Deutz-Fahr Agrotron M600 Summit review | 2015 Top Tractor Shootout

By: Brent Lilley, Photography by: Euan Cameron, Video by: Stephen Dwight, Josh Robinson

Presented by

Despite being the smallest model of the Commonwealth Bank 2015 Top Tractor Shootout line-up, the Deutz-Fahr Agrotron M600 Summit left a mighty impression on the judges.

It was also the lowest priced tractor by far, coming in at just shy of $108,000.

Given that we hooked these tractors up to gear designed for 150hp-plus (112kW) tractors, it was a serious test for the Deutz-Fahr — which readily rose to the challenge and put up a fantastic fight.

Of all the tractors, the Deutz-Fahr M600 Summit surprised the judges the most. On paper this tractor was the smallest of the bunch, yet it performed with flair, despite being hooked up to some sizeable machinery.

 

Engine

Deutz Fahr M600 Summit engine

Being one of the largest engine manufacturers in the world, it’s only natural that the power plant under the bonnet comes from Deutz-Fahr’s own stable — the 6-litre, 6 cylinder engine tuned to put out a max of 132hp (98kW).

It’s one of only two tractors in our line-up with a Tier 3 engine — a simple, reliable and well proven engine technology without the need for exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) or AdBlue components. It is no coincidence that the two Tier 3 tractors were also the most competitively priced.

Interestingly the Deutz-Fahr engine is also approved for use with 100 per cent biofuel, without any upgrades or input. That is a definite plus.

The 270-litre fuel tank under the cab, with the filler on the right-hand side, should be more than enough to keep the machine operating all day.

 

Transmission

Deutz-Fahr has stuck with the highly reliable and well regarded ZF transmission, which offers peace of mind, but nothing that is cutting edge.

The main gear shifter offers six ranges and is located to the right of the operator. As it uses mechanical linkages, it can be somewhat clunky.

However, the four powershift gears in each range can be easily operated with push buttons, either on the gear shift or on a toggle switch on the arm rest. This gives a 24x24 transmission.

Auto speed matching and a declutch button between ranges are good to see and definitely lead to smoother operation.

As a bonus, the Deutz-Fahr was also fitted with an optional 12x12 creeper box, handy for those needing to work at slow speed. It also brings the tally to 36x36, the largest number of gears of any tractor on the day.

In operation the transmission is relatively straight forward to use. A display on the dash shows what powershift gear you are in.

For the most part, range changes are reasonably smooth, although under heavy draft work it pays to be in the right range at the start, as a change will leave you dead in the water.

A left-hand shuttle lever on the side of the steering column is used for direction changes and has neutral in the centre. While this is smooth to use, one thing that bugs me is that it doesn’t line up with the steel guide below.

In neutral it sits forward of the guide and in reverse it is in line, this logically would be the neutral position.

 

Serviceability

Access to the engine is simple once the low sweeping bonnet is open, but the engine oil can be checked without opening the bonnet.

 It’s great that everything is kept down low, making it accessible from ground level, while the compact cooling package up front can be easily folded out on gas struts for cleaning.

A suggested 500-hour servicing interval for engine oil and filters should keep maintenance costs and down time low.

Around the back end, hydraulic oil is easily checked using a sight glass and a service interval of 1000 hours for hydraulic oil and filters is also good news.

 

Cab

Although the six-pillar cab on the Deutz-Fahr is one of the smallest in our line-up of tractors, it definitely doesn’t lack visibility for the operator, nor is comfort hindered.

Two-point cab suspension provides a smooth ride over the cultivated ground. The low sweeping bonnet and the fact the exhaust and air intake are hidden behind the forward cab pillar ensures good visibility out the front.

An added bonus for loader work is a large glass roof hatch, which will prove useful for those hard to reach places.

Wide galvanised steps give easy access and are a nice touch to fight corrosion.

 

Controls

Deutz Fahr M600-Summit controls

Most of the controls are spread out on the right-hand armrest and console.

What strikes most people new to Deutz-Fahr is the vivid rainbow of colours used to code different controls such as orange for transmission, yellow for power take-off (PTO), green for linkage and blue for hydraulics.

On the armrest a slide easily controls the engine rpm with your thumb and it is good to see a pre-set engine rpm memory button.

Further back are buttons for four-wheel drive, diff lock and ASM (acceleration simulation mode), which automatically engage and disengage both 4WD and diff lock, depending on the forward speed and steering angle.

Any of the four PTO speeds can be selected using two levers on the console, while the PTO is engaged with a button conveniently placed on the arm rest.

 

Hydraulics

Around the back end, it is impressive to see four remotes as standard, as opposed to the three fitted on many other tractors.

All the remotes feature an adjustable flow rate tap on top. Controls in the cab use a cross gate joystick style lever.

This is used to control two remotes, along with single levers for the other two remotes. All are lockable and offer four positions, two directions, neutral and float.

The labelling between the remotes and the controls was a little hit and miss, but on the positive each set of remotes is colour coded for flow and return, matching up to the direction of the levers in the cab.

The negative is that although the remotes are labelled one to four at the back, these numbers don’t match up to anything in the cab, which could lead to confusion.

Hydraulic fluid is shared with the transmission which keeps servicing costs down. The main hydraulic pumps put out a respectable 120 l/m, which will be more than enough for most applications.

A standout point for the Deutz is a separate 42 l/m steering pump, which leaves the full flow of the main pump available for the linkage and hydraulics.

Power beyond and the inclusion of a trailer brake coupling as standard was also good to see.

 

Linkage

Although the Deutz-Fahr is the smallest tractor, it interestingly has the highest rated lift capacity of all tractors tested, at a whopping 9.2 tonnes — nearly twice the weight of the machine itself.

The linkage is a fairly straight forward affair with hook ends on the lower arms and the top link. A top link holder uses the winding/locking lever and a simple clip set-up is easy to use, along with buttons to operate the linkage on the mudguards on both sides.

Controls to operate the three point linkage (TPL) inside the cab do get a little complicated, supposedly for safety.

The linkage toggle switch on the armrest needs to be firstly flicked forward, and then held back until it beeps, to let you know the linkage has been activated.

Once it is unlocked, you have the choice of using the simple up and down on the armrest or you can use the dial on the right-hand panel for more precise settings.

 

Performance

Deutz Fahr M600 Summit with Cultivator

While the 3m Alpego Super Cracker and 5m Falc power harrow are far larger implements than you would usually put on a 130hp (97kW) tractor, all judges can see from the test that the Deutz-Fahr is punching well above its weight.

The Alpego Super Cracker is good test of pulling power and the M600 put in a solid effort. The biggest problem is keeping the nose on the ground once the Alpego Cracker is dug right in, even with over 500kg of weight on the front.

However, this is something that could be easily fixed with further weights on the front.

The Falc power harrow proves a good test of the engine torque and everyone comments on the ability of the Deutz-Fahr to hold on as the power harrow drags the rpm down.

This also shows up later in the Dyno results with a reasonably flat torque curve. Max power is available at 940 PTO rpm and at 117.4hp (88kW) it’s fairly respectable at the PTO shaft on a 132hp tractor.

 

Verdict

Overall I believe everyone was in some way impressed with what the Deutz-Fahr M600 Summit had to offer.

It was the smallest tractor out of the line-up yet and the lowest priced, and while there were others with more power and higher specs, this tractor will be sure to tick all the boxes for many, particularly for loader work given its excellent visibility.

Hits:

  • Highest lift capacity at a massive 9.2 tonnes
  • Lowest priced tractor
  • Excellent all round visibility
  • Single fuel source engine
  • Four remotes, trailer brakes and power beyond as standard
  • Well proven components with Carraro front axle and ZF transmission as well as Deutz’s own power plant under the hood

Misses:

  • Linkage was frustrating to get going for people unfamiliar with the system
  • In fifth-sixth gear on the stick shift was a reach for the driver

 

Top Tractor Shootout 2015 Awards:

  • Highest Lift Capacity

  • Lowest Priced Tractor

  • Best Loader Suitability

 

Specifications

Make/model: Deutz-Fahr M600 Summit

Engine: Deutz 6 cylinder, Tier 3, common rail, turbo diesel

Max. engine power: 121hp (90kW)

Max torque: 599Nm

Transmission: 24x24, four powershifts in six ranges plus 12x12 creeper box

Fuel tank capacity: 270 litres

Suspension: Mechanical Cab suspension

Click here for the full specs.

 

Stay tuned for more reviews and videos from the Top Tractor Shootout 2015 on TradeFarmMachinery.com.au. For the full feature, pick up a copy of New Farm Machinery magazine issue 22, on-sale May 25. 

Subscribe to the magazine using the buttons below to never miss an issue.

Print -Subscription Digital -Subscription

Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-bonnet The slim-curved bonnet gives the operator excellent visibility from the cab. Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-bonnet
Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-cab Although a six-post cab on the Deutz, it provided very good 360-degree visibility. Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-cab
Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-controls Controls are laid out conveniently on the right-hand armrest and side console. They are colour-coded in bright colours, grouping them together for ease of operation. Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-controls
Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-dashboard The dash up front is clear and well laid out. The left-hand reverse shuttle is disappointing, the lever does not line up with the guide below when in neutral, which could lead to an accident. Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-dashboard
Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-engine The simple yet reliable 6 cylinder Deutz common rail engine with 121hp-rated output. Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-engine
Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-linkage hydraulics Around the back end the linkage has a massive 9.2 tonnes lift capacity; there are four mechanical spools as standard as well as power beyond and trailer brakes. Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-linkage hydraulics
Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-power harrow The Deutz put in an outstanding effort on the 5m power harrow with noticeable low down torque. Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-power harrow
Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-tractor The judges work through the score sheet during the Power Farming sales spiel Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-tractor
Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-with cultivator Although the smallest tractor in the bunch the Deutz certainly put in a gutsy effort on the Alpego Super Cracker and it surprised everyone with its ability, although a little more ballast on the front would have been handy. Deutz Fahr M600 Summit-with cultivator

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook