BESPOKE to Krone, the German machinery manufacturer continues to be the company producing the dedicated self-propelled mower – the famed Big M. Initially launched in 1996, the mowing platform was met with some scepticism. However, it is widely acknowledged as the highest output machine for mowing.
In fact, Krone attributes almost 20% of its annual Big M sales to the Irish market, highlighting how successful the machine is here.
Manufactured in Spelle, Germany, the first model – Big M MK1– was by no means perfect, and Krone engineers were provided with plenty of ‘constructive’ feedback from contractors cutting in the unforgiving heavy Irish conditions, especially with the failure of mower beds.
The Big M MK2 was launched in 2001 and is instantly recognisable with its facelifted front. With the previous MK1, both the cab and engine had been ‘borrowed’ from John Deere. Eager to distance themselves from the green and yellow brand as Krone themselves entered the forage harvester market, the cab is produced by Fritzmaier. The cab boasts a huge coverage of glass providing a panoramic view, as well as an array of work lights built into the roof overhang. Further work lights are built into the front and side mudguards.
Replacing John Deere’s 8.1l engine is a 12L Mercedes straight six, producing 360hp, complete with reversing fan for optimum cooling. The hydrostatic drivetrain uses a separate pump for the front and rear axle, with a radial piston motor driving each wheel.
The drivetrain also has two ‘gear’ ratios – field 0-10mph and transport 0-25mph. The MK 2 is also highly manoeuvrable with a 53 degree steering lock, with the Big M really coming into its own in smaller, tighter fields.
The MK2 weighs in at a hefty 12.3tons, and is fitted with 750 front and 650 rear tyres as standard to reduce its footprint on the ground, with a 60/40 weight distribution.
Most importantly, the mowing capacity of the MK2 was improved. The cutting width was significantly increased from the previous 9.1m of the MK1 to 9.7m. A nice feature of the Big M is the ability to lay the conditioned grass flat on the ground for increased wilting. The side mowers use augers to move the swarth into the middle when grouping and can be used individually.
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Krone BigM MK2
Years of manufacture