Farmers in KwaZulu-Natal recently managed to get a sneak preview of the new John Deere 5M series tractors after Mascor made a detour to the Midlands en route from Durban to Nampo at Bothaville. The demonstration took place on Eddie and Dieter Schulz’s farm Botfeld, near the Noodsberg sugar mill at Dalton. With enough hydraulic capacity to handle big implements, the 5M series utility tractors are designed for long hours in heavy duty applications.
In common with other new John Deere series, the model names reflect the engine horsepower. For example, the 5085M produces 85hp (63kW). The basic model has features that put it well beyond ‘basic’ when it comes to operator comfort and convenience: a hydraulically dampened seat to smooth out rough terrain, a fully adjustable steering wheel and well-positioned controls. These are to the right and out of the way, yet within easy reach.
The 16/16 transmission on all three 5M series tractors comes with the convenience of the no-clutch, electro-hydraulic PowerReverser shuttle shifter. This is ideal for jobs that involve frequent changes of direction, such as front loading. All three 5M models are equipped with a wet traction clutch. The top-of-the-range 5105M is powered by a 78kW common rail fuel engine. This displayed impressive performance, pulling the JohnDeere 975 reversible plough – hardly the lightest of loads – at a good depth and a respectable speed.
The JD 6M with a reversible plough
Mascor also used the opportunity to show off several of the new JD 6M series units, introduced late last year. Rated at 112kW, the 6150M was a good match for the four-furrow Kverneland reversible plough, popular in the cane lands.
The ridger/fertiliser applicator combination, seen here on the JD 5085M, is the prototype of a unit designed to farmer Eddie Schulz’s specifications by Italia Engineering in Pietermaritzburg for tramline planting of sugarcane. This machine and the ‘tramlining’ system will be the subject of a Farmer’s Weekly column at a later date.
The inside story
Lifting the bonnet of the 71kW 5095M reveals the 4,5-litre four-cylinder Powertech engine, with a full-pressure lubrication system to coat the undersides of the pistons with cooled, filtered oil and a precision-balanced crankshaft to minimise noise and vibration. The Tier ll-specification engines will have no problem with the diesel grade available in South Africa and will also run on biodiesel blends up to B20. The optional cab is fitted with a climate control system and a full complement of working lights. The side and rear windows can be opened wide for ventilation or increased visibility of rear implements.