Kuhn has launched two mower-conditioners for use in delicate crops like lucerne or alfalfa, where leaf loss can be a major problem if conditioning is done by traditional flail type designs.
The first is to ensure timeliness and drilling into optimum conditions, the second to ensure fast and even germination and get the plant off to a good start, and the third to ensure high output. But power requirements are moderate and establishment costs low.
The Espro takes its design from Kuhn’s existing technology and expertise, and introduces new elements.
At the front, the two rows of 460mm discs chop and incorporate any trash and start the process of creating a tilth. The second element, towards the centre of the machine, is a bank of 900mm rubber press wheels whose large diameter reduce rolling resistance, reduce the need for power and create an evenly consolidated profile which helps promote better seed to soil contact.
The tyres have an aggressive tread pattern and a square profile, the former promoting fine tilth creation and the latter even consolidation over the machine’s full width. The wheels are also laid out with an 85mm stagger that reduces bulldozing and maintains soil flow.
The Crossflex seed bar has coulter arms mounted in polyurethane blocks to secure them to the main frame; this also allows a degree of spring to maintain a precise sowing depth at high speeds – carried out by double disc coulters as used in the Kuhn Seedflex system.
With a power requirement of around 35hp/metre, the 6m unit can be pulled with around 200hp, of interest to contractors or larger farmers.
All units are ISOBUS compatible and can be operated by the CCI200 (Isobus) or VT50 (non-isobus) terminals which both offer touch screen and ‘soft key’ operation for intuitive use.
Of particular interest to many operators will be the automated headland function that ensures each element is lifted in sequence to allow drilling right up to the mark or headland.
In operation the metering unit stops as the first disc element lifts, so any seed already in the delivery tubes is placed in the ground and not left on the surface. The sequence operates in reverse when entering work.
Calibration takes no longer than five minutes; depth control for the front cultivation gang, seeding depth and coulter pressure is set via clips on the hydraulic cylinders.
Maintenance is taken care of by sealed bearings on the front and seeding elements and pivot points are kept to a minimum.
Accessories include front press wheels, wheel track eradicators, pre-emergence markers and a choice of hydraulic or pneumatic braking systems.