More power and new joystick for John Deere 6R tractors

John Deere is adding two beefed-up models to its popular 6R tractor range to give extra grunt to its comparatively light and manoeuvrable frame.

Typically, customer feedback is not sought in the firm’s tractor development process until the build is about 90% complete, leaving little time to make any tweaks to improve its offering.

However, during the development of its two new 6R additions, a panel of large-scale contractors from across Europe was consulted from an early stage to ensure it ticked all the boxes for likely customers.

The John Deere 6R Series 6250R

The John Deere 6R Series 6250R

These businesses were running all types of tractors, allowing engineers at Mannheim to see advantages and disadvantages in a range of machines and situations.

See also: Video: We test John Deere’s four-track 9RX tractor

More power, please

One of the key snippets of feedback was the need for Deere to add a tractor to its range that provided the power on offer from the 11t 7R series, but in a lighter and more agile body.

The results are the 230hp 6230R and flagship 6250R, which is rated at 250hp but can call on an extra 50hp for a maximum power output of 300hp in a transport weight of just 9.3t.

The firm says this gives the 6250R unrivalled power density for its weight class at 31kg/hp, while a maximum permissible load of 15t means it can carry a payload of 5.7t – good news for contracting businesses where every tonne counts and weight restrictions are limiting.

Power comes from a similar six-cylinder, 6.8-litre PowerTech engine seen across the 6R range, but twin turbos, a cooled cylinder head and reinforced steel pistons allow the unit to generate its increased output.

Gearbox upgrade

An upgraded and efficient AutoPowr transmission is standard on the 6230R and 6250R, and delivers 100% mechanical power at 3.5kph for heavy draft operations, 11kph for light draft work, 22.5kph for heavy transport and 47kph for light transport duties.

Once running at maximum road speed, rpm automatically drops and 50kph is maintained at 1,630rpm, and 40kph at 1,300rpm, to trim fuel use during road work.

The only noticeable differences on the outside (to squeeze in the engine and transmission tweaks) are 100mm added to the wheelbase and a hood that sits 100mm higher, with the cab jacked up by an equal amount to maintain visibility.

Implement management was another important consideration for the expert panel, and a new maximum lift capacity of 10.4t on the rear and 5t on the front can handle kit to match the increased power output.

A maximum of six rear spools and three on the front are supplied by a restricted hydraulic pump pinched from the 7R series. It delivers a maximum 160litres/min at just 1,500rpm – ideal for high oil requirement jobs such as tanker work. An 80-litre take-out also gives improved trailer lift performance.

Cab comfort

jd-controls-c-john-deere

Both models take care of operator comfort, with an intelligent hydro-pneumatic cab suspension system offering a smooth and quiet ride.

They also boast up to 10% more power applied to the ground through the new self-levelling TLS Plus triple-link suspension system on the front axle. This automatically adjusts sensitivity and suspension rate and synchronises with hitch sensing to compensate for power hop under heavy draft conditions.

Inside the cab there is one of the neatest updates, with John Deere now offering its CommandPRO joystick, developed in-house with input from operators.

Farmers Weekly took a 6250R for a spin around the company’s test track in Germany – and first impressions of the new control system were encouraging.

The joystick fits neatly in the palm of your hand and 11 programmable buttons at your fingertips control almost any functions on the tractor, all selected through the simple touchscreen interface of the CommandCenter console.

Push it fully forward and it accelerates quickly and smoothly all the way to 50kph – a dream for road work – and a creeper function is accessed by shifting the joystick left.

Once there, a simple push or pull moves the tractor back and forward between 0-2kph – ideal for hitching or dropping off implements and even manoeuvring the tractor in tight corners when ploughing, for example.

Orders for the 6230R and 6250R are being taken now and the first machines are expected to be shipped in June 2017.

The base UK list price is £207,855 for the 6230R, while its big brother kicks off at £216,686.