The new CLAAS VARIANT 500: More variety, more features, more performance

Agro Napló
For the 2023 season, CLAAS is introducing new VARIANT 500 round balers with variable bale chamber. In addition to consistent further development of essential functional areas like the pressure control system, the models are characterized by larger tyre options, simplified maintenance and a new design.

CLAAS is one of the pioneers in the development and construction of round balers and one of the world's leading suppliers in this product sector. With the VARIANT 500 series, we have now succeeded in incorporating a clear plus in operator comfort and ease of maintenance with optimized baling density, further optimizing net wrapping and at the same time meeting practical demands for tyres that protect the soil.

More knives for VARIANT 565 RC and 585 RC

The VARIANT 500 series initially includes six models. VARIANT 560 and 565 can create bales from 0.90 to 1.60 m in diameter, VARIANT 580 and 585 up to 1.80 m. VARIANT 560 RF and 580 RF work with a spiral ROTO FEED rotor. The four VARIANT models available in RC format (560, 565, 580 & 585) with spiral ROTO CUT four-star cutting rotor for small forage packages and thus stand for excellent forage quality and high baling density.

The product range includes the VARIANT 565 RC and 585 RC with HD drive components such as reinforced drive chains, a strong cutting rotor with 8 mm double-tine stars and special knife protection for professional farms with high utilization and for the primary use of silage. In contrast to the two other VARIANT RC models with the tried-and-tested 14-knife cutting mechanism with a theoretical cutting length of 70 mm, these two balers are now equipped with a 17-knife cutting mechanism with a theoretical cutting length of 60 mm. The standard PRO rotor drop floor can be lowered hydraulically to clear blockages at the push of a button from the tractor cab, while the knives are automatically depressurized. In order to prevent blockages in advance, the PRO rotor drop floor compensates for uneven swaths by being able to lower itself by up to 30 mm and automatically return to its original position. An acoustic signal warns the driver before the rotor is blocked, so that there is enough time to reduce the driving speed.

Optimized SMART DENSITY pressure control system with soft core

A key focus for the engineers from Metz-Woippy has been on the new baling pressure control. This includes a new hydraulic control block with independent lines for both belt tensioning arms. This means that both the position and the baling pressure can be measured independently for both arms. The newly developed control software not only optimizes the baling process, so that perfectly formed bales leave the chamber even under difficult operating conditions in grass silage. The new regulation also achieves a higher bale density in the outer area of the bale, the bale jacket, which better protects the bales from the effects of the weather. As a further effect, this allows an even more precise adjustment of the soft core if required, for example when baling hay. The dimensions and baling pressure of the soft core can be adjusted independently of one another for all operating conditions.

Binding with edge covering now standard

In the binding area, the first thing that catches the eye is the ideal position of the net roll, which is 25 cm lower than in the previous generation and thus enables easy and safe roll changes. Thanks to the new net brake, which is independent of the roll diameter, for absolutely constant net tension, a further improved feed plate and the new knife release guarantees a reliable and trouble-free completion of the tying process under all operating conditions.

The tried-and-tested comfort net wrap for the fully automatic binding process has been carried over from the previous series in the VARIANT 500. The same applies to the COVERED XW net wrap, which is 1.30 m wide to cover the edge of the bale, which is now part of the standard equipment. Downtimes are minimized thanks to the comfort wrapping, the high belt rotation speed of up to 3 m/s and the rapid ejection process. On request, all models can be equipped with twine binding as usual.

Soil-friendly tyres

The topic of soil protection is becoming increasingly important for farmers and contractors, especially when working on sensitive, less stable locations. CLAAS does justice to this with new tyre options up to size 560/45 22.5, i.e. more than 1.05 m outside diameter, for the VARIANT 500. This is made possible, among other things, by a newly designed chassis frame. On request, the VARIANT 500 can be supplied with an air brake system.

Simplified hitching and maintenance

All VARIANT 500 balers are factory-fitted with Kennfixx plug-in couplers as standard, which, thanks to their colour-coding can be quickly and easy assigned. New inline filters also ensure reliable separation of foreign bodies in the hydraulic oil. Thanks to the revised design of the drawbar, it is now possible to better adapt it to the tractor and, at the same time, to align the VARIANT horizontally for all wheel sizes. The adjustment of the pickup wheels has also been redesigned so that they can be more easily and finely adjusted to the operating conditions.

The central oil lubrication works with a new oil tank and a new, mechanically driven oil pump, whereby the positions of the brushes have been changed for better lubrication with low oil consumption. This relieves the burden on the environment and reduces operating costs thanks to the longer service life of the drive chains. Comprehensive greasing schedules on both sides of the machine, central greasing banks and greasing points with permanently marked greasing intervals simplify daily maintenance and save valuable time.


After the introduction for the DISCO high output mowers, the QUADRANT square balers and the ROLLANT fixed chamber balers in summer 2020, the VARIANT 500 round balers with variable chambers are now also getting the CEMIS 700 ISOBUS terminal with an ergonomic design in a classy black look with smooth and easy-to-clean surfaces. In addition to 10 backlit ISOBUS hard keys, there is a rotary/push control on the terminal as a control element. The high-contrast color display with touch surface offers a 7-inch screen diagonal and automatic day/night switching. The camera input can be used to display real-time images from up to two cameras, which can be switched at the push of a button or automatically.

Aux-O and Aux-N as well as UT1 and UT2 functions and ISO 11783 compatibility are certified by the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF). The CEMIS 700 also meets protection class IP 65. Alternatively, it can be operated via other ISOBUS universal terminals or via the tractor's ISOBUS terminal.

All features and innovations at a glance:

  • Six new VARIANT 500 round balers with variable bale chambers for bale diameters from 0.90 to 1.60 and 1.80 m.
  • Standard cutting unit with 17 knives and 60 mm theoretical chop length as well as standard cutting unit floor PRO for VARIANT 565 RC and VARIANT 585 RC.
  • New baling pressure control with measurement of pressure and position on both belt tensioning arms for a better bale, optimized density distribution in the bale and precise soft core setting.
  • Improved net wrapping with lower net roll position for easier roll changes and new net brake and knife release.
  • Larger tyres up to 560/45 22.5 for more soil protection.
  • New oil lubrication with individual adjustment of the amount of lubrication for each chain.
  • Optimized adjustment of drawbar and pick-up guide wheels; Equipping the hydraulic hoses with Kennfixx plug-in couplers.
  • Operation via the CEMIS 700 ISOBUS terminal that was introduced in 2020.
  • Modern panel design with the new Y-design (as used on the LEXION, TRION and NEXOS).

The new VARIANT 500 series:


Bale diameter




560 RF

0,90 – 1,60 m

2,35 m


Main application hay / straw

560 RC

14 knives, 70 mm


565 RC

17 knives, 60 mm

HD components,

PRO cutterbar

580 RF

0,90 – 1,80 m

2,10 m


Main application hay / straw

580 RC

2,35 m

14 knives, 70 mm


585 RC

17 knives, 60 mm

HD components,

PRO cutterbar

RF = ROTO FEED; RC = ROTO CUT cutterbar

Címlapkép: Getty Images
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