Aimed at contractors, the Tigo XR series is a new concept developed by Lely, which can be used both as a forage wagon and as a silage transport wagon.
According to Lely, the XR’s innovative superstructure, with its integrated, hydraulically-adjustable bulkhead, allows additional loading of the space above the feed unit. This means increased load volume, but a shorter wagon.
Our test machine was the Tigo XR 75, which sits in between the XR 65 and XR 100, and is the firm’s second largest forage wagon it makes. The 75 denotes its compressed cubic capacity - its actual volume is 44cu.m.
The Lely’s party piece has to be its movable headboard, which is responsible for how dense the load is and utilises what was once wasted space above the feed rotor and drawbar. The headboard moves through an 80-degree arc via two hydraulic cylinders, almost like density cylinders on a round baler.
Other features include a stainless steel floor (the only one to have one in this test), passive rear wheel steering, hydro-pneumatic suspension, cam-less pick-up reel and a locking tailgate.
The front third of the floor is also sloping and is 250mm lower at the front than at the back. This aids filling as the crop does not have to travel upwards as far – similar to the Krone. Material also hits the headboard on an angle which keeps the load compact.
At the push of a button, the whole filling process is automated on the XR. Unlike the three other machines’ automated systems which just take care of the bed movement, the Lely’s also sets the correct drawbar height, lowers the pick-up, and controls the position of the headboard and floor.
Floor movement is triggered by the pressure build-up in the two rams which move the headboard. This can be varied depending on how dense you want the load and to adapt to varying crops.
Once a certain pressure level is reached, the floor will then automatically move and keeps moving until the ram pressure drops. This means the floor only moves as much as it needs to, sometimes only a chain link at a time. This is in contrast to the other machines which have a pre-set amount of bed movement.
During filling, once most of the wagon is full, the headboard then starts to move forward to create more space for the crop to go. When full, the headboard comes right to the front, which is a bit disconcerting the first time you see it happen as you think it is going to come through the back window of the tractor.
Control came from the wagon’s control box, which we also tied into the tractor’s IsoBus. This meant we could also monitor what was going on with the wagon. For instance, via ultrasonic sensors, you can reassuringly ‘see’ how much is in the wagon. Pressure on the door can also be monitored as can number of loads and time to fill. If tying it into a tractor’s IsoBus system is not an option, then LEDs along with a diagram on the controller give a visual representation as to what is going on.
The unloading procedure is just as easy as the filling. One touch of a button and the rear door opens followed by floor activation. Once half the load is emptied, and like the others, the bed can be speeded up.
All wagons will get more in when filled manually – up to about 20 per cent with some tactical filling. However, with the Lely and its clever movable headboard, you can rely more on the machine to do the work for you.
We only had the density set to 25 per cent of its maximum working pressure, meaning there was lots left in the kitty. And it was just as well too, because the 200hp tractor up front was brought to its knees filling this Goliath. For the most part, it did handle the machine well, until it was getting nearly full and the pressure really started to build.
If you were to buy this machine, you would want to put 250 to 300hp up front to get the most out of it. That said, 200hp did fill it, just not quite as fast or quite as dense a load as it could be. We still managed to hit a peak filling speed of 21kph, with an average of about 14.5kph achieved.
Having the widest pick-up reel here did mean we could afford to be less accurate when following the swath. But having the widest body did mean a bit of weaving is required if you want an evenly filled load – much like a round baler.
The pickup reel’s contour following ability is particularly impressive. It employs two adjustable jockey wheels, one either side of the pick-up, and a wide roller tucked in behind the pickup reel. It managed to cope well with some tricky terrain, all the while maintaining a smooth crop flow.
Despite its gargantuan proportions, the Lely is surprisingly agile, even in a tight yard. And in the field its size is hardly noticeable.
Depending on your tractor’s capabilities, the Lely’s hydraulics can be switched between load sensing and non-load sensing via a simple valve block.
Service access is good all-round, with wide opening side panels and a bonnet which lets you get at the rotor. The rotor can also be reversed manually in case of a major blockage via a crank handle located in the left side of the machine. For the most part, just hydraulically disengaging the knives from the cab does the trick.
All knives are sprung-loaded for protection in case of strike by a foreign object, and we can say with confidence this system works. The knife bank also pulls out to the side for easy maintenance.
For a longer chop length, half of the knives can be disengaged – like the Krone.
Its feed rotor fingers are also individually welded in place, which makes replacing them easier and cheaper should you suffer rotor damage – so no need to shell out for a complete rotor.
A nice feature is having service buttons dotted around the machine which let you carry out certain functions such as lowering the knife bank and moving the floor. This saves a lot of leg work.