Johann Kronawitter gives the sign – now it is time to step back, because what is about to happen is dangerous. It is a pleasant afternoon in the middle of March. We are in Wegscheid in the eastern part of Bavaria. Christian Kronawitter, the junior boss, has turned the terminal on his Fendt 936 around towards the back. This gives the carpenter by trade a perfect view to the wood chipper, which is driven by the PTO of his 360-hp Fendt tractor.
The arm has already grabbed a thick maple trunk. “The hard wood really makes our Fendt work. The PTO and the entire tractor always have to deliver the highest performance,” says Johann Kronawitter, the boss of the company, who watches what is happening very carefully. Christian, who operates the chipper, always takes the tractor and implement to their limits. In just a few seconds, the monstrous machine turns the once monumental maple trunk into finely chopped material, which will be used for generating energy in wood chip heating systems or thermal power stations. There is a lot of creaking and cracking. The enormous power of the chipper and the 936 Vario can be felt. For 61-year-old Johann Kronawitter it is music to his ears. For nearly seven years, the Kronawitters have been underway with their wood chipper, throughout the Bavarian Forest, as well as the neighbouring Czech Republic and Austria. The wood chipper is in operation almost year around. “Whenever it is possible, we produce wood chips,” admits Johann Kronawitter with a wink. His Fendt tractors drive up to 170 kilometres from the farmyard in Untergriesbach in the district of Passau to the work site and back. This adds up to 1000 operating hours every year with the chipper alone. A fast and fuel-efficient tractor is essential. For Johann it is clear that only a Fendt can do that. He is a true Fendt fan. For Kronawitter, the advantages of the green tractors in forestry operations lie at hand. “The reversing driver station and the high PTO power make the 936 Vario predestined for forestry operations,” he raves. “Especially for long distances, the high travelling speed and low fuel consumption of our Fendt tractors are a great advantage,” according to the senior boss.
But forestry is only a part of the work that the Kronawitter family does with their Fendt tractors. But first let’s go back to the work at Holzenergie Wegscheid. Christian Kronawitter loads the last trunks onto the chipper. The monster managed 150 m³ in the past hour and a half. Then everything is quiet again in Wegscheid. He then goes to his farm in Stollberg, a part of Untergriesbach. Here his second oldest son Hans manages the parents’ farm and is responsible for 30 dairy cows. The main focus of the Kronawitter family lies on milk transport and contract work like producing wood chips, threshing, sowing or forage harvesting. “Besides the contract work, the milk transport for a dairy farm makes up about 50 percent of our work,” says 38-year-old Hans Kronawitter. The founder of the company, Johann, has remained loyal to the Fendt brand and the reliable tractors from the Allgäu. “For me, there is nothing but Fendt,” he says. Everything began in 1976 with a Fendt Farmer 108 SA, when his father Johann took over the farm from his parents. Some 31 years ago, the Kronawitter contracting business developed from a small farm.
In the meantime, the fleet of the family business has been expanded to include a 933 Vario, three 936 Vario, a 916 Vario, a 724 Vario, a 310 Vario and a Xylon. The father and his three sons Christian, Hans and Martin are no longer only active in Bavaria. For eleven years now, Johann Kronawitter has been cultivating some 500 hectares in Lukácsháza, Hungary with five employees. The senior boss is a true jack of all trades. If he is not in the vicinity of Lukácsháza, which is located on the Austrian border, the active farmer is at work in his workshop on the family farm, building innovations for his agricultural machinery. “I recently built a movable rear axle for our combine’s table wagon”, explains Kronawitter. Some technical finesses from their own workshop have already found their way into series production at agricultural equipment manufacturers. The boss does not need to worry about someone taking over the business. Besides his three sons, there are now 14 grandchildren in the family, who are zipping around with pedal tractors today, but will soon become real Fendt drivers.
Under deafening noise, the 936 Vario equipped with the chipper makes the finest chips out of 100 m3 of raw wood in only an hour. Thanks to the reversing driver station, Christian Kronawitter always has everything in perfect view.