VIDEO: Big forage units find their own path, load own way

OMAHA, Neb. — Claas of America gave its dealers and various media a sneak peek at the company’s new line of self-propelled forage harvesters last month but Aug. 27 was the official reveal during the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois.

New in the field are the Jaguar 900 series, 800 series and Terra Trac forage harvesters, which can be equipped with Orbis flex headers designed for ground contour control.

“We’ve increased our horsepower up to 925 horsepower for the producer up in Canada that needs more power to get more tons done in a day for their big feedlots or even their dairies,” said forage harvester product manager Matt Jaynes.

The company lays claim to higher throughput, consistent chop quality, fuel efficiency and various time-saving features as part of the new line.

The Jaguar 990 has 925 h.p. and the 970 has an in-line six engine with 790 h.p. They come equipped with autonomous CEMOS (Claas Electronic Machine Optimization System) technology that automatically adjusts horsepower and speed according to the conditions.

The units can steer themselves using a windrow pilot, and a camera on the spout allows it to point product flow in the right direction and arc, said Jaynes.

Claas also says its improvements to engine design and power transfer result in a 10 percent fuel savings compared to competitors’ models.

“We have the highest throughput and the best fuel efficiency per ton,” said Jaynes.

The forage harvesters come in wheeled and tracked models, with the tracked units providing smoother ride.

The Jaguar 880 forage harvester was recently released. | Barb Glen photo

“It’s about ride because in forage harvesting, there’s so much capacity to a forage harvester, so if I can increase my groundspeed … we can be going eight, 10, 12 m.p.h. so ride is a really important factor,” said Jaynes.

In terms of durability, Claas said it has installed a stronger feedroll cabinet and cutting head area cabinet, as well as premium wear plates, knives and hard metal shearbar.

Inside, the new models have large colour monitors with touchscreens, new armrest design with Bluetooth controls and the ability to integrate multiple monitors into the system to reduce cab clutter. Road speed is 25 m.p.h.

As for the headers, the Orbis 750 and 600 have frames stamped from flat pieces of metal, with no welded joints, to ensure strength. Knives, crop flow guides and Christmas trees are designed for durability along with consistent cutting and feeding.

The Jaguar 990 has 925 horsepower and autonomous technology. | Barb Glen photo

An auto contour system allows for cutting closer to the ground. A new folding design requires only 15 seconds.

Jaynes makes no secret of his pleasure with the new offering.

“Self-propelled forage harvesters are the most unique product out there in agriculture. They are the most expensive. They have the most horsepower. They have the most going on.

“A lot of people don’t appreciate how hard it is to run a forage harvester. That’s why Claas has come up with all these automatic features … like windrow steering and spout and all that.”

His comments also reveal a bit of competitive instinct when it comes to farm machinery operation.

“For me, on my weekends, if I want downtime I go run a combine, because to me running a combine is therapeutic. With a forage harvester, you’re always trying to hit the truck, you’re always trying to stay on the row. You have so much going on.”

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