By Nick Fone

SELF-PROPELLED feeder-wagons are fairly complex – and expensive – pieces of kit. Consequently, they are difficult to justify on smaller units.

Recognising this, Kuhn has extended its range of feeders. An 18cu m version is now available, which should make the concept more attractive to larger, multi-site farm businesses, contractors and machinery-sharing co-operatives, hopes the French manufacturer.

The company first launched a self-propelled feeder/mixer in 2002 and this bigger version is a straightforward development of the original 14cu m model.

Up front a 2m wide milling head is responsible for loading operations. Equipped with a series of blades and a 75hp hydraulic motor, it can load silage at a rate of 3t a minute and will chop and load bales, long-fibre forages, concentrates and even roots.

The milling head feeds a conveyor which propels the diet components up the loading arm – which extends to 5.5m – and into the stainless steel-lined hopper.

Here twin horizontal augers mix the ration. Hydraulically driven, the augers can operate independently – to unload to the right a conveyor is lowered and the auger on the feed-out side is accelerated while the other is slowed.

This allows the hopper to be emptied in three minutes without damaging the structure of the feedstuffs in the body, says Kuhn.

Up in the cab, the operator controls all the machine functions via an armrest-mounted joystick. An in-cab monitor provides information on programmable weighing functions and allows data transfer or print-outs to be made.

Prices are not yet available, Kuhn stating only that the machine should be capable of completing 12,000 hours” work.

fwmachinery @rbi.co.uk