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On Test: Silaging duties reveal capabilities of new MF 6600 series

Insights

The Massey Ferguson stable has never been shy of producing pocket rocket tractors with high power to weight ratios and agile characteristics, and its latest round of range topping models, including the 56, 66 and 7600 series machines are no exception.

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Sticking with this design mantra, we put two models from its latest 6600 series to the test. This included the range-topping 6616, with a rated output of 160hp, boosting incrementally for transport and pto work to 185hp, and the slightly less powerful 6615 with 145hp (160hp boosted).

 

At the heart of these and the rest of the 6600 series is a 4.9-litre, four-cylinder AgcoPower (formerly known as SisuPower) engine.

 

The 16 was tasked with a front and rear mower, and later on a buckrake, while the 15 handled a trailed mower and rake. Both also showed their worth on carting duties.

 

Like its siblings, the 6600 series stands out with its aggressive family styling. That design continuity also follows on with the cab. The 56, 66 and 7600 series models all share the same cab frame and operational and control concepts, despite differences in specification. This, particularly for MF users, makes it easy to go from one model to another.

 

Multiple spec choice

Multiple spec choice

As well as checking out the different power brackets, and to get a thorough understanding of the series, each model was also specced differently, with the 16 getting the firm’s mid-cab Efficient specification, 24-speed Dyna-6 powershift transmission, front linkage,

 

DataTronic terminal and guidance, while the 15 got the entry level cab specification - Essential - with panoramic window option and 16-

speed Dyna-4 transmission.

 

Both are also available with a continuously variable transmission and the Exclusive cab.

 

The main difference between Essential and Efficient specification is the cab layout and level of electronics - basically the higher the specification, the more convenient things get. For example, while the T-bar lever for transmission control resides in a console mounted on the fender for Essential spec, it is put on the armrest for Efficient users. Similarly, linkage controls are put closer to hand, along with electronic spool valves, if specified.

 

Commonalities include the dash, which moves with the adjustable steering wheel, and the operation and set-up of the transmission.

 

Main transmission control comes from either the T-bar lever situated to the driver’s right or the power control lever situated on the steering column.

 

The T-bar can be used to simply flick up or down through the powershifts, or by pressing the consent button incorporated into the lever, you can change range.

 

The power control lever also serves to change powershifts, but can also change direction of the tractor and select neutral. In both instances, the transmission can be set up in a multitude of ways.

Set-up

Via an LCD display on the dash and blister buttons on a key pad, adjustments can be made to gear change aggression; independent shuttle aggression for both forward and reverse; brake-to-neutral function, which can be turned on or off; anti-stall, which can be turned on and off; and speed steer responsiveness can also be altered. Via the power control and T-bar levers, independent start up gears for both forward and reverse can be programmed.

 

The inclusion of the manufacturer’s Auto Drive system also allows you to make further, and on the go, adjustments to the transmission, such as target speeds, what revs a gear change will take place at and a top speed limit.

 

A quick selection of a pre-programmed target speed and/or revs can also be selected via one of the two SV buttons.

 

Delving into the menu a little more allows you to make rudimentary headland management sequences, such as the automatic activation of the pto, differential lock and four-wheel drive, triggered by the lowering of the linkage.

 

The linkage can also be used to trigger preset pto speeds, and oil flow priority can be triggered by selecting a spool, which is ideal for tipping trailers.

 

With all these functions and feature, accessed through the dash, it does make you question whether you need to spec up to the DataTronic terminal.

 

As an option to control the front linkage, instead of fingertip electric levers, you can get a multifunction control lever (standard when fitted with a MF loader).

 

Mounted on the armrest of our 6616, as well as controlling the front linkage and auxiliary spool, it incorporates buttons for powershift and direction control and a transmission neutral button, along with two more function keys, which can be assigned various functions.

 

 

Making life easy

Making life easy

In our case, using front and rear-mounted mowers, we could assign the lever element to raise and lower the front mower by pushing it in one direction and raise and lower the rear mower by pushing in the other.

 

We assigned one function key to activate a headland management sequence and one to activate the automatic steering.

 

The upshot is your right hand never leaves the lever. For our mowing operations this was an absolute dream, only requiring you to turn the tractor around at the headland. For buckraking it also proved useful - offering good, smooth proportional control.

 

On the 16, all headland management sequences and guidance parameters are set up through its DataTronic terminal via the use of a scroll wheel and shortcut keys.

 

While it is not the most intuitive terminal to use at first, mainly due to navigation, clearly labelled functions and icons do help.

 

Performance monitoring, tractor set-up and job documentation are also possible through the terminal.

 

While the 15 was only Essential spec, it was not short on comfort or ease of use. And probably for most mixed farming and livestock operations this spec is plenty.

 

Despite controls being mounted on the console, all fall to hand. The mechanical spool levers, in particular, give a good sense of ruggedness and durability.

 

Panoramic

Panoramic

Developed out of the amenity industry in Europe, Essential models can be specified with a panoramic right-hand window, which does away with the B-pillar to offer uninterrupted views to right-hand-mounted implements - mainly the likes of hedgecutters.

 

We found it useful for offset trailed equipment, such as our mower. However, all the pto speed selection buttons and linkage set-up, which normally are located on the removed pillar, are re-homed to the remaining left-hand B-pillar.

 

While fixed in position, its cooling package does provide plenty of space to get your hands in and clear out any debris between the radiators.

 

Below the package is also an easy to clean flat surface, with no nooks or crannies for dirt to get lodged in. You can also get at the dipstick with the bonnet down.

 

A sight glass at the rear helps to see transmission/hydraulic oil levels, although topping up with oil is a different story. The filler cap is not in a particularly convenient place, buried in between the spool valves, and it also requires a spanner or socket to unscrew it - the latter is the best option as you can add extensions.

 

A funnel with a long neck is also a necessary item. The cap is made from plastic, so watch out for over tightening and thread stripping.

 

The rear end woes continue with an ill-placed pto activation button, which is on the mudguard towards the middle of the tractor. In our opinion, it is not far enough away from the danger zone.

 

However, the front-end linkage buttons certainly come in useful when hitching up or setting up implements.

 

Machines tested specifications

  MF 6615 Dyna-4 MF 6616 Dyna-6
Engine Four-cylinder, 4.9-litre, Agco Power Four-cylinder, 4.9-litre, Agco Power
Max. power at 1,950rpm 145hp 160hp
Max. power with engine power management 160hp 185hp
Transmission 16 by 16, 40kph, semi-powershift 24 by 24, 50kph, semi-powershift
Max. rear linkage lift capacity 7,100kg 8,100kg
Max. front linkage lift capacity N/A 3,200kg
Wheelbase 2,670mm 2,670mm
Options fitted Panoramic window Front linkage, Data Tronic terminal, guidance
Price £xxxxx £xxxxx

FG verdict

Finally. At last a modern tractor with a lively engine.

 

While most modern engines suffer from an element of lethargy, mainly due to emissions regulations, the Agco Power unit was responsive and gutsy. Particularly on the 16, two 3m mowers did not faze the motor, which was quite happy to cruise all day at 15kph.

 

It is, however, perhaps not quite as ‘jump on and drive’ as some of its contemporaries, but it is fairly easy to fathom.

 

The most daunting thing is the sheer number of different ways you can drive this tractor, namely in the transmission department. That said, it does mean you can pretty much tailor the tractor to your driving style and/or the operation at hand.

 

For us, finding a smooth, yet responsive setting, even at high revs under heavy load, was quite doable.

 

It also looks big for a four-cylinder, but closer inspection reveals the cab and bonnet have a part to play in its ‘big’ looks. It is only when you use it that its agile character starts to shine through, highlighted by the fast and frantic-paced nature of mowing. This is when it starts to make some of its competitors look numb and overweight.

 

What we do like about the level of gizmos is they are there for a reason to be used practically and not just there for the sake of it.

 

Overall, the 6600 impressed and is well worth shouting about. Tidy the rear-end up a bit and make the Data Tronic terminal a little more user-friendly and it would be worth shouting about even louder.

 

Lammaxchange

If you’re looking for farm machinery or equipment check out our partner LammaXchange’s website. With thousands of pieces of kit you’re sure to find what you’re looking for www.LammaXchange.com

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