THE German Agricultural Society (DLG) has awarded is prestigious ‘DLG approved’ quality mark to the new CLAAS VARIANT 485 RC PRO variable round baler. DLG conducted a comprehensive series of practical and functionality checks on a VARIANT 485, fitted with the optional ROTO CUT cutterbar and PRO hydraulic cutting floor, in both grass silage and straw. The baler’s performance at a reduced PTO speed was also assessed.
CLAAS Harvest Centre Product Manager – CLAAS Greenline, Luke Wheeler, says the VARIANT 400 series features a number of improvements to maximise crop flow, bale shape, wrapping and throughput in all crops and operating conditions. “The DLG testers scrutinised every one of these improvements and the VARIANT came through with flying colours,” Luke says. “In the field tests, DLG achieved a throughput of 40.4 tonnes/hour in silage, including idling and turning times, with all 14 knives engaged and at an operating speed of 5.1 km/h. At times, throughput reached an astounding 165 t/h.”
The DLG testers were also impressed with the baler’s compression performance, uniform bale density and fuel efficiency. At the specified travel speed of 3.6 km/h, bale density of 100 per cent and with seven knives engaged, the silage bales had an average density of 449.4 kg/m3 at 38.3 per cent dry matter content.
“The testers also noted the uniform density from the bale core to the peripheral layer of each bale,” Luke says. “Reducing the PTO speed from 1000 to 800 rpm reduced fuel consumption between 12.8 and 27.9 per cent in terms of fresh mass with no impact on throughput or baling density.”
Six farmers then assessed the operating characteristics of the VARIANT 485, including its ease of hitching/unhitching, operation and settings, bale quality, cleaning and maintenance. The average score across all these criteria was 2.2 – or ‘good’. “The assessors highlighted the well-structured control options with intuitive menus and problem-free operation of the ISOBUS terminal,” Luke says.
Due for release in New Zealand and Australia in 2017, the VARIANT 485 produces 1.2 m high x 0.9 –1.8 m diameter bales. “It feature a new star rotor structure that turns through 360 degrees instead of the current 180 degrees,” Luke says. “With 14 knives, the rotor achieves 6000 cuts per minute, ensuring material is evenly distributed into the bale chamber helping to create uniformly-shaped bales. This is a particular advantage when baling narrow swaths.”
The PRO specification features an optional extra-large 2.35 m pick-up width with hydro-pneumatic suspension. “The cutting floor automatically drops when there is a risk of blockage, meaning that the baler can always be driven at its optimal level of performance,” Luke says. “The two oscillating castor guide wheels that steer the pick-up along the ground have been reinforced and can now be folded when using the XXL pick-up to reduce the transport width.”
The 400 series features edge-to-edge net wrapping as standard, as well as an overhauled netting or twine intake. “A new plate assists with the insertion of netting or twine into the baling chamber, which means that you can be sure that the tying process will start properly under all conditions,” Luke says. “A new spiral roller ensures netting stretches from one corner of the bale to the other during the tying process.”
CLAAS has also redesigned the pivot of the tailgate for rapid discharge. “The tailgate can be opened and closed even more quickly, allowing bales to be discharged in less than six seconds,” Luke says.
Other improvements include a reinforced front frame for low-wear belt guidance and the addition of a wide lubricating brush that coats all chains with oil, regardless of the bale count.
New models are also available with a central lubrication system.
DLG is an independent agricultural evaluation facility. Its Technology and Farm Inputs Test Centre ‘quality mark’ is internationally regarded as an impartial validation of product quality.
The full test report can be downloaded at www.dlg.org/ernte.
DLG is a politically independent agricultural sector organisation. The quality mark of the DLG-Test Center Technology and Farm Inputs is synonymous in the marketplace as an impartial validation of top product quality. The full test report will be available for downloading from March at http://www.dlg.org/ernte.html