The market for self-propelled silage harvesters was particularly strong in 2019 with estimates that close to 60 new machines were sold in the Republic of Ireland along with a further 20 sold in Northern Ireland. Given current estimates of upwards of 700 harvesters working in Ireland this equates to a replacement rate of 15 years.
We know that many machines are working effectively after ten years, while their output levels may be lower than some of the newer machines. The newer harvesters are providing greater output for less fuel consumed as well as new technology features to ensure that they work at their most efficient.
These machines can also provide additional crop and performance information that can be useful when the operator has had the advantage of good pre-season training. The move to include more technology into silage harvesters has to be welcomed and the use of the information provided will be an integral part of contractor services into the future.
Here we look at some of the new machines available for 2020, across the leading brands sold in Ireland.
John Deere updates self-propelled foragers for 2020
John Deere’s 8000 and 9000 Series self-propelled forage harvesters have been updated with several new features for 2020, with claims to provide customers with more comfort, lower operating costs and even more control and reliability.
John Deere claims that pick-up and direct cut headers can be operated with maximum efficiency and safety by this new AHC (Active Header Control) mode. Once the operator lowers the header, it can freely move over the ground. As soon as it is raised, it centres itself and locks automatically, so this fixed position provides greater security on the road. This extension of the AHC function is unique in the industry.
The Dura Line smooth roll scraper is now available with all three customer packages to meet different harvesting requirements. John Deere claims that Dura Line components last at least four times longer than standard ones, providing lower operating costs and more uptime.
John Deere claims that this new multi-functional operating lever introduces better ergonomics to the John Deere forager range. It is tilted further forward by 15 degrees and fits more comfortably in the driver’s hand, resulting in much easier changes between forward and reverse.
The John Deere 8000 Series silage harvester cutter-head also now benefits from the updated 9000 Series unit. New features include a strengthened frame, larger bearings and an improved knife grinding system. Due to the longer lifetime of the blades and shear-bar, John Deere claims that contractors will also benefit from lower service costs and improved chopping quality.
Kemper is now offering the 460plus StalkBuster maize header attachment in higher quantities for 2020 through John Deere dealers in Ireland. Improvements have been made to the control unit, so that the attachment cannot be damaged when reversing. John Deere claims that the StalkBuster is an excellent way of effectively controlling the corn borer pest without the use of chemicals.
Remote Display Access for all i-specification packages is now free of charge for the first five years, according to John Deere, on new machines from 2020. This provides customers with wireless connection in the field and enables data exchange with any mobile computers and smart phones as well as the farm office via JDLink Connect.