870 automatically varies the engine power output over an 11-step range as crop volume varies.

Ranging from just 272hp to 510hp on the Jaguar 860 and up to 598hp on the Jaguar 870, the system keeps engine speed at an optimum 1,800rpm – all of which has translated to fuel savings of 12% in DLG trials, says the company.

Hydraulics have been uprated to deliver more rapid reactions to control inputs and new Cebis terminal software is said to make setting up the harvester easier, while also providing features such as knife sharpening and shear bar adjustment reminders.

On machines with Quantimeter yield measurement, an alert is raised when a certain tonnage of crop has passed through the machine.

Auto Fill spout control, Claas Telematics and supplementary fuel tank are among new options for the 800-series harvesters, which can now operate the higher throughput front-end attachments previously reserved for the Jaguar 900-series machines.

Fendt

Fendt Katana forage harvester

Having dipped its toe in the self-propelled forage harvester market with a single Katana at 653hp, Fendt is jumping into the big league with an 850hp version – and a promise to produce the more farmer-oriented Katana 50 with a “modest” 500hp.

Field experience has led to a number of changes for last year, says the company, most of them involving replacement of steel body parts with plastic ones to either combat corrosion or improve access for servicing and maintenance.

The fundamentals were unchanged, however, including the largest diameter – but not the widest – chopping cylinder and the Eco/Power engine management that in a light crop eases engine speed (and power) down to 1,600rpm from 2,000rpm for fuel economy.

For the Katana 80, Fendt engineers have installed a 21-litre MTU V12 diesel engine in place of the 65’s Mercedes-Benz V8 and a larger radiator for extra cooling capacity.

No after-treatment is needed for the big MTU because its power level puts it outside emissions control requirements.

As a result, the space occupied on the Katana 65 by an AdBlue tank is used on the more powerful version by an optional 250-litre container for preservative or to increase fuel capacity to 1,350 litres.

Two-range hydrostatic drive, rear axle suspension and the intake-chopping-blowing assemblies are unchanged, but the 85 gets larger 710/70 R42 drive tyres as standard, which pushes overall width to 3.19m.

John Deere

John Deere 8600i self-propelled forage harvester

Flashier styling of the large body panels identifies the John Deere 8000-series forage harvesters, which build on the features of their predecessors while adding more efficient power, control and crop monitoring to the package.

There are five models, which are all now available with the more advanced ProDrive Autoshift four-range hydrostatic transmission in place of the standard three-range installation, and all are powered by John Deere 9.0- or 13.5-litre PowerTech PSX six-cylinder engines.

These are arranged lengthways in the chassis as before, with power outputs spanning 380-625hp. The biggest output is reserved for the wide-body 8600 model, which has a 856mm chopping cylinder rather than the 686mm unit.

The cutting head itself has been redesigned for better crop flow, which together with dry sump gearboxes, is said to give less power loss.

Lighter components have also given a significant weight reduction and improved fuel economy, says Deere.

A redesigned interlocking disc kernel processor is said to improve maize processing for silage and there is a new integrated additive applicator.

Detailed cab upgrades and refinements aim to make the operator’s working day more comfortable.

New front-end attachments include 3-4.5m grass pick-up reels and 6-9m Kemper maize cutters, in addition to the Zurn ProfiCut 620 mower for wholecrop harvesting.

Krone

Krone forage harvester

Having pushed forage harvester power to new levels with the 1,078hp BiG X 1100 for vast US corn fields, Krone returned to its roots last year with two entry-level models, the 480 with 489hp peak output and the 580 with 585hp.

Electronic management of the MTU six-cylinder engines trims constant power while chopping to 455hp and 551hp, with the sideways installation resulting in direct power flow via a six-groove poly vee-belt to the chopping cylinder, crop accelerator, front-end hydraulic drive pumps and hydrostat for the ground drive-wheel motors.

When taller tyres are fitted (sizes up to 900/60 R42 are available) a new eccentric hub assembly is repositioned to maintain the same crop intake height.

Hydraulic drive can also be added to the rear wheels, which can also be mounted on a hydraulic wishbone suspension assembly.

A narrower-but-taller 630x660mm cutting cylinder is fitted and said to provide the same depth of crop mat that the bigger machines take in.

Otherwise, the VariStream crop flow layout is familiar, with six pre-compression rollers, spring-loaded plates beneath the cutting head and behind the crop accelerator to avoid blockages.

A 250mm diameter roller maize kernel cracker is built in, with the option of a large-surface-area disc cracker instead.

The four larger BiG X foragers now feature the AutoStop system to prevent the machines becoming bunged up. The system monitors engine speed and automatically reverses the intake mechanism to prevent an engine stall and blockage.

New Holland

New Holland FR500 forage harvester

The current FR self-propelled forage harvester series introduced for 2013 features FPT Cursor engines with increased power for the FR450 and FR500 at 450hp and 520hp.

Meanwhile Power Cruise adjusts engine and ground speed in relation to load on all models to achieve fuel savings of up to 15% over manual control.

A new chopper body was introduced as part of the upgrade. This gives a 40% improvement in the amount of air generated by the paddle blower, says NH, and a more stable crop flow that gives increased throughput.

NH’s VariFlow system gives different grass door and blower settings to suit heavy first-cut and lighter second-cut crops, with up to 40hp saved as a result.

 Forager models

Model

Power

Claas Jaguar

840

400hp

850

455hp

860

510hp

870

598hp

930

455hp

940

510hp

950

598hp

960

653hp

970

775hp

980

884hp

Fendt Katana

65

653hp

85

850hp

John Deere

8100

380hp

8200

430hp

8400

540hp

8500

585hp

8600

625hp

Krone BiG X

480

489hp

580

585hp

600

775hp

700

775hp

850

850hp

1100

1078hp

New Holland FR

FR450

449hp

FR500

516hp

FR600

600hp

FR700

685hp

FR850

824hp