REVIEW: Krone EasyCut R 320 Mower

By: Tom Dickson, Photography by: Guy Allen, Video by: Guy Allen

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Krone’s EasyCut R 320 has been developed from the previous EC 320 mower with added improvements and strength, Tom Dickson tests it out.

Dan Parker, who runs a hay production and contracting business called Parkers Hay near Wangaratta in Victoria, is my lucky opportunity to get a good look at Krone’s new EasyCut R 320 (EC R 320) mower and operate it.

Parker purchased the EC R 320 last year and still has the earlier model EC 320 which he continues to operate.

Looking at the two models side-by-side in his yard reveals some really obvious improvements that make a better mower out of an already good one.

 

Krone EasyCut R 320: Same same but different

Krone has beefed up the frame and headstock and it’s certainly a stronger looking mower. This is no poor reflexion on the older ones because they were a bulletproof sort of mower too.

But it’s unmistakable a lot more metal has gone into the EC R 320’s construction, so it has to be stronger than before.

This is a centre mount mower and with that comes some really good advantages. On rough and uneven ground it allows the mower to follow the surface contours and maintain much better downward pressure over the full length of the cutter bar.

The new EasyCut mower has a working width of about 3,160mm or about 5.5 feet.

The beauty of this mower is it doesn’t take a lot of horsepower to run. Parker suggests a tractor as small as 65hp (48.5kW) could be used if operated conservatively, 90hp (67.1kW) or above is probably ideal.

The clutches come factory set at about 1,000Nm.

 

Krone EasyCut R 320: Blades and bars

Krone EC R 320 Mower _blade Changing

The cutter bar is made up of seven discs, each having two quick release blades. At the far end of the cutter bar both disc six and disc seven rotate in the same direction drawing double the amount of grass away from edge of the cut.

This leaves more than enough bare area for the mower to complete its next cut without risk of bundling up grass from the previous round.

The EC R 320 has a swath bar but to be honest after using the mower I would take it off and put it in the shed.  Swath bars have a bad habit of accumulating grass when turning sharply and cutting out the corners.

The quick release blades are a great feature on the Krone mower and I’m surprised more don’t use this system. Parker throws me the blade changing handle, which for convenience is mounted on the mower, and within seconds I prise open the blade holder on the disc, remove, the old one and slip on the replacement.

 

Krone EasyCut R 320: New features

Krone EC R 320 Mower _breakaway Mechanism

A key improvement on the EC R model over the previous one is the new breakaway mechanism. The safety mechanical breakaway on this newer model is located at the end of the support beam over the centre of the mower bar using a coil spring and tensioning nut.

It’s basically just a manual design similar to older designs but with a more effective location.

If you hit something and trigger the breakaway the whole cutter bar moves backwards and swings up out of the road more quickly.

Another design feature Parker thinks most important is the cutter disc pinion shaft shear pin assembly.

"If you hit an obstruction and overload the disc it will shear the safety pin," he explains.

"The shaft continues to spin, jacking up the disc in question, moving it up and out of the path of the rotating neighbouring discs. It not only protects the blades and discs but also the gears, clutches and power take-off [PTO] shafts."

Parker adds it only takes a few minutes to replace the shear pin and it’s not very costly.

The EasyCut R 320 uses manually adjustable tension springs to apply downward pressure on the mower. It’s a really simple design and can be altered within minutes without the use of tools.

 

Krone EasyCut R 320: Shortcoming

Perhaps the one thing Parker doesn’t like about the mower is the mount leg is too short.

"The drive shaft and transfer box hit the ground before the leg does," he says.

"When I take the mower off the tractor I have to place a block under the stand to make it effective, but that would be my only complaint."

Extra stands can be acquired as an option to allow the mower to be stored in the upright position. It’s a good inclusion if storage space is an issue.

 

Krone EasyCut R 32: Performance

Krone EC R 320 Mower _performance

Attaching the mower to Parker’s Massey Ferguson tractor takes about a minute because we’re using quick-hitch balls and there is only one hydraulic hose to connect.

This hose feeds a single acting ram that lifts the mower up past the vertical position for transport.

Pressure build up in an accumulator pushes the mower back past the 90 degree point then gravity does the rest to bring the mower back into the working position. I must point out both folding and unfolding is all completed in a very smooth motion.

The EC R 320 operates at 540rpm and I’ve got to say there are no detectable vibrations at all. While cutting it operates very smoothly and noticeably it’s very quiet as well.

The cut stubble is smooth and even right across the mower width but this is probably more attributed to operating with sharp undamaged blades.

Lifting the mower while performing sharp turns is also completed in a very smooth manner. The hydraulic ram lifts only the mower bar always leaving the headstock in the exact same position.

 

Krone EasyCut R 320: Final words

We took it back to the workshop and gave it a thorough wash down. After washing, always run the mower for about 10 minutes as this will warm the drivetrain and evaporate out any rust causing moisture that may have found its way into a bearing.

Finally give it a grease. This simple process at the end of the season allows you to identify repairs that need doing and ensures the mower is greased and ready to go for next season. It’s a good time to check and sharpen the blades, as well.

The recommended retail price (RRP) for the EC R 320 is around $20,000. And there is also a 2.8m and 3.6m model available.

Krone EasyCut R 320 Hits:

  • Centred breakaway
  • Strengthened frame
  • Blade storage compartment
  • Shear pin disc protection
  • Quick changing blades
  • Vertical storage

Krone EasyCut R 320 Misses:

  • Storage stand too short

 

Krone EasyCut R 320 Mower Specifications

Make/model Krone EasyCut R 320
Working width      3,160mm
Transport height      3,900mm
Discs        7
Blades/Disc        2
Quick-change blades   Standard
PTO Speed   540rpm
Weight      840kg
Approximate work rate    3.5 hectares per hour to 4.0ha per hour

For the full test report, pick up a copy of NewFarmMachinery magazine issue 14, on-sale October 6.

Look up Krone mower specifications.

Find Krone mowers for sale.

Krone EC R 320 mower 1 Hydraulic lift for corners and zero vibrations make the Krone EC R 320 mower a pleasure to operate. Krone EC R 320 mower 1
Krone EC R 320 mower linkage Attaching the mower takes only minutes using quick-attach linkage balls and only a single hydraulic hose. Krone EC R 320 mower linkage
Krone EC R 320 mower folding The EC R 320 folds well past 90 degrees so the bulk of its weight sits centred on the linkage equipment. Krone EC R 320 mower folding
Krone EC R 320 mower with Dan Parker Dan Parker points out some of the better features on the new model compared to his older one. Krone EC R 320 mower with Dan Parker
Krone EC R 320 mower blade changing The blade changing bar is the only tool required to remove and replace blades. Krone EC R 320 mower blade changing
Krone EC R 320 mower breakaway mechanism The centre mount mechanical breakaway assembly allows much better clearance if an obstacle is hit. Krone EC R 320 mower breakaway mechanism
Krone EC R 320 mower drives clutches Operating at 540rpm the mower is protected by a series of friction drives and clutches. Krone EC R 320 mower drives clutches
Krone EC R 320 mower mounting stand The mounting stand is too short to effectively do the job it’s designed for. Krone EC R 320 mower mounting stand
Krone EC R 320 mower suspension The new EC R 320 is much stronger and with better suspension than its predecessor. Krone EC R 320 mower suspension
Krone EC R 320 mower tension spring Pressure to the ground is applied via a manually adjustable tension spring. Krone EC R 320 mower tension spring
Krone EC R 320 mower performance The EC R 320 performs well in a variety of mowing conditions. Krone EC R 320 mower performance
Krone EC R 320 mower washdown A quick wash-down and service for possible damages, leaves the machine ready for work next season. Krone EC R 320 mower washdown

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