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Friday 9 December 2016

'You drive in gears way higher than you expect on slopes you would normally crawl along'

Published 19/07/2011 | 05:00

With some tedding on the menu, it was time to yoke the T6030 Elite up to a Lely Lotus 600 tedder. This is a six-metre machine which is relatively easy to drive but is a pretty decent load to carry and handle.

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Missing from this tractor (and those of other manufacturers) is in-cab lift controls in the form of a simple rocker switch, similar to those fitted on the rear mudguards for operating the tractor's three-point linkage.

It's too easy when your head is on crooked to activate the lift and have it shoot to the top and make a mess of hooking up to an implement or trailer.

Adjusting the three-point linkage drop-arms to suit the high position of the tedder was fast and easy with a turnbuckle at each side. Hook ends on the lift arms facilitated fast hook-up, while a flip-up PTO cover provided access to connect up the power drive. Our tractor featured a three-speed PTO drive: 540, 540 economy and 1,000rpm. Three mechanical, double-acting services provided ample options for this tractor, and these were adjustable in every conceivable way.

With the tedder on board, handling it was not an issue. We tried driving the tedder in 540 and 540 economy speeds PTO, leaving it in the economy gear to save on fuel. The seat-mounted lift controls fell to hand nicely and visibility was fantastic.

The steering stops had been adjusted to get the best out of this tractor and the lock was excellent without fouling the bonnet. The front spring-loaded fenders work well to assist the lock and are better than the steered types used earlier by CNH. With a small headland, manoeuvres were done well.

With all the grass turned wet side up, it was time to get some baling done.

New Holland uses German-made Sauermann hitches and while they look a little unusual, they have proven themselves over the years. The only criticism is that the clevis drawbar can only be fitted in the one position. Irish firm Dromone Engineering manufactures a hitch that suits these tractors but it is not available as a factory option.

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Luckily, the Welger baler matched up nicely with the T6030 Elite and we made both 4x4 silage and hay bales. In one field there was a serious brow and it was the first time I really saw the benefit of power-boost, or EPM as New Holland terms it.

Making the bale is the time when the tractor comes under most pressure. Invariably, this always happens on the uphill run, resulting in having to drop a couple of gears. However, with EPM, the T6030 never missed a beat and on a tractor this size and class, is a fantastic feature.

You find yourself driving in gears way higher than you would expect on slopes you would normally be crawling on.

We also drove the baler in the economy speed PTO to see if it could do it. Not a problem.

Years ago when you talked about a tractor's power, one of the key characteristics of an engine was torque backup. The higher the torque backup figure, the better, as this was the tractor's 'staying power'. On larger tractors, we take power boost for granted and as it trickles down to the smaller, lower-horsepower tractors, the benefits become more significant in my opinion.

Lifting

With the grass jobs complete, there were a couple of things left on the to-do list. So, on with the four furrow reversible Kverneland fixed width plough. There was no problem in the lifting department and with 10 45kg weights up front, handling was not a problem either. The lifting capacity of the T6030 Elite is a little shy of eight tonnes. Hooking to a trailer with the telescopic hit was no problem, and neither was towing it. On the road, EPM came on in the auto-shift function in the top four powershift speeds. Changing between powershift groups in the high range required a little more 'driving' so as not to lose momentum.

The T6030 Elite is at the top end of the specification sheets and the target customer is ideally larger livestock enterprises and medium tillage operations. It is a mid-range, middleweight machine that performs like a bigger tractor when needed, yet can still be 'small' when needed.

While our model was equipped with front suspension, most would not be specifying this on a 40kph tractor and to be honest, it is very hard to feel the benefit of front suspension while sitting over the rear axle.

A front loader with soft-ride suspension, in my opinion, offers far greater comfort and in reality it is most likely that the bulk of T6030s sold would be equipped with a front loader. The Elite versions feature a variable displacement hydraulic pump, which New Holland says provides up to 113 litres/minute of hydraulic oil, so should perform well. The 50kph variant automatically comes with front suspension and air brakes but that is a different ball game with a price to match.

The retail price of the T6030 Elite starts at €71,000 plus VAT. New Holland-branded (and coloured) Stoll loaders price start at €7,200 plus VAT.

Thanks to James Carroll, of New Holland, for organising the tractor for this report and Richard Murphy, from Murphy's of Glenmore, for providing the tractor.

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