July 2, 2010

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 students from the college’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, entered a quarter-scale tractor they designed and built themselves with oversight from their faculty advisors. It was UK’s 12th-straight entry in the 13-year-old competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Team members were Christina Lyvers, Loretto; Andy Watson, Flemingsburg;  Chance Corum, Lewisburg;  Wyatt Brown , Arcanum, Ohio, and Joey and Josh Jackson, both of Salvisa. Faculty advisors were Scott Shearer, Tim Smith and Carl King.

“Participating in the competition allows us as students to learn how to work in a group on an engineering design project,” said Lyvers, the team captain. “We were also able to learn all of the different aspects of a project from design to production.”

“UK’s entry featured extensive use of aluminum to meet weight restrictions, while permitting the students to utilize a four-engine design and a totally redesigned operator interface,” said Shearer, chair of the UK Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. “This year’s tractor proved to be extremely competitive in all judged and performance categories. The students brought home second-place overall and second-place pull performance trophies.”

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. Entrants 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 Titan tires; they are responsible for acquiring all other components of their machines. All tractors run on a 10 percent ethanol fuel blend.

"The level of student participation in this event, from presentations to finished tractors, shows the value of the competition," said Willie Vogt, editorial director, Farm Progress Companies, who served as a judge, announcer and emcee.

Corporate sponsors for the competition were AGCO, Briggs & Stratton, CCI Marketing, CaseIH, Deere & Company, New Holland, SolidWorks, and Titan International. Additional support is provided by Blunier Implement Company, Campbell Scientific, Inc., Caterpillar, Central City Scale, Claas Omaha, GSI Grain Systems, igus Inc., Katie McDonald Photography, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Midwest Super Cub, Miller Electric Manufacturing and Star Equipment.

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.