Aimed predominantly at use on livestock farms, the new Kubota 60 series tractor range comprises four models from 60hp to 100hp. James Rickard puts one to the test.
To test Kubota’s new 60 series’ credentials as a loader tractor, we set the second smallest model to work on a mixed farm.
Faced with mucking out, feeding and bedding, the 70hp M7060 would get a good test of its agility, stability and hydraulic performance, as well as affording us an in depth look at operator comfort and usability.
Replacing the outgoing 40 series, the latest four-model range is powered by Kubota’s own four-cylinder engines - 3.3 litres for the two smallest models and 3.8 litres for the largest two.
Emissions are kept in check via a diesel particular filter and exhaust gas recirculation. While its engine-mounted exhaust, instead of one mounted on the A-pillar, may seem like a step backwards, it was hardly noticeable and did not impede on visibility.
To reduce fuel, noise and wear and tear, the engine is limited to 2,000rpm in top gear.
Relocating the climate controls and radio has dramatically increased upward/forward visibility.
The gearbox has been fettled to be smoother and more efficient, says the manufacturer, and now has an extra gear in each range - 18 across the high, low and creep ranges.The two largest models, also get a splitter in each gear.
Gear changes are surprisingly slick and crisp and have more of an automotive feel than its predecessor. A clutchless shuttle also means you can select a gear from stationary and set off without having to use the clutch pedal.
Direction changes are relatively swift and smooth. A park position is also incorporated into the transmission.
Range changes are more difficult as the lever just slides back and forth to select all three. This occasionally led us to select the wrong range. To make it clearer, it could do with some indents for the lever to slot into for each range.
As for the cab, it now features a four-pillar design, although it is still technically six if you include the skinny frame around the back window. It is also bigger, quieter and has more visibility, especially for loader work, thanks to an arched front windscreen and repositioned climate controls and radio. A larger, lower window has improved visibility to the pickup hitch
Stability of the M7060 is good, even with heavy loads.
The main right-hand console is slightly different. All major controls are now closer to hand and more ergonomically laid out.
However, the position of the loader joystick could be improved as it has been mounted on a barge pole to get it anywhere near close to hand. There is also only rake adjustment on the steering wheel, which does mean the seating position is compromised.
The dash is clear, with large dials for revs, temperature and fuel level. An LCD display shows speed and direction of travel.
Our test model was fitted with the firm’s American-made LA 1154 loader, which offered 1.1 tonnes lifting capacity and a maximum lift height of 3.4m - in Max Lift mode. If you alter the hole position of the main lift rams to Max Power mode, you get 1.3 tonnes of lift capacity and 2.9m of lift height.
To make life easier, it can be fitted with a six-valve multi-coupler as an option. Other loader features include soft ride, hydraulic parallel linkage which can be turned on and off in the cab, and a quick release system for attachments.
The M7060 tractor certainly looks the part with sleek looks and practical features.
We highly rate this loader for its simplicity and ease of use, especially when it comes to attaching and detaching the whole loader.
A 65 litres/minute hydraulic flow also afforded swift loader action, even when carrying out multiple movements.
However, sightlines to the Euro-coupler are not great when hitching up to attachments, but it is something all manufacturers have to live with. Otherwise, when working, visibility is good.
Thanks to an 800kg rear ballast, it meant we could put all 71hp down when diving into the muck.
More importantly, it also helped with stability, especially when handling large square bales, which it did admirably.
Negotiating the buildings and passageways revealed its agility - it really can turn on a sixpence. Steering remained light too, even when fully loaded with muck.
At the rear, things are similar to its predecessor, although slightly larger lifting rams have increased lift capacity to 2.3 tonnes.
Standard equipment includes a Dromone pickup hitch, two double-acting spools and a two-speed pto (540 and 540E).
Set-up is simple, with screw-adjustable drop links and pin adjustable stabilisers. A handy rear-mounted tool box provides a place for pins and balls.
Fundamentally, Kubota has got it right with this tractor. Things which matter, such as turning circle, hydraulic response and transmission, really impressed.
A couple of bits could do with a rethink, such as loader joystick position, foot throttle position and adding telescopic adjustment to the steering wheel, but these are things you can live with, and given Kubota’s rate of development, no doubt they will soon sort it.
While we tried it on a mixed farm, we can see the 60 series being equally at home on a vegetable enterprise, thanks to its creeper box.
Simple, clear controls make it truly ‘jump on and drive’and it is certainly more refined than its predecessor.
Overall, you would be daft to turn your nose up at the 60 series.