Strautmann Giga Vitesse CFS 360I
This month, Jaiden Drought tested a loader wagon that can eat an impressive amount of grass, while requiring less power – a win-win for any contractor.
This month in a rare show of compassion, the Farm Trader slave drivers allowed me to test a machine that actually resides in my region of Taranaki. Avoiding a flight at this time of year was a godsend with the shoddy weather conditions we've been experiencing and Air New Zealand's track record of allowing planes to leave the airport whatever the weather.
Luckily, I had a silage job teed-up just down the road in mighty Ohangai, just south of Hawera, where the main attraction is a house that has always been painted purple and is well-known among locals as the 'Purple Palace.' This house has been there since the 1940s and as one newspaper article described it, it's "as much of a land mark as Mount Taranaki". I think that may be pushing the envelope a bit, although, like the new Strautmann loader wagon I tested, it makes you sit up and take notice.
The Giga Vitesse CFS 360I wagon was recently purchased by Greg Burnand from Andrew Hopkins of Strautmann Hopkins.
After 30 years contracting, this is Burnand's first season of physically making pit silage. This change came about when another local contractor was getting out of loader wagons. Burnand saw this as an opportunity to up his range of services offered to customers and pounced on it.
Burnand currently runs all New Holland tractors, nine in total, ranging from modern T7's through to three old, trusty 60-series. Burnand has built a strong client base within a 30km radius of his yard in Alton, with his main workload being cultivation and baling services with his three Welger balers doing around 15,000 bales per season.
Farm Trader has tested two Giga's in the past and with very little changing in terms of design from the rotor back, I will focus on the revolutionary new pickup, known as the Continuous Flow System (CFS), as well as focusing on some of the structural changes, including the removal of the top support rails allowing rigid open-top bins, which double as high-capacity bin trailers.
The Giga Vitesse CFS 360I, with a capacity of 34m3, strikes an imposing figure, almost dwarfing the 260hp tractor pulling it. But don't let its overbearing size fool you — the 360 sits in the middle of the Strautmann range in terms of capacity. The CFS design allows power requirements to be reduced with anything from >150hp providing ample drive depending on the terrain, and has three main components — the pick-up; the accelerator roller; and the rotor.
When you first look at the pick-up, the cam track appears twisted, but in actuality, the pick-up has six, helically-arranged rows of tines which are camless and allow huge amounts of grass to be gently passed onto the accelerator roller. Another development, great for rough terrain, is the support rollers underneath the pickup that not only aid contour following but reduce the risk of bottoming out, as it's not relying entirely on the outside guide wheels.
The most noticeable new feature is a large steel roller in the pickup, which essentially speeds up the flow of grass to the rotor. In addition to this, like a rotor in a baler spreading the crop across the chamber and producing tight, well-shaped bales, the accelerator roller does exactly the same, spreading the crop across the width of the rotor, giving a more even chop for fast efficient filling — all with reduced drive requirements.
The CFS system allows the rotor to be mounted 100mm higher, meaning the tractor doesn't have to push the cut grass as far into the bin. Along with the crop-spreading characteristics of the speed roller, this reduces power requirement by 10% and can increase your average load tonnage by an additional 10% by evenly filling the wagon, increasing all-round efficiency. The helically-mounted, eight tine rotor features Hardox tips to ensure longer working life and aids in both consistent flow to the bin and, due to the large teeth, allows for consistent chopping through the knife bank.
To read the rest of this article, pick up a copy of the January issue of Farm Trader, on sale now!
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