CLAAS and Hans Sauter GmbH have jointly developed a hydraulically swivelling front lower links system for use with mounted front and rear mower combinations. This significantly reduces or even completely eliminates strips of grass being left when negotiating bends and mowing on slopes. Eliminating this problem makes a significant contribution to higher forage quality, especially on tractors with wider tyres and a wide track width.

Hydraulically shiftable rear mower units have been commercially available for several years. These units can be used, among other functions, to react to changes in the cutting width when negotiating bends and mowing on slopes. Hydraulic lower link stabilisers can also be used in a similar way to easily adapt to bends and slopes. In some cases, however, the strip of grass left by the front mower unit when negotiating bends is partially crushed by the wheels of the tractor before being mown by the rear mower units. This results in part of the strip remaining pressed down and uncut with more dirt getting into the forage.

Manufactured by Sauter in collaboration with engineers from the CLAAS Green Harvest machinery factory at Bad Saulgau, the new hydraulically swivelling lower links are designed so that the front mower unit actively swivels inwards on bends. This completely eliminates unwanted strips and overlaps depending on the steering angle, and also reduces the risk of the front swath being run over. When mowing on slopes, the offset can also be compensated for by swivelling the lower links.

Having removed the existing lower link arms, the hydraulically swivelling lower links simply slot into the standard lower link holders, which also enables retrofitting without major space restrictions. The kit does not require any structural changes to the front mower, which means that both new and older mower units of all types are suitable for operation with the retrofitting kit.

The lower link kits are pre-fitted for use with CLAAS DISCO mowers and are suitable for use with CLAAS AXION 900 and 800 series tractors, but also with Fendt 900, 800 and 700 models.

The linkage is capable of swivelling by up to 30cm, to either the left or the right, and a double acting service is required so that it can be controlled using a spool valve. The swivelling lower links are secured by a locking block for road transport and can be folded upwards and fixed in place like normal lower links when they are not needed.

The swivelling hitch is available in limited supply for 2020 and full supply in 2021. The CLAAS dealer network is responsible for ordering direct from Sauter and for installation.