BiG MAN Conquers Hay
The grass portion of the Meet the BiG MAN Tour went from April 4 until June 15. We started in the Central Valley of California around Turlock and Modesto. Additional stops were made around Tulare, Hanford and Bakersfield, CA. The first weekend of May I traveled to the panhandle of Texas and started demoing in the Hereford area and then had a few demos in New Mexico. The last week in Texas was spent in the northern part of the panhandle around Dumas. After Texas I moved to Colorado and Idaho. In Idaho, I started the demos at the dealership in Caldwell and then after a week I moved to the dealer in Twin Falls. The last demo in grass was made on June 15 in Jerome, ID.
In total, 52 demos were conducted during the tour and over 100 demo drivers were in the seat of the new BiG X. I demoed for customers from 7 different states in the US. The interest in the new chopper was so big that we had visitors from the east coast come to California for some demos and some Canadians came to Idaho for the demos. During my first round I chopped winter forage (oats, wheat and triticale) and rye grass. In California and Texas wheatlage and triticale were very common, and in Idaho we mostly chopped alfalfa and triticale. The yield varied a bit between states because of weather conditions. While some triticale in California yielded up to 22 t/ac the yield in Texas was sometimes less than 15 t/ac because of the drought. Most of the time the windrows have been double windrows merged from 32 ft and some BiG M 400 windrows from 30 ft. In some places, the customers prepared some nice windrows merged from 90 ft.
During the first round, about 190 drum hours were chopped from all the machines combined (BiG X 700, BiG X 1100 in CA, BiG X 1100 in TX, BiG X 1100 in ID). With my fuel measurement device in the cab, I could do some fuel and performance testing during the demos. The BiG X 700 could chop about 280 t/h and the BiG X 1100 in X Power mode was able to chop 350 t/h to 400 t/h. The highest throughput rate was at 420 t/h in heavy triticale. During all the performance tests, we could chop between 7.8 and 8.6 t/gallon of fuel (depending on crop, engine load and driver). In talking with the customers, I could understand that they were very impressed about fuel consumption and that their machines were burning much more fuel compared to the BiG X.
Normal speed during chopping was about 7 to 8 miles per hour. In very heavy windrows I was running about 5 miles per hour, but sometimes I could speed up to 11 miles per hour. The nice thing about the EasyFlow hay pick-up at high speeds is that it is very clean picking up the crop and there is no plugging. What I found very impressive was the speed we were able to run compared to competitive machines. In the same windrow and with the same horsepower (Eco Power mode) I could run about 3 miles per hour faster. The VariStream in the BiG X leads to much quieter running and a more constant engine load. Also, the high torque of the MAN engines was very impressive. Sometimes I decreased the engine RPM to 800 RPM and the engine came back up without a problem. After a long day of demoing, the fast maintenance of the chopper was very important. The machine stayed very clean, especially the feeder housing between the feed rollers. The air cleaning systems blows the dirt regularly, so that I could clean the whole chopper with a leaf blower in about 10 minutes.
During the tour I travelled about 10,900 miles through the western US. Beside the very interesting day to day demos, I really enjoyed the beautiful landscape and the easy going mentality of Americans. I am really looking forward to the second round to show how the BiG X performs in corn and hopefully the weather will cooperate with the harvest season!