‘This harvester handles lumps a lot better; we’ve never managed to choke her with grass’

Contracting is a way of life for Alwyn Young. He recalls when growing up he spent a lot of time out on machines with his father, who has been running the business ever since he left school himself. Now his father is taking a step back and Alwyn is taking over the contracting business based in Castlederg.

Along with the contracting they also run the family farm.

For Alwyn, the decision to move to a Krone forage harvester was made three years ago. They got a demo of the Krone in very challenging, wet conditions and it proved itself a worthy successor.

“It was wet, and the grass was a month overdue,” explained Alwyn. “The rows were heavy and lumpy but straight away we could see the Krone was better.

“We’re that far west that ground conditions in our area are wet, but with the Big X we can put on bigger, wider tyres and stay within the width of our previous machine; so now we travel better and do less damage to the ground.

Youngs chose to put 900/60 R 32s on the front and 710/60 R30s on the rear of their BiG X while managing to keep the machine narrow enough for tight lanes.

“A lot of farmers would ted the grass but because of the conditions we don’t get good drying at times,” Alwyn said.

“Once it’s rowed up, tedded grass can be lumpy and we were getting bother with our previous harvester with the auxillorator breaking because of lumpy rows causing problems, but that is no longer an issue.

“The Big X handles lumps a lot better. I’ve never, ever choked it with grass; generally, whatever goes in the front of the reel goes on through.”

Unique to the BiG X, it has six feed rollers instead of the usual four. This means that the crop and lumps are heavily compressed before reaching the chopping drum which leads to a smooth running machine and consistent chop quality.

Unique features benefit the business

Alwyn is the driver of the Big X 630 and has a lot to say about how some of the machine’s key features have benefitted his business.

“You have six feed rollers which for lumps makes it feed better, a lot smoother and, plus, the metal detector is a good bit further away at the front from the drum so if you do get a metal detection you have more of a distance to stop.

“To take the feed rollers off there are no spanners needed; four quick release pipes and press a button on the side and that’s the reel off. Everything is fierce quick and handy.

“In the previous harvester the hangers that the knife sat on, on the drum they would wear; whereas, on the Krone harvester that is all replaceable and your knife will not break off and get free. Your knife sits within a slot whereas the other one would have sat on top and it kept breaking off – yet we have not lost a knife.

“Rear suspension I would find the biggest help for myself,” stated Alwyn. “I have a sore back and farmers that makes ground ready, because of the weather it’s a rushed job and ground is getting rougher; but with the rear suspension on the harvester you would not feel that – you would not be sore coming out of the harvester at the end of the day.

“The Big X has a superior lock on the steering. The turning angle that you can get turned around is a lot, lot easier. We lift mainly 30ft rows and we can go up, turn right round and get back down again; whereas with the previous harvester you had to give yourself a bit of room.”

Protects the ground

As well as been easy to manoeuvre in tight fields, the Krone harvester is designed to protect the ground as much as possible, even in wet conditions.

Alwyn explained: “All the wheels are oil driven. With the previous harvester, if you turned sharp the inside wheel would grip the ground and lift the sods; whereas, the Krone machine knows the angle you’re steering and cuts the oil off to the inner wheel to keep it from lifting the sods.

“So we find less damage when turning, especially if we’re turning sharp and turning up hill you’ll find far less damage done to the ground.”

‘Nothing is a problem’

McGee Farm Machinery is the dealer that provides Alwyn with his machine and service.

“They’re first class, any time day or night, any day of the week it doesn’t matter you can ring Kevin; although, we call him more for a chitchat than anything else,” said Alwyn.

“Nothing is a problem, anything you ever ask they find out for you. This is my third season and we have just needed knives, tines, oil and filters, not a single wear plate, no shear bar and not even a sharpening stone has been replaced.”

Further information

For more information on the Krone BiG X, just click here