Krone's forage harvester, the BiG X, hit a significant milestone this week - celebrating 20 years since it was unveiled by the German giant.

On May 20, 2000, the first Krone forage harvester named BiG X rolled out of the Krone factory in Spelle, Germany.

The self-propelled machine that embarked on the first few trial runs was a 40kph high-speed machine, with 540hp on tap.

Kitted out with the EasyFlow grass pick-up and the EasyCollect maize header, the BiG X was "built with the input of contractors and machinery rings", Krone says.

Some of the familiar features on the first machine included: fully hydrostatic and stepless drives on all four wheels; six pre-compression rollers; a 750mm diameter; and 830mm-wide chopping drum, with 32 V-shaped blades.

Interestingly, the BiG X initially had a 605hp engine starting out - but Krone later changed this, fearing that, back in 2000, customers would perceive an engine of more than 600hp as "oversized for such a machine".

Fast-tracking to today, Krone has sold around 5,300 BiG X units, which have expanded to include eight different versions and two series ranging from the smallest BiG X 480 - a 490hp machine - to the flagship BiG X 1180 - a 1,156hp behemoth.

In line with the tradition of many an Irish farmer and contractor, it will be interesting to see if Krone steps up the celebrations next year for a 'BiG' 21st birthday bash...