Grimme launches 354hp Varitron potato harvester

German veg machinery manufacturer Grimme has revealed a host of updates to its two-row potato harvester range, including a new, more powerful engine and telescopic rear axle.

The old 326hp block has been replaced by a 7.7-litre, six-pot Mercedes Benz unit, boasting 354hp.

As a result, the block runs at 1,300rpm during road travel and 1,500rpm during digging, which the company claims significantly reduced fuel consumption.

Grimme Varitron Platinum 270

The Grimme Varitron Platinum 270

See also: How Yorkshire potato growers compete with Scots’ quality

The Varitron’s new armrest-mounted controller is unique to the company and comes with 77 different programmable functions.

Rotary and touch keys have been introduced to avoid a frustrating search on the screen, while up to 16 driver preferences can be saved and recalled when in similar digging conditions.

A brace of control terminals and video monitors allows eight cameras to be used, and the machine has a clever system that automatically switches on or highlights the cameras where it thinks a problem might occur.

Varitron Platinum 270's consoles

Varitron Platinum 270’s has eight cameras

Further back, a new telescopic rear axle means overall width is a road-friendly 3.5m, though it can be hydraulically extended by 550mm to give extra stability in the field.

A 5.3m turning circle makes it pretty agile compared with other self-propelled harvesters, too.

Corrosion free bars are fitted to the 1.1m wide picking web, which the company claims makes it 80% lighter than a traditional set-up.

The intake, as well as the first and second main webs, are also independently reversible to minimise the risk of things clogging up and save the driver getting off the seat should there be a blockage.

Varitron first and second main webs

The first and second main webs are independently reversible to minimise the risk of clogging

The harvester has a unique, 7t non-stop bunker that can be unloaded in 45 seconds when stationary, and which Grimme claims can increase output by up to 35%.

The Varitron 270's non-stop bunker

The Varitron’s 7t non-stop bunker can be unloaded in 45 seconds when stationary

Previously, a tractor was required to tension tracks but the job can now be done by the machine’s own hydraulics, while new carrier rollers, designed by Grimme, are supposed to reduce blockages in the tracks.