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New Holland FR 650

DLG-APPROVED: Performance Test in Grass

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A quality mark “DLG-APPROVED for single value-determining criteria” is awarded to agricultural products which successfully passed a smaller-scope DLG usability test according to independent and reognized evaluation criteria. The test intends to highlight special innovations and key criteria of the test item. The test can focus on criteria from the DLG testing framework for full tests or on other individual features or qualitative criteria. The minimum requirements, the test conditions and procedures as well as the evaluation guidelines of the test results are determined in consultation with a DLG expert group. They comply with the generally recognized technology rules as well as with scientific and agricultural knowledge and requirements. The successful test concludes with the publishing of a test report and the awarding of a quality mark which is valid for five years following the award date.

The New Holland FR 650 forage harvester was submitted to a DLG Performance Test (Grass), which measures the amount of harvested material and fuel consumption while the machine is performing in the field, focusing on the machine's efficiency (fuel consumption in litres per tonne of harvested material (l/t)) while taking into account the quality of chop and throughput levels which should meet practical requirements. In order to describe the potential of the new machine or new feature the test compares the 'ECO Mode' strategy with a traditional system, i.e. with 'ECO Mode' disabled while operating the machine in either mode in the field. As it is not always necessary for a forage harvester to operate at full engine speed when harvesting grass, manufacturers have developed new engine management systems that are able to respond flexibly to various conditions. No further criteria were tested  in this DLG Performance Test (Grass). 

Assessment – Brief Summary

The present Performance Test was carried out in a crop of grass in 2015. Throughout all test runs the test machine, the new New Holland FR 650, performed without malfunctions or any other issues, demonstrating that the introduction of the new 'FPT Tier 4 final' engine and further updates have led to a clear improvement of the machine's overall efficiency.

The measurements made by the DLG testers confirm that productivity and machine efficiency have improved.

Testing the machine's grass harvesting functionality in 2015 and in the test conditions described below, the DLG testers measured a nominal throughput of 191 t/h at a consumption rate of 0.45 l/t while the engine was operating at reduced 1,707 rpm. This means operating the machine in 'ECO Mode low' the engine used 22.7 % less fuel than in the test version in which ECO Mode was deactivated and was still maintaining throughput at the level mentioned above.

The results of the DLG Performance Test in grass harvests are grouped in Table 1. The listed results are average values that were derived at by averaging the individual measurements that were taken in the various test versions.

Table 1: New Holland FR 650 – results in grass, chopping 20 mm LOCs

      Fresh matter  
Crop Test version   Throughput Fuel consumption
      [t/h] [l/t]
Lucerne high throughput ECO Mode off at 2,038 rpm 191.2 0.58
    ECO Mode low at 1,707 rpm   0.45
  average throughput ECO Mode low at 2,101 rpm 128.8 0.70
    ECO Mode low at 1,714 rpm   0.50
  low throughput ECO Mode off at 2,097 rpm 106.6 0.76
    ECO Mode low at 1,730 rpm   0.56
Permanent pasture average throughput ECO Mode off at 2,100 rpm 118.5 0.82
    ECO Mode high at 1,982 rpm   0.77
    ECO Mode low at 1,711 rpm   0.61
  low throughput ECO Mode off at 2,100 rpm 102.0 0.88
    ECO Mode high at 2,026 rpm   0.82
    ECO Mode low at 1,746 rpm   0.69
      Dry matter   Hectares rates
Crop Test version   Throughput Fuel consumption</b> Fuel consumption
      [t/h] [l/t] [l/ha]
Lucerne high throughput ECO Mode off at 2,038 rpm 56.5 1.93 34.8
    ECO Mode low at 1,707 rpm   1.54 27.2
  average throughput ECO Mode low at 2,101 rpm 41.6 2.08 44.2
    ECO Mode low at 1,714 rpm   1.60 30.5
  low throughput ECO Mode off at 2,097 rpm 34.6 2.20 41.9
    ECO Mode low at 1,730 rpm   1.85 27.9
Permanent pasture average throughput ECO Mode off at 2,100 rpm   2.03 31.8
    ECO Mode high at 1,982 rpm 48.5 1.90 29.2
    ECO Mode low at 1,711 rpm   1.45 25.0
  low throughput ECO Mode off at 2,100 rpm   2.11 32.2
    ECO Mode high at 2,026 rpm 42.7 2.04 29.6
    ECO Mode low at 1,746 rpm   1.58 22.2

The Method

The DLG Performance Test (Grass) submits self-propelled forage harvesters to field tests. The test comprises various test versions that are carried out in selected grassland which is harvested at typical forward speeds and at typical chop lengths. The test conditions including the type of crop, field conditions and weather conditions are also logged for documentation.

Before the actual tests began, the forager was set up to the prevailing conditions. This was done in a run prior to the actual test runs during which the suitable settings and the machine's chop quality were determined.

The following Performance Test aimed at determining the machine's fuel saving potential and at demonstrating the enhanced efficiency of the new Tier 4f engines. The test machine was an FR 650 that was powered by a Tier 4f engine and deployed in a field of grass. All test runs were carried out sequentially. One test run lasted as long as it took to fill one silage trailer. The machine was operated within the field speed range that was optimum for the prevailing conditions and the chopping drum was set to 20 mm LOCs.

The tests were carried out in two different crop varieties. Per crop variety and machine setting the forager filled at least three trailers. Then random samples were taken from each haul after the material had been unloaded on the clamp. A sufficiently large number of samples was taken to obtain a mean sample. From these mean samples, three representative samples were taken and collected in perforated plastic bags. The fresh matter content of these samples was measured as they were collected in the bags. The bags were then closed, labelled and stored at cool temperatures. Dry matter was determined by taken three samples from each trailer load. Before the actual test runs started, the engineers measured the width, height and mass of the swaths per metre length. These data were also included in the documentation on the field con­ditions.

The Product

New Holland FR 650  forage harvester

Description and Technical Data

The pick-up used in the test was the new model 300 FP for grass harvesting. The unit has a multi-finger auger which feeds the material to the intake rollers. Another model is available which uses paddles to deal with dense or very tall grass crops. The 3m pick-up is not removed for road transport and therefore suits applications that involve a lot of road travel.

A 3.8 m wide pick-up is also available as an option. The new HD crop press roller rotates continuously to ensure a uniform crop feed to the auger. It is free floating to suit varying swaths heights. In addition, New Holland now offers further standard and heavy-duty features for the spout. The new cab was updated to suit the needs of forage harvester operators and offers good all-round visibility, plenty of space and a lower noise level. All controls are neatly grouped. Further on, the corn processor is easy to get at. The Variflow system allows operators to switch from grass to corn without tools and within a few minutes.

The forage harvester is powered by an axial FPT Cursor 16 Tier 4 final engine with six cylinders (Forage Cruiser), a capacity of 16 l and an output of 480 kW/653 hp (to ECE R 120 standards) which is generated at the range of 1,700 to 1,900 rpm. Emission standards are complied with by using the established SCR (Selected Catalytic Reduction) exhaust gas treatment system together with AdBlue. EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) and DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) are not required.

The new engines were optimized to meet the specific requirements of a forager. Now they maintain their maximum output when operating in the 1,700 rpm to 1,900 rpm speed range. According to the manufacturer, torque increases clearly when the engine is revving in the 1,700 rpm -1,900 rpm range.

Table 2: FR 650 engine output

Engine FPT Cursor 16, Tier 4 final
Capacity 15,9 l
Number of cylinders 6
kW/hp (@ 2100 rpm, ECE R120) 440/598
max. kW/hp (@1700–1900 rpm, ECE R120) 480/653

Table 3: Engine management modes

ECO Mode low – low engine speed range (1,850-1,700 rpm)
– engine speed is limited to 1,850 rpm
– engine speed is automatically reduced to the pre-set speed when harvest conditions vary
– the pre-set speed range is between 1,850 rpm and 1,700 rpm
– engine speed will drop below 1,700 rpm only if the load on the engine increases appropriately
ECO Mode high higher engine speed range (2,100-1,950 rpm)
– maximum engine speed is limited to 2,100 rpm
– engine speed is automatically reduced to 1,950 rpm when harvest conditions vary
– engine speed will drop below 1,950 rpm only if the load on the engine increases appropriately
– this mode is recommended only for very specific situations and conditions*
ECO Mode off (at 2,100 rpm) – ECO Mode is disabled
– maximum engine speed is limited to 2,100 rpm
– engine speed is NOT automatically reduced to a pre-set speed when harvest conditions change
– engine speed will drop below 2,100 rpm, if the load on the engine increases appropriately
– this mode is recommended only for very specific situations and conditions*

*     In conditions that require the chopping assembly to operate at high speeds, such as when opening up fields in very dry conditions, in certain low yielding grass crops, or in grass and hay crops with high sugar contents (manufacturer information).

According to the manufacturer, torque increases clearly when the engine is revving in the 1,700 rpm -1,900 rpm range. This means drivers are recommended to operate the machine in the 1,650 rpm – 1900 rpm range to achieve maximum productivity and good fuel economy. They can select 2 management modes offered by the new engine management system to respond to the prevailing harvest conditions. 'ECO Mode high' and 'ECO Mode low' allow the operator to enter the preferred engine speed to the terminal.

In both modes the engine will maintain its speed automatically at 1,700 rpm during the headland turn and increases its speed again when the turn is completed and the machine enters the next row, which is to avoid blockages. In addition to the established Power Cruise 2, the new FR 650 now offers both ECO Modes. Power Cruise 2 and both ECO Modes can be enabled either separately or combined and set individually. The new features are displayed on the large and clear IntelliView IV colour touchscreen (26.4 cm), which displays all machine functions and parameters. It also records the acreage for the job management system which can cover each individual field. Also, the operator can retrieve information on fuel consumption and yields (fresh matter and dry matter) and read the machine's current output status (see the engine curve graph in figure 5, left). In this graph, the blue circle (the so-called cursor) moves relative to the current load on the engine as depicted. So he can watch the current efficiency and operate the forager in the optimum speed range.

The aim is to operate the machine in the range around the 1,700 rpm which is marked out in green. To do that the operator increases or reduces forward speed.

The Test Results in Detail

The test runs

The Performance Test was carried out in grassland in the German federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in May 2015. The new New Holland FR 650 was submitted to an individual test in two different grass varieties. The test focused on the new engine management system, which offers three management modes. The two modes – 'ECO Mode low' for reduced engine speeds (1,850-1,700 rpm) and 'ECO Mode high' for higher engine speeds (2,100-1,950 rpm) were compared with the 'Standard Mode' (ECO Mode off at 2,100 rpm). The chopping assembly was the unit with two sets of 10 knives and chop length was set to 20 mm. AdBlue consumption was measured with a mobile meter together with fuel consumption.

Harvest conditions  and swath data

The selected farm provided a large choice of test fields, including two different crops of grass (see Table 4). The grass in the selected test fields was cut the day before the test took place and the swaths were laid shortly before the tests were carried out on the same day.

FR 650 test results in grass

The test results are listed in Table 5. The measurements reflect the rates without turn-around times and during the entire test period. The percentages listed in Table 5 reflect the savings potential as determined on the basis of crude test data. Rounding inconsistencies are possible. The FR 650 Tier 4f is equipped with an SCR exhaust fuel catalyst and uses AdBlue. The reconfigured FR 650 Tier 4f engine offers a higher torque and more constant characteristics. Table 5 shows that under the test conditions described with chop lengths set to 20 mm and throughput for Lucerne set to average, the new engine management system can achieve savings of up to 29 % in l/t fresh matter. The AdBlue measurements showed that AdBlue consumption relates to fuel consumption in a ratio up to 8 % and should be included in the equation.

Nevertheless, when chopping fuel consumption drops significantly over consumption in ECO Mode disabled.

Table 4: Grass varieties and harvest conditions

Dry matter* Swath width Swath height Fresh matter yields Dry matter yields Com-
  [%] [%] (m) (m) [dt WM/ha] [dt WM/ha]  
-grass mix
69.0 31.0 1.2-1.4 0.25-0.33 92.7 28.7  
56.6 43.5 1.1-1.5 0.21-0.36 57.3 23.8 partly low-yielding

*    averaged from all trailer fills; dry box dried

Table 5: All test results

Crop     FR 650 ECO off FR 650 ECO high FR650 ECO low ECO off vs. ECO high ECO off vs.ECO low
Lucerne high throughput (191,2 t/h) Fuel con-
0.58 l/t FM 0.45 l/t FM 22.7 %
    Engine speed 2,038 rpm 1,707 rpm
  average throughput (128.8 t/h) Fuel con-
0.70 l/t FM 0.50 l/t FM 29.2 %
    Engine speed 2,101 rpm 1,714 rpm
  low throughput (106.6 t/h) Fuel con-
0.76 l/t FM 0.56 l/t FM 27.1 %
    Engine speed 2,097 rpm 1,730 rpm
Permanent pasture average throughput (118.5 t/h) Fuel con-
0.82 l/t FM 0.77 l/t FM 0.61 l/t FM 6.6 % 25.1 %
    Engine speed 2,100 rpm 1,982 rpm 1,711 rpm
  low throughput (102.0 t/h) Fuel con-
0.88 l/t FM 0.82 l/t FM 0.69 l/t FM 7.3 % 22.2 %
    Engine speed 2,100 rpm 2,026 rpm 1,746 rpm

FR 650 test results in Lucerne with ECO Mode off vs ECO Mode low with reduced engine speed (1,850-1,700 rpm)

Figure 8 shows fuel consumption in l/t fresh matter and at various throughput levels. The chop length was set to 20 mm. When throughput was high, the forager consumed approx. 23 % less fuel (l/t) than when ECO Mode was disabled. The saving potential increases to up to 29 % when throughput is average or low. When the engine management system was activated on the new FR 650, fuel consumption dropped to a degree that was clearly felt in field operation; and this applied to all throughput levels tested. Fuel savings were biggest in low yielding crops and at low throughputs. FR 650 test results in permanent pasture, ECO Mode off (at 2,100 rpm) vs ECO Mode high (2,100-1,950 rpm) vs ECO Mode low (1,850-1,700 rpm).


FR 650 test results in permanent pasture, ECO Mode off (at 2,100 rpm) vs ECO Mode high (2,100-1,950 rpm) vs ECO Mode low (1,850-1,700 rpm)

The test results in permanent pasture (figure 9) confirm the results in Lucerne. Consumption dropped by up to 25 % over the disabled ECO Mode. Consumption dropped by up to 7 % when the machine was in ECO Mode and operating at higher engine speeds (2,100-1,950 rpm). The great difference between 'ECO Mode off' and 'ECO Mode low' at reduced engine speed are mainly attributed to the new engine characteristics and overall machine efficiency. These benefits become clearly evident on the headland where 'ECO Mode low' was able to achieve an approx. 24 % drop in fuel consumption in l/h when doing the headland turn at 10 km/h over ECO Mode disabled (Figure 10). Achieving throughputs at reasonable levels and harvesting more than a total of 250 t while chopping at 20 mm LOCs, the FR 650 performed in a represen­tative measurement which confirms the results.


Controlled by a new engine management system, the FR 650 Tier 4f engine achieves fuel savings of 22 % to 29 % in l/t of fresh matter when set to 'ECO Mode low' and operating at speeds around 1,700 rpm (chop length set to 20 mm). These percentages relate to consumption levels achieved with ECO Mode disabled. In 'ECO Mode high' the engine's consumption dropped between 6 % and 7 % when operating in the 1,950 rpm and 2,100 rpm speed range. The ECO Mode setting achieves further savings during headland turns where consumption dropped by 24 % in l/h in the tests. AdBlue consumption accounts for about 8 % of the fuel consumption rate. Overall, the new engine management system and a new  cab have led to a better machine efficiency on the FR 650. The driving experience confirms that the FR 650 Tier 4f engine features better characteristics – a constant output within the relevant engine speed range.

Manufacturer and applicant

Manufacturer and applicant:
CNH Industrial Belgium N.V.
Leon Claeysstraat 3a
8210 Zedelgem

Test Execution

DLG e.V.,
Test Center
Technology and Farm Inputs,
Max-Eyth-Weg 1,
64823 Groß-Umstadt

DLG Testing Framework
DLG-APPROVED Test  „Function Test on corn and grass harvesting“

On-farm equipment

Project manager
Dr. Ulrich Rubenschuh

Test engineer(s)
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Johannes Speer  *

* Reporting engineer


DLG TestService GmbH - Groß-Umstadt location • Max-Eyth-Weg 1 64823 Groß-Umstadt Germany • Tel.: +49(0)69 24 788-611 •