Farm Ireland

Saturday 16 December 2017

Dynamic new Deere delivers major rewards to stockmen

The new 5090M is an impressive performer in the yard and field

Bruce Lett

John Deere's new 5010M series tractors, which were launched last year, are targeted at the stockman end of the tractor market.

There are four models in the 5M series, with the 5070M, 5080M, 5090M and 5100M ranging from 70hp to 100hp.

The Farming Independent got hold of a new John Deere 5090M, equipped with a John Deere 583 loader, to get an impression of what it was capable of around the farm.

On loan from TFM in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, the Deere had just five hours on the clock. The 90hp test tractor featured John Deere's 4.5-litre Tier III PowerTech M diesel engine and a 32 forward and 16 reverse Power Reverser Plus transmission.


This is the highest-spec transmission in the M series, with forward/reverse power shuttle and two speed powershift. The other options are a 16F/16R unit with power shuttle and a 16F/16R unit with dash-mounted synchro shuttle.

The tractor was fitted with a Deere 583 loader. This comes with mechanical self-levelling and a payload of just over 2t. The parallel linkages of the self-levelling mechanism made the loader appear much bigger than it really was on the average-sized 5090M.

Both Quickie and Stoll have a tidier mechanical self-levelling setup but, despite the bulky loader, visibility was excellent. My first impression from the driver's seat was that it was a bit like sitting in a glass bubble with great front, side and roof visibility (aided by a clear panel in the roof), all required for unimpeded loader work.

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The cab itself was small by Deere standards but well designed, and my slowing down 6'2" frame negotiated entry and exit comfortably.

Deere seems to put an awful lot of effort into getting the ergonomical design of their cabs just right for the driver, and it is easy to understand why farmers who buy them can bealmost fanatical about them. The 5090M is no different in this regard either -- for me, at least, it fitted.

I started on the tractor's work duties with a bit of ploughing, just to see how the 5090M would handle a three-furrow reversible Overum. The test tractor was equipped with old-fashioned and easy-to-use mechanical lift control, which many would welcome over the optional electronic lift control option. The lower link arms had category-two hook ends, which made the job of hooking up to the plough easier. Turnbuckle adjusters facilitated each arm's height adjustment.

Changing the position of the top-link hole on the tractor was a bit of a pain as the arms had to be fully raised to remove the top link pin fully and change it to another hole. I say a pain because I had everything else hooked up and ready to set out when I discovered the tractor only lifted the plough off the ground by a foot. During this faffing about, I discovered there was no external mechanical lift control, a button for the PTO, alright, but nothing for the lift. After a couple of enquiries it was confirmed that external lift control is not available on mechanical-lift versions, only on the electronic-lift control versions.

With the plough on-board, I set off down the road to turn some turf. The 5090M really didn't like handling the weighty Overum at speed down our local, Afghan-like highway. The lift hissed and protested quite a bit, though, but, to be fair it was a bit like Peter Stringer carrying John Hayes on his back, he could probably do it but you wouldn't ask him to do it every day. However, the John Deere had few problems in the field. The engine was gutsy, ploughing comfortably at 8km/hr and handling headland negotiations quite easily.

With the plough parked up, it was time for some loader work, which is really what this type of tractor will spend most of its time doing. The task was loading a mix of fresh and well-rotted horse dung into a 14t Herron trailer. Visibility, as mentioned earlier, is excellent.

I put no weight on the rear of the tractor to see how stable it was with the loader. Its hydraulics were really fast, the test tractor was equipped with the optional 94 litre/min system. The standard open-circuit hydraulic system uses a 74 litre/min tandem-gear pump, and in both cases 24 litre/min is available for brakes and steering. The 94 litre/min system is well worth it; it and the smooth power shuttle really turn the 5090M into a serious performer as a loader-type tractor.

For a small tractor it is very stable and, thankfully, grounded while loading. The forward/ reverse ratio is a sensible 1:1 in Lo forward to reverse (no Hi/Lo in reverse). The loader joystick cleverly features a second set of Hi/Lo buttons, so loading-cycle times can be improved in forward with a 20pc increase in forward speed when Hi is selected.

The 583 loader was well able to reach over the side of the Herron trailer to load it and pack down the loose dung. Standard hydraulic services connection on the test tractor to loader was a multi-dock unit. In reality, though, most users will probably never take the loader off.

The final task was to haul the loaded trailer out to the field and tip up. Hooking up to the trailer was not so easy as the standard hitch is non-telescopic and is hard to see through the PTO guard. If the guard flipped up I believe it would be quite easy to see the pick-up hook or, alternatively, a mirror mounted on the opening rear window. It was a bit tricky to get the mechanical lift to raise high enough to get the hook to lock in, and took a bit of messing with the draught and position control before it did. All will probably be easier with use.

On the road, gear changes are easy enough -- perhaps a bit notchy, but then this is a brand new tractor. On the main gearstick there are four synchromesh gears plus buttons for the two-speed powershift.

An interesting feature, probably driven by the US market, is the park position on the main gearstick -- a welcome (and handy) bit of insurance for anyone farming hilly country. A smaller-range gearstick has four more positions, A, B, C and D, which help account for the 32 forward and 16 reverse gears. The higher two, C and D on this stick, are synchromesh and you would use them particularly for hauling operations.

Access for maintenance and service is ample, the top section of the robust front grid hinging down and the bonnet up. A simple plastic mesh curtain in front of the radiator and coolers both simplifies and speeds up radiator cleaning. An electric battery isolator adds an element of security and peace of mind, particularly where the tractor is housed close to bales of hay or straw.

To summarise, the John Deere 5090M performed well, particularly with the loader. The optional electronic lift version would handle the plough better on the road, with its integrated lift suspension, but it is an option most could live without on this type of tractor.

The tractor was very stable with the loader -- perhaps put down in part to the chassis design, making the loader brackets and their mounting more rigid. A tidier loader option would be without the mechanical self-levelling, but that depends on what you want to sacrifice.

I would certainly specify the higher capacity hydraulic pump and Power Reverser Plus transmission, similar to this test tractor.

I found visibility was excellent, though some other users haven't been as impressed.

The test tractor had no air conditioning and, to be honest, it adds quite a lump to the tractor's price. There is plenty of ventilation available, with opening side windows, rear window and roof panel. The cab ergonomics and finish were very good, a robust and easy-to-fold-up passenger seat with seat belt was welcome -- in my case at least to keep little tractor enthusiasts safe.

The selling price for the John Deere 5090M and 583 loader is €55,000 (including VAT).

Thanks to TFM Enniscorthy for supplying the test tractor.

Irish Independent