UNL Tractor Team Wins International Competition

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Nebraska is No. 1 in many different categories when it comes to agriculture. The Cornhusker State leads the nation in beef and beef product exports, commercial red meat production, commercial cattle slaughter, great northern bean production, all cattle on feed as of Jan. 1, 2019, and popcorn production, according to a fact sheet from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Now you can add another No. 1 to the list.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) quarter-scale tractor A-team took home top honors at the International Quarter-Scale Student Design Competition held May 30-June 2 in Peoria, Illinois, according to a UNL news release. The event was hosted by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), and the competition brought 24 collegiate teams from the U.S., Canada and Israel.

The teams are given a 31-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine and 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.

Teams must submit a written design report before the competition. Onsite, they must sell their design in a formal presentation to industry experts playing the role of a corporate management team.

The tractors are put to the test in three performance areas: tractor pulls, a maneuverability course and a durability course. Industry leaders then judge each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, maneuverability, safety, sound level and ergonomics.

Roger Hoy, professor of biological systems engineering and tractor team adviser, said the intense competition is extremely helpful to tractor team members, many of whom are agricultural engineering majors.

"The students demonstrated that they can successfully take classroom lessons and apply them to real-world engineering problems," Hoy said. "The students that participated on quarter-scale this year have excellent character, work ethic and values."

UNL has consistently performed well since the inception of the competition in 1998. UNL'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, according to the news release.

This is the second win for the A-Team, which is made up juniors and seniors. The X-Team, made up freshman 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 adviser.

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, California: Nick Engle
-- O'Fallon, Illinois: Mark Dean (X-Team captain)

To read the entire UNL news release, visit….

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