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On test: Strautmann Mega-Vitesse CFS 3401 forage wagon

Strautmann silage wagons compete strongly with Pottinger for the lion’s share of the UK and Irish forage wagon market.

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The new Strautmann Mega-Vitesse CFS 3401 fills a gap in the market between Super-Vitesse and Giga-Vitesse.


At 32 cubic metre in capacity, featuring 40 knives and a similar control box, it is a close competitor to our Pottinger test machine. Again, it is the ideal size wagon for large farmers or small to medium sized contractors.


The new Strautmann Mega-Vitesse CFS 3401 fills a gap in the market between Super-Vitesse and Giga-Vit


At 32 cubic metre in capacity, featuring 40 knives and a similar control box, it is a close competitor to our Pottinger test machine. Again, it is the ideal size wagon for large farmers or small to medium sized contractors.

Features and functions

Features and functions

Drawbar design, pto and drive to the rotor is standard enough stuff on the Mega-Vitesse CFS 3401, which features a wide angle pto with overload cam-clutch and full gearbox drive for the rotor.


However, from the pick-up reel onwards, things get interesting. First of all, Strautmann uses a cam-less pick-up reel incorporating six rows of tines arranged in a spiral configuration. This, in concert with the firm’s CFS system, which comprises a roller equipped with a shallow spiral, are designed to spread out the incoming crop across the full width of the rotor. This, claims the manufacturer, evens up the load on the feed rotor and knife bank, evening wear rates, and it also reduces the need to weave along the rows to achieve an even filled load – good for narrow swaths.


Another clever feature is the use of double-edged, reversible knives. When one side gets blunt they can be removed and turned around to expose a new, sharp edge. In effect, it gives you a second set of knives without having to carry a second set of knives.


Strautmann’s knife protection system is somewhat unique as well. The protection system triggering force is almost identical at any point along the knife edge, helping to prevent damage.


Using a cam system, once triggered the knife remains out until reset by the operator. This is done by powering out the knives and back in again. To indicate that a knife is out, a light beam travelling across the knives is interrupted which triggers a sensor and is displayed on the control box/handset.


To aid manoeuvrability a passively-steered back axle is used. Similar to all of the other wagons on test, to reverse the rear axle is locked in-line by two hydraulic locking rams activated from the in-cab controller/handset. Parabolic sprung axles were standard on our test machine as were 700/40-22.5 tyres.

Operation and controls

The control box is similar to that of the Pottinger in both size and functionality, incorporating manual and auto-fill modes. Unloading of the wagon is a little different though with twin motors, one either side of the floor chain’s rear drive shaft. For two-speed unloading of the grass, the hydraulic motors are driven firstly in parallel then in series through a change-over hydraulic valve controlled from the handset.


The Strautmann’s tailgate is also mechanically locked in the closed position when working, as was the Lely and Krone.

Operation of the Mega-Vitesse was pretty straight forward, and if you wish to use the tractor’s terminal, the Strautmann is also IsoBus compatible. Although, as we found, doing this on a small touch screen means trawling through several layers of operation pages.


Both the Pottinger and the Strautmann use similar control units which are relatively easy to understand. However, we would say the Strautmann’s is a little less intuitive and less obvious as to what some of the buttons do. That said, with a bit of tuition it is fairly straightforward.


In the field, operation was straight forward especially in auto-fill mode. The handset would indicate when the wagon was filling and a ‘solid’ beep and visual warning on the screen lets you know it is full. Getting braver later on, we found you can always squeeze a little more in to finish a row.


When full, you then select road mode on the controller which essentially locks out all the machine’s hydraulic functions except steering and drawbar suspension.



When picking up, you could almost drive as fast as you felt comfortable with - the wagon pretty much gobbled up whatever was put in front of it. Field and grass conditions varied throughout the testing and none of it seemed to be any great problem for the wagon.


The only thing noticed was where the rows were very light and/or very dry the cam-less pick-up would struggle to pick the crop up cleanly because it was spinning at such a pace. In heavier, normal crops there was no problem.

In terms of daily capacity, the Strautmann would be similar to the Pottinger, possibly Krone.


The CFS system seemed to do its thing, with crop fed pretty evenly across the full width of the feed rotor. Loading on the tractor was also even and while we did not measure fuel consumption, in theory there has got to be fuel savings with the CFS system. Similarly, knives should stay sharper longer with the full set being utilised.


With the Strautmann’s control box the functions displayed on the screen are not as clear as those on other units. More than once the machine was operated with a knife knocked out and remained unnoticed because the graphics are very small.

Set-up and serviceability

Set-up and serviceability

Setting up the Mega-Vitesse was straight forward enough. It is likely that once you get used to the wagon and its controls then you would operate it in manual filling mode where you could squeeze a bit of extra grass in.


If a tractor is equipped with load sensing hydraulics then it should be plumbed to cater for machines that are similarly equipped to save fuel. Our test tractors did not have the external couplings to cater for such a system but were available as an optional extra.


From a service perspective it takes up to 30 minutes to remove all of the knives, turn them around and clean the bank. Throw in sharpening, and this downtime soon gets above 30 minutes. One drawback of the Strautmann’s design is that the knife bank does not swing out to the side, the only one of the bunch not to offer this. That means a bit of a crawl is required underneath the machine.


All grease points are easily accessible though and the wagon is equipped with auto-tensioners for the floor

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