The University of Nebraska–Lincoln quarter-scale tractor A-Team took top honors at the International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition held May 30-June 2 in Peoria, IL. The competition brought 24 collegiate teams from the United States, Canada and Israel together to test their skills at the event hosted by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).
The competition is unique among student engineering-design contests, providing a realistic 360-degree workplace experience. Teams are given a 31-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires. The design and build of the tractor is up to each team and is tested and perfected over the course of a year.
In advance of the competition, teams must submit a written design report. Onsite, they must sell their design, in a formal presentation to industry experts playing the role of a corporate management team. Finally, machines are put to the test in three performance events; three tractor pulls, a maneuverability course and a durability course. Industry leaders judge each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, maneuverability, safety, sound level and ergonomics.
The intense competition is extremely helpful to tractor team members, many of whom are agricultural engineering majors, according to Roger Hoy, professor in biological systems engineering and tractor team advisor.
“The students demonstrated that they can successfully take classroom lessons and apply them to real-world engineering problems,” said Hoy. “The students that participated on quarter-scale this year have excellent character, work ethic and values.”
Nebraska’s agricultural engineering program is one of the nation’s top programs that emphasizes hands-on applications in and out of the classroom, such as participating in the quarter-scale tractor competition.
Nebraska has consistently performed well since the inception of the competition in 1998. This is the second win for the A-Team, which is made up of juniors and seniors. The X-Team, made up of freshmen and sophomores, also fared well at the competition, placing second overall in their division.
Along with Hoy, Joe Luck, associate professor of biological systems engineering, also serves as a team advisor.
Team members, listed by hometown are:
BEATRICE: Nathan Lancaster
BLOOMFIELD: Reece McFarland
BROKEN BOW: Court Kaelin
EAGLE: Jonah Bolin (A-Team captain), Noah Bolin (A-Team captain)
GRANT: Zak Kurkowski (A-Team captain), Jaci Kurkowski
LINCOLN: Seth Brunkhorst, Brett Halleen
MADISON: John Freudenburg
NORFOLK: Grant Gaspers
OAKLAND: Olivia Bures, Josh King
ORD: Devon Vancura (A-Team captain)
STANTON: Alex Schellpeper (X-Team captain)
ST. PAUL: Rylan Dvorak
LODI, CA: Nick Engle
O’FALLON, IL: Mark Dean (X-Team captain)