In mid-September, John Deere pulled the wraps off the latest updates to one of its mid-horsepower tractor ranges: the 6M family. That mid-spec line will see a much wider range of new options available for the 2020 model year across all models, but a new 140-horsepower 6140M model will also join the group to fill what Deere calls a “sweet spot” in power demand. In all, there will now be eight 6M tractors for 2020.
But the most notable change to the series is the completely new 6110M and 6120M tractors, which slide into the lowest 6M horsepower ratings. These two models at the bottom of that group have been redesigned from the ground up, and stand out significantly from their bigger brothers in the line.
According to Lyle McMillan, marketing manager for 6M tractors, the new models were the result of an extensive consultation process with focus groups that lasted from concept all the way through the design process.
“These groups came up with four key points that need to be addressed,” he said. “Visibility, they need to look over the hood and see what’s going on. The other thing was power. Everyone wants more power, because implements are getting bigger. Also cab comfort. A lot of our customers are spending a lot of hours in these tractors, rain or shine. The other case comes down to optionality. We’re talking about building a tractor that meets all customer needs.”
Pleasing every potential buyer in this horsepower range means offering a wide variety of configurations to meet those expectations — those looking for tractors of this size are a pretty diverse bunch. These two tractors now sport the widest range of options yet available from Deere in this horsepower class. And they’re built on a shorter 94.5-inch wheelbase. (The other 6Ms run on 101.5-, 109- and 110-inch wheelbase chassis.)
For the 6110M and 6120M, the short stance goes a long way toward making them pretty nimble in tight spaces, tightening the turning radius by up to 16 per cent over other 6Ms.
“We’re going back to a frame size on a tractor that was very popular several years ago, the 6430,” says McMillan. “We’re kind of going back to that same envelope. There are some changes, though.”
“We think the 6430 crowd is going to be very enthusiastic about the 6110M and 6120M,” adds Archie Oestreich, senior marketing rep.
Most obvious in that redesign McMillan mentions is the overall appearance that includes a sloped front hood. It makes these two models stand out not only from the 6430 but the current, bigger 6Ms as well, which don’t change from their existing, flatter hood.
“Our visibility to the ground is now around 18 feet (at the front),” explains Oestreich. “That’s a big advantage with our sloped-down hood. By cutting down that wheelbase by seven inches from previous 6Ms, we’ve improved turning radius dramatically.”
Even with an enhanced options list, the 6M tractors are still available in more basic configurations.
“For the 2020 model year we’re not taking anything away from those customers who like (basic) mechanical options,” adds Oestreich. “We’re just adding a little bit more for those who want a higher-spec 6M in their fleet. If you don’t want to spec up to a 6R, maybe it’s a little bit outside the price point, you don’t need the larger cab, the extra weight and wheelbase on it. That’s kind of where we see the dichotomy between the 6M and 6R.”
That “bit more” includes electronic SCVs, a swivel seat with a new mini CommandARM, cab suspension, integrated AutoTrac guidance, joystick with power reverser option, panoramic cab roof, LED light package, front hitch and PTO… I could go on, but you get the point.
“It’s like going to the grocery store,” says Oestreich. “Pick and choose what you want.”
The 6110M to 6140M models will get a 4.5-litre 4-cylinder diesel for power. Once you step up from the 145, that 4-cylinder gets replaced with a 6-cylinder 6.8-litre engine. Behind those power plants, there’s a choice of three different transmission options.
“There are different gear specs and speed ratios available for those three transmissions,” says Oestreich.
Getting the sloping nose on the 6110M and 6120M required rearranging engine components, mainly moving the EGR system. These two tractors use an SCR and DOC for emissions, without a DPF. However, on the larger 6130M models and up from there do incorporate a DPF.
“The 110, 120 do not have DPF, that’s how we could make everything so compact (for a sloping hood),” explains Oestreich.
The 6110M and 6120M were designed with loader work in mind. To accommodate that, Deere has mated them with an all-new 600R loader, which uses curved arms with the hydraulic lines run inside the tubes to minimize the risk of damage. It uses a slick new single-lever connection system to make removing and reattaching it a pretty quick process. Removing the bucket is also streamlined in a whole new way.
“From the cab I can push two buttons, take an attachment off, drive up to my next attachment and put it on without leaving my cab,” says Devon Loew, product rep for the loader line.
When it comes to technology, the 6M line can now be delivered to dealers with AutoTrac GPS and JD Link ready right from the factory.
In the cab a new smaller version of the CommandARM used in the R Series models is being introduced and the cab, although not as big as that used on the 6R family, can be uprated to a pretty high standard.
Says McMillan, “At the end of the day, we’re bringing a tractor that’s reimagined and redesigned.”