High Tech

John Deere’s new 6155R ‘mid-frame’ trac­tor

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Test­ing the lat­est high-tech of­fer­ing from any man­u­fac­turer is ex­cit­ing and this par­tic­u­lar ex­am­ple – John Deere’s new 6155R cour­tesy of Cervus at Bal­larat – is no dif­fer­ent.

This ma­chine is the largest in the ‘mid-frame’ six-cylin­der line up which, like all 6000 se­ries John Deere’s, comes com­plete with full-frame chas­sis de­sign. The rear hitch, axles and the op­tional loader at­tach di­rectly onto this, while the en­gine and trans­mis­sion are cra­dled within al­low­ing the chas­sis to take up the strain, not in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents.

While the full chas­sis is a tried-and-tested de­sign, this ma­chine is also equipped with the new high-tech StarFire 6000 re­ceiver which al­lows full auto-steer.


The 6155R is equipped with John Deere’s own tier four-com­pli­ant 6.8-litre, six-cylin­der en­gine with max­i­mum power of 195hp plus 40hp In­tel­li­gent Power Man­age­ment (IPM) boost. The boost kicks in for ei­ther the PTO (over 2.5km/h) or trans­port (over 15km/h).

To reach tier four-com­pli­ance, the twin-turbo en­gine runs EGR, DPF, DOC and SCR to keep a cap on the dreaded black smoke – gone are the days of be­ing able to see where the trac­tor was in the pad­dock by the bil­low­ing black smoke from the chrome stack!

Aside from many of the neg­a­tives in terms of en­gine com­pli­ca­tion to reach tier four, one pos­i­tive is en­gine ser­vice in­ter­vals are set at 750 hours while hy­draulic oil needs drop­ping ev­ery 1,500 hours.

An­other pos­i­tive and wel­come mod­i­fi­ca­tion from the 30 se­ries is the en­gine oil dip­stick and fill point are within easy reach for daily checks, given the ex­tra heat thanks to the en­gine gas retic­u­la­tion ex­tra cool­ing needed. Due to space be­ing a pre­mium, the air-cleaner unit is mounted high on top of the en­gine. The handy mesh pull-out screens on the fixed ra­di­a­tor are an­other clas­sic Deere fea­ture to which op­er­a­tors have be­come ac­cus­tomed.


Op­er­a­tors have a smor­gas­bord of trans­mis­sion op­tions when it comes to the 6155R. The test ma­chine was the Pre­mium Plus spec with the 50km/h IVT com­plete with Com­mandArm. Other vari­ants in­clude the Pow­erQuad Plus, Au­toQuad Plus or Eco and Direc­tDrive Eco, all of which come with ei­ther 40km as stan­dard or op­tional 50km on the Eco vari­a­tions.

The John Deere in­fin­itely vari­able trans­mis­sion (Au­toPowr/

IVT) uses a com­bi­na­tion of me­chan­i­cal and hy­dro­static power, pro­vid­ing step-less and con­tin­u­ous power from 0-50km.

While a multi-func­tion joy­stick is ab­sent on the Com­mand

Arm, the trans­mis­sion is, in our opin­ion, prob­a­bly the eas­i­est to op­er­ate on the mar­ket. This is thanks to a sin­gle lever con­trol­ling the trans­mis­sion with two ranges (0-20km/h and 0-50km/h). Ranges are not a me­chan­i­cal change; op­er­a­tors sim­ply push the lever for­ward to go faster, or gen­tly pull back to slow down. For more pre­cise control, a roller wheel on the top of the con­troller al­lows very ac­cu­rate speed set­tings for jobs such as pre­ci­sion plant­ing or har­vest­ing.

The power zero ca­pa­bil­ity within the trans­mis­sion al­lows the trac­tor to re­main per­fectly still on steep hill when drive is stopped to the trans­mis­sion.

Dif­fer­ent drive modes (e.g. pedal, cus­tom, PTO) al­low the op­er­a­tor to choose the best set­ting to al­low the en­gine and trans­mis­sion to find the most fuel-ef­fi­cient com­bi­na­tion. This set-up makes op­er­a­tion an ab­so­lute breeze for any­one who has spent a bit of time in a Deere.


There is no deny­ing this is one of, if not the largest, cabs on the mar­ket. John Deere claim an ex­tra 20 per cent more room over the 6030 se­ries pre­mium cab and com­fort lev­els will not dis­ap­point. With up to 16 front and six rear work lights (the test ma­chine was even equipped with LED lights) burn­ing the mid­night oil shall no longer be an ob­sta­cle.

Sit­ting in the large com­fort­able seat, the vis­i­bil­ity is ex­cel­lent with large full-glass doors that are easy to shut even com­pared to some six-pil­lar de­signs. The ‘R’ se­ries is equipped with a very good-size pas­sen­ger seat and vis­i­bil­ity to the draw­bar may be slightly bet­ter than the 6030 se­ries.

The most no­tice­able thing about the cab is the noise, or lack thereof. It is eas­ily one of the qui­etest cabs we have been in, and with cli­mate control and the large pre­mium spec seat, there is very lit­tle to com­plain about in terms of com­fort. Even small things like the new door latch make the doors eas­ier to close com­pared to the older mod­els. Some­times it’s the lit­tle things that count.

The Com­mandArm is not the most so­phis­ti­cated arm­rest on the mar­ket but it is com­fort­able, and with ac­cess to four elec­tric re­motes, auto steer, two head­land man­age­ment op­tions, PTO switch, link­age control as well as the trans­mis­sion func­tions and throt­tle, there isn’t much you can’t get your hands on.

The touch­screen mon­i­tor is sim­ple and log­i­cal to nav­i­gate around. Any­thing that has elec­tronic control can be op­er­ated, ad­justed, stored and saved on this mon­i­tor – as well as splitscreen auto-steer view. The ad­justable dash is clear and easy to read, us­ing two large ana­logue di­als for en­gine and trac­tor speed, as well as two smaller di­als that dis­play fuel level and coolant tem­per­a­ture.


To run the 6155R through its paces out in the field, we hitched up a Kuhn Op­ti­mer+ disc cul­ti­va­tor and got chew­ing soil on a spud farm just out of Bal­larat. We couldn’t fault the Deere when op­er­at­ing through the soil. It was thick, clumpy and a tad boggy, and the 6155R tore straight through it – so a big thumbs up for the 6155R with the discs in tow.

Im­pres­sive per­for­mance on the rough ground is partly thanks to the triple-link front sus­pen­sion. With 100mm of travel, it is proven that front sus­pen­sion im­proves trac­tion by al­ways

The trans­mis­sion is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est to op­er­ate on the mar­ket.

main­tain­ing con­tact and there­fore trans­mit­ting max­i­mum power to the ground.

The sus­pen­sion has three set­tings: full auto, max­i­mum and man­ual. The man­ual mode is a par­tic­u­lar favourite as it al­lows you to raise and lower the sus­pen­sion, which is es­pe­cially handy while at­tach­ing front/rear hitch im­ple­ments and trail­ers when you are just a few cen­time­tres off.

The op­tional high-flow pump de­liv­ers 155L/min of hy­draulic per­for­mance while the three-speed 540/540E/1000 PTO is elec­tro-hy­drauli­cally op­er­ated and has ex­te­rior fender-mounted con­trollers.


The new John Deere Starfire 6000 is a big step up from pre­vi­ous mod­els with re­peata­bil­ity that is guar­an­teed for nine months from the pre­vi­ous job. Deere say it will last the sea­son (12 months) but will guar­an­tee nine months, which means cul­ti­va­tion, plant­ing, spray­ing, fer­til­is­ing, har­vest­ing and recul­ti­va­tion can all be ac­cessed from the re­ceiver and go on any Au­toTrak-ready ma­chine in the fleet.

If that isn’t ex­cit­ing enough, ac­cu­racy of +/- 3cm is prob­a­bly the best fea­ture. Three cen­time­tres is al­most as good as RTK at 2.5cm with­out the need for a $25,000 base sta­tion (although the RTK will gain cov­er­age quicker in chal­leng­ing con­di­tions). The 4600 mon­i­tor on the Com­mandArm al­lows ISOBUS im­ple­ments or GPS etc. to be used as a split screen while still hav­ing the main trac­tor func­tions on the mon­i­tor to al­le­vi­ate the need to fill the right-hand side of the cab with mon­i­tors.

JDLink is an­other op­tion which has been around for a lit­tle while but is now be­com­ing more widespread given the num­ber of ma­chines com­ing in with this tech­nol­ogy to be able to talk back to the deal­ers. In­ter­est­ing in­for­ma­tion is be­ing pulled, with some trac­tors hav­ing up to 50 per cent idle time while com­bines can be bro­ken down to idle, idle with full tank, trans­port etc. You can also ex­port yield and cov­er­age maps as well as guid­ance line shar­ing via JDLink.

This is a great func­tion for con­trac­tors and farm­ers to be able to mea­sure pro­duc­tiv­ity as well as re­mote di­ag­nos­tic re­ports for the ser­vice cen­tre. This al­lows some fixes to be sent from the di­ag­nos­tic team to the trac­tor to re­solve is­sues in the field with­out the need for a me­chanic.

An­other ex­cit­ing fea­ture that John Deere is work­ing on is called ‘Ex­pert Alerts’. This is where the re­port­ing of di­ag­nos­tic alerts and tem­per­a­tures are be­ing mon­i­tored by Deere on some trac­tors with JDLink, which al­lows them to have a large data­base.

In the fu­ture, there will be in­for­ma­tion sent di­rect from the fac­tory to the lo­cal ser­vice man­ager alert­ing them to faults that will oc­cur on the ma­chine be­fore they have even oc­curred.

This in­for­ma­tion will also in­clude the parts needed to fix that prob­lem.

This will save both the dealer and the cus­tomer from not hav­ing techs go­ing out to the job, di­ag­nos­ing the prob­lem, go­ing back to the work­shop, or­der­ing parts, wait­ing for parts to ar­rive, go­ing back out to the ma­chine, all the while los­ing sev­eral days in the mean­time – es­sen­tially re­duc­ing ad­min and down­time.


To sum­marise, this trac­tor is a se­ri­ously good bit of gear. Build qual­ity is ex­cep­tional, the John Deere tech­nol­ogy is up there with some of the best, and op­er­a­tor com­fort is top notch thanks to the spa­cious, quiet cab.

The ‘mid-frame’ de­sign al­lows com­pact ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity with 195hp of boosted punch. This com­pact all-rounder comes equipped with plenty of tech­nol­ogy and com­fort to make the long days in the field turn into LED-lit pad­docks at night, so you can burn the can­dle from both ends and re­ally get some work done!

En­gine ser­vice in­ter­vals are set at 750 hours while hy­draulic oil needs drop­ping ev­ery 1,500 hours.

at TradeFar­mMachin­ery.com.au

1/2/3. The 6155R fea­tures some of the best tech­nol­ogy in the busi­ness4. We couldn’t fault the Deere whenop­er­at­ing through the soil5. The en­gine oil dip­stick and fill point arewithin easy reach for daily check

6/7/8. There is no deny­ing this is one of, if not the largest, and most com­fort­able, cabs on the mar­ket9. Re­view­ers Jaiden Drought (left) andHar­ri­son Hunkin

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