UK Takes 2nd in International Tractor Competition

LEXINGTON, Ky., (July 13, 2011) – University of Kentucky College of Agriculture students recently claimed high honors in an international quarter-scale tractor competition in Peoria, Ill.

The team, made up of undergraduate students, entered a quarter-scale tractor they designed and built with oversight from their faculty advisers. It was UK’s 13th-straight entry in the 14-year-old competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. The team took second place overall and brought home first overall in the design portion of the competition.

Team members were Jordan Cook, Mt. Vernon; Chance Corum, Lewisburg; John Evans and Silas Gray, Lexington; Nick Rhea, Franklin and Andy Watson, Flemingsburg. Faculty advisors were Scott Shearer, Tim Smith and Carl King.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with students over the past 13 years to field entries to ASABE’s Quarter-Scale Tractor Design Competition,” Shearer said. “UK has a long tradition of designing, building and testing highly competitive pulling tractors.”

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers describes the event as a competition that provides university students with a "360-degree" design experience, unique among collegiate vehicle-design competitions, in which they must build a tractor from the ground up, documenting their market research, testing and development; presenting their design to a mock corporate management team; and demonstrating performance in a live tractor pull. Each team is supplied a 16-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of tires; they are responsible for acquiring all other components of their machines. All tractors run on a 10-percent ethanol fuel blend.

“Consistently doing well at this competition motivates the team to continue to improve and build a more competitive tractor each year,” said Christina Lyvers, former team member, now graduate adviser. “Team members feel it is their duty to learn as much as possible, build the best tractor and to continue the Wildcat pulling legacy.”

Features of the 2011 UK entry included a 31 horsepower Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engine, continuously variable transmission, Trakside—quick-change transaxle, and on-board, radio-transmitted data acquisition.

“Participating in the competition allows us as students to learn how to work in a group on an engineering design project,” said team member Andy Watson. “We were also able to learn all of the different aspects of a project from design to production. I think having the hands-on experience is going to be very valuable in my future career.”

Team members were not all BAE majors, and while designing this year’s entry taught them a lot about engineering, it also had value in other areas.

“Being a part of this team is not just for engineering students,” said Jordan Cook. "As an agricultural economics student, I was able to help the team with the marketing and cost analysis sections of the competition. Being on a design team has helped me to understand better the design process used by engineers and the thinking behind the designs. In the future this kind of knowledge can help me to be able to more successfully market products in industry.”

“Once again, our students have outdone themselves,” Shearer said. “They were excellent ambassadors of the university and should be proud of their professionalism and deportment. I hope this year’s team will look back on the 2011 competition with fond memories of the camaraderie and teamwork that evolved. I know I will.”

Corporate sponsors for the competition were AGCO, Briggs & Stratton, Case IH, Deere & Company, New Holland, SolidWorks and Titan International. Additional support is provided by Campbell Scientific, Inc., GSI Grain Systems, Caterpillar, Katie McDonald Photography, Claas, RCI Engineering, Advanced Technology Services, Central City Scale, igus Inc., Miller Electric Manufacturing, Star Equipment, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Holy Cow Motorsports, Walz Scale, Midwest Super Cub, Birkey’s Farm Store, and Kelly Sauder Rupper.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers is a professional and technical organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. Members are consultants, managers and others who have the training and experience to understand the interrelationships between technology and living systems. Founded in 1907 and headquartered in St Joseph, Mich., the society comprises 9,000 members from more than 100 countries.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Aimee Nielson, (859) 257-7707; Carl Nathe, (859) 257-3200.