Deutz-Fahr Agrotron M600 tractor review

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Jaiden Drought gets behind the wheel of a Deutz-Fahr M600 and discovers that the view from the seat is hard to beat

  • Panoramic view from the well laid out cab
  • Easy engine access thanks to one-piece bonnet
  • Smooth shuttle response
  • Four speed PTO as standard
  • Powerful yet frugal engine

This Deutz-Fahr M600 tractor is owned by Duane Crow, who runs Mulch and Mow Ltd in Hawera. His company provides shelter-belt trimming, hedge mulching and park mowing, but the majority of its work is roadside mowing around Taranaki.

Design

The M600's glass doors slope up to a narrow roof, with see-through roof hatch, allowing for excellent visibility upwards.

The square nose and large exhaust stack give the tractor a staunch appearance, but it's the user-friendliness of subtle design features - such as the sloping bonnet and bright, colour-coded cab controls - that Deutz owners have come to love.

Operating environment

Entering the cab you'll notice the anti-slip, galvanised steps, perfect for the corrosive environment that is dairy farming. However, the hand-rail is tucked behind the air intake, making it hard to access.

As a six-cylinder tractor, I would say it offers one of the best views of the quick-hitch on the market. Slightly tinted windows and roller blinds on the front and rear windscreens, coupled with the overhanging roof, reduce a lot of the glare, and the 14 adjustable air vents keep the cab cool.

The colour-coded controls each represent a particular function, such as transmission, hydraulics, linkage and PTO functions. Everything is well laid out on the right-hand side, with the majority of functions - powershift gears, linkage, four-wheel drive, diff lock, PTO, hand throttle and pre-set engine rpm control - operated from the right arm rest. Located underneath the flip-up armrest is the APS (automatic powershift) settings and a sensitivity dial - allowing you to adjust the transmission depending on the task at hand - along with a setting to adjust the flow and time of all four hydraulic SCVs (only on electric remotes).

An orange button for ASM, or "automatic drive-train management", is mainly for headland management, and, in essence, does away with the need to repeatedly turn the diff lock and four-wheel drive on and off. Instead, the ASM does this automatically as and when required under load. Further, when turning at headland, the diff locks automatically - only to disengage depending on the steering angle - which allows for a tight turn. The diff then re-engages when the wheels straighten.

My only gripe is that noise inside the cab can be quite loud, particularly on the road. However, this particular tractor has a full roof guard that could be affecting the dynamics.

Pneumatic cab suspension

Pneumatic (or compressed gas) works with a load-dependent level control. Supplied from the tractor's compressed air system, this provides a very comfortable ride. No matter how much weight is in the cab, the full suspension travel of 80mm is always available. Post-sprung suspension offers a very spongy ride, but this system is different and although it feels as if you are floating, you aren't thrown around the cab, making for pleasant driving. The test tractor is only equipped with cab suspension, but this is more than sufficient.

Engine

The six-cylinder, high-tech, Deutz turbo engines offer plenty of power. Coming as standard with Deutz common-rail technology (DCR) and Deutz power control (DPC), the six-litre liquid cooled engine of the M600 produces 121hp. Add to this 11hp of boost with the DPC, and a peak power output of 132hp can be achieved. The frugal fuel economy is something that Crow points out, with fuel usage for all road work tasks at just over eight litres per hour.

Transmission

Deutz has axed the long-range gear lever, instead opting for a shorter, higher-mounted and more user-friendly gear lever that has four power shift gears in each range. The fully synchronised transmission has three main components: 4-stage power shift, 6-stage main transmission and 4-speed creeper gear group (ideal for shelter-belt trimming). With 40 forward and reverse speeds, and 10 gears in the working range of 4-15kph, you will be hard-pressed to run out of gears.

All the M-series tractors use the same 7200 ZF transmission, regardless of the road speed.

The M600 has one of the smoothest shuttle tack-ups around, and, overall, the transmission is easy to use. However, through no fault of Deutz-Fahr, the loader control clashes with the joystick in gears two and four on the main lever, something which can be a little annoying

PTO and Hydraulics

Deutz's M-series is one of very few tractors in this hp bracket to offer four-speed rear PTO as a standard feature.

An open centre hydraulic system offers a flow 120 litres per minute. Four remotes are offered as standard and are controlled using a joystick for remotes one and two, and single levers for remotes three and four.

The linkage system on the M600 is run through what they call electronic powerlift control (EHR), and is controlled via the arm rest with adjustments made on the right-hand console. The linkage also has a nifty little feature which accumulates the bumps caused by the implement, automatically engaging when travelling at over 8kph. This is particularly handy on the road when implements such as linkage mounted cultivation equipment tend to throw the tractor around.

Verdict

The M600 tractor could not be better suited to this kind of road work, even more so if you want a loader tractor. The upwards view is second to none, and, thanks to the cab layout, excellent visibility and superb cab suspension offering a classy ride, the new M-series Deutz is a definite competitor for the 100-150hp market.

See a range of Deutz-Fahr tractors for sale.

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