Seven tractor headland management systems compared

We didn’t have room for the comparison of headland management systems from the recent seven-tractor test. So here it is

By condensing often-repeated actions into a recorded sequence that can be played back on command, headland management systems aim to make the driver’s life easier.

A good system is flexible over what can be included and simple to set up, modify and play a poor one is a pain to programme and limited in the functions it can handle.

Claas Arion 530


  • New system, very simple
  • Can programme on the move or standing still
  • Can choose distance or time-based recording
  • Must go though several Cebis menus to find distance/time option
  • Four sequences recordable, two played from armrest buttons
  • Record by doing the actions while driving. Can insert pause.
  • Can record stationary but only distance-based operation then possible.

Deutz-Fahr K430


  • Only one sequence
  • Driver activates each step with the joystick
  • Recording fairly easy once you know how, but you can’t guess it. Definitely needs handbook
  • Sequence shown on tiny dashboard screen, current step underlined
  • Recordable functions include forward/reverse
  • Sequence held in memory after engine shutdown

Fendt 412 Vario TMS

fendt header

  • Comprehensive system set through Varioterminal screen
  • A little confusing at first. Newer setups of Claas, Deere and Massey are more intuitive
  • Now easy to add pauses into a sequence
  • Auto pto

John Deere 6430 Premium


  • Joint easiest to use, with Massey
  • Can record a sequence when moving or stationary
  • Most functions recordable, but only an rpm limit
  • Driver decides between distance or time trigger for each step, when recording while stationary
  • Can delete/insert functions

Massey Ferguson 6470 Dyna-6


  • Programmed in terminal
  • Joint easiest to use, with Deere
  • Sequence steps can flow automatically or be triggered manually by driver
  • Every function is recordable
  • Can choose time or distance basis for each sequence step

New Holland T6040 Elite


  • Looks simple to use but isn’t
  • Recording on the move, distance-based
  • Can’t include pto directly into a sequence, only indirectly with linkage lift autofunction
  • Need to push-hold buttons is over-complicated

Valtra N121 Advance


  • Looks simple but nearly as complicated as New Holland’s
  • Recording only by distance and only on the move
  • Cruise speed or engine rpm can be included

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