Kleine unveils new series of beet harvesters

The UK sugar beet harvest may have drawn to a close some time ago, but growers and contractors are already considering their machinery options for next year and that includes specialist harvesters.

Having launched its new Beetliner sugar beet harvester at last year’s Agritechnica show, German manufacturer Kleine hopes to regain the slice of the market that it enjoyed back at the time of the lightweight SF-10 machines of the 1990s.

Recent years have seen the rise of companies likes of Holmer and Ropa in the UK market. But Kleine’s new six-row Beetliner harvester, which appeared for the first time on British shores for field trials last winter, looks like it might well challenge the rivals.

The range comprises three models – the Compact, Large and Max – which offer varying bunker capacities. The smallest will carry 12t, the mid-sized version 20t and the biggest tri-axle model should hold a hefty 28t.

The three versions share plenty of component parts, including the lifting unit and elevators, and have several new features. There’s a new combination topper/shredder which will chuck leaves out either to the side or inline and Kleine says the pendulum-type opti-cut system provides more precise scalping, too.

Further back, rollers – rather than a web – transfer beet to the sieves, which the company says improves the cleaning process. Ring and discharge elevators have rubber teeth to reduce the weight of the harvester and prevent clogging up in sticky conditions.

At the rear (or more centrally on the Compact version) is a 1.4m discharge elevator. It can form up to 10m-wide clamps to suit the pick-up of self-propelled Maus-type cleaning and loading machines.

In normal conditions the Beetliner’s six-cylinder, 12.8-litre Mercedes-Benz engine works at around 1,300-1,400rpm, although it will rise to 1,600rpm through heavy crops and when unloading.

The engine lies between the bunker and Austrian-designed Mauser cab. Kleine says this improves the weight distribution and means the distance between the engine and topper/lifter for hydraulic flow is shorter.

A 500hp engine, 21t bunker and 40sec unloading time is all fairly standard for a self-propelled beet harvester, so competition is fiercest when it comes to in-cab controls. Kleine has opted for a touchscreen and multi-function joystick to control the stepless speeds of the shredder, transfer roller, sieves and ring elevator.

The Beetliner Large will cost about Û370,000 and UK importer is Norfolk-based J Riley Agri.

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