REVIEW: New Holland T6050 tractor

By: Terry Stevenson


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Terry Stevenson tests the New Holland T6050 tractor and discovers this mid-sizer has impressive pulling power

New Holland T6050 tractor
New Holland T6050 tractor

New Holland has a new range of tractors, offering both farmers and contractors performance in a medium- sized package. There was nothing wrong with the New Holland TS135A when I tested it back in 2004. So why change a good thing?

With the same basic layout in three model options, New Holland can now better cater for top-end farmers who need a big tractor around their farm, and attract those contractors who want a good bottom-end tractor to do the smaller jobs that typically still need a few horsepower.

A bonus is if you don’t want a particular feature, you can now order a lower spec model or, conversely, get higher specs and more performance if that is what you need.

The 6000 series tractors start with the Delta range, aimed at the budget conscious buyer yet retaining many features found on the higher-spec tractors within the 6000 series. The engines begin at 101hp for the smaller 4485cc four-cylinder and move up to the 126hp 6728cc six-cylinder.

Items you will forgo will be adjustable front mudguards, smaller rear fenders, climate air, the ‘kiddies’ seat and some lights, among other items. Although it does have the same engine as the next model up from the Plus range.

The Morrinsville branch of Norwoods Farm Machinery supplied our T6050 Plus tractor – the Plus range is the middle of the 6000 series. The engines top out with a 141hp 6728cc six-cylinder motor, while at the top-end of the spectrum, the Elite range is for those wanting a bit extra from their tractor, including power.

All three use the new Horizon cabin, with slightly different levels of control specification. The four- and six-cylinder models in the range share the same basic layout where the engine, transmission and axles together form the chassis, although there are some differences, including the wheelbase, spread across the range.

Delta and Plus tractors share the same four- and six-cylinder powerplants, while the Elite runs higher-spec 4485cc four-cylinder and 6728cc six-cylinder four-valve motors with common rail fuel injection. The power ratings start at 111hp and finish at 155hp.

I was surprised when I first drove the 126hp T6050 Plus, in that the clutch had little resistance as I depressed the foot pedal. I thought there must be something wrong but there wasn’t. The clutch is now controlled by a microswitch and the ECU figures out the rest!

A key to this size tractor is its ability to tow a reasonably heavy implement or loaded trailer while retaining the agility to take it through tight gateways. I found this out when navigating the T6050 Plus through gateways around Waitoa farmer Andrew Malcolm’s run-off.

Turning the T6050 Plus to full lock in the paddock with the BR7070 New Holland cropcutter baler on the back was easy, although the lift arms had been removed to avoid any issues with the drawbar accidentally catching. As such, I found this tractor to be very agile for its 2610mm wheelbase, even with the cropcutter baler on.

The day prior to my visit, the BR7070 had packed some pretty firm unchopped haylage bales weighing an average of 620kg, with the heaviest at 680kg.

The 40kmh transmission and controls are pretty much the same on all 6000 series tractors as in the earlier TS135A. The gearbox is split into four working ranges, each with four ratios, making 16 forward and reverse gears (plus creeper range).

A standard new feature is a handy automatic gear change mode, which will function within any one of the four ranges, but automatically through each range when selected. This was an obvious advantage once we got out onto the road, although there may be other on-farm instances where a farmer might want to use it.

Moving through the gears using the electronic button shifter located on the end of the ‘stick’ was seamless, as I could barely tell on this model any delay in changing either up or down, and it was even better than the previous New Hollands I’ve driven.

Alternatively, a second set of change buttons are located on the right-hand console on the T6050 Plus.

The same goes for shifting between the ranges, where you have to hold another ‘stick’-mounted button in with your finger as well as the shift button. The fairly large gear indicator clearly told me what range and ratio I was using at any one time.

Even with a heavy baler on, I found the forward/reverse shuttle worked flawlessly when changing direction.

Under the bonnet of our test T6050 Plus model is a Tier III six-cylinder New Holland/NEF-built engine running two valves per cylinder for 126hp. This engine is good for 560Nm of stump-pulling torque via an intercooled turbocharger with cylinders fed by individual Bosch injectors. All of the NEF engines on the New Holland tractors are up to 20 percent mixture bio-diesel compliant as standard.

Inside, the cab was both roomy and quiet. The curved doors may have helped deflect the sound away but there is no doubt the New Holland range makes it easier on the operator’s ears. Great visibility is typical of the T6050, with the entire 6000 series range of tractors using the same large Horizon cabin. Helping the driver see what’s going on outside is a set of reasonably sized cab pillars, not too wide, yet strong enough to provide protection; not to mention the good sized rear vision mirrors.

For loader work, the skylight roof has a retractable cover – leave it closed to avoid interior instrument dazzle and slide it back when you’re lifting something high and you need to see what is going on.

Compared to the TS135A, just a few changes to the cab controls have been made to make it slightly easier to operate, such as the reshaped T-bar PTO lever. The layout has the most frequently used controls within the 12 o’clock to 3 o’clock position of the armrest, with the lesser used controls further back.

The air conditioning unit is mounted on the floor behind the driver’s seat, arguably the best place for it; however the trade-off is less direct visibility to the rear couplings. The air inlets are mounted on either side of the cab to ensure the air drawn in is clean to start with.

Getting in and out was probably the only negative point I could pick up, as I found the three steps up to the cab to be fairly steep.

Our 5030kg T6050 Plus model was fitted with a part-suspended cab, which has shocks only on the rear and rubber buffers up front. Fear not because you’ll be missing out on nothing and gaining a lot, as this was the most stable feeling cab I’ve been in. It didn’t sway and move around and back again like a lot do, even though they have dampeners fitted.

Hung off the back of the cab is a stack of four exterior lights, with eight in total up front. Our test T6050 was fitted with three hydraulic outlets (as standard); each rated at a high 113 litres per minute. A fourth remote can be added.

Norwood’s Morrinsville branch manager, Craig Berkers, explains the model change, introduced during the 2007 Fieldays.

"The 6000 series has taken over from all the TSA range. It has widened the range to accommodate every aspect of farming. It gives the farmer more options to tailor the tractor to exactly what they are doing without increasing any costs, so they can have the tractor they need for whatever operation and it won’t have more spec than what they require and, if they don’t need some things, they can spec it down to the Delta.

"Even a small farmer that needs a lot of horsepower will buy a tractor exactly like this Plus. The Elite has common rail fuel injection so you get an extra boost over the other models. For PTO work it’ll give you 25 to 30 percent extra horsepower!"

Not far different from the popular TS135A, the New Holland T6050 Plus has a good range of capabilities and a bright future.

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