ASABE to Host 1/4-Scale Tractor Competition

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
ASABE to Host 1/4-Scale Tractor Competition

St Joseph, Michigan, and Peoria, Illinois--Twenty-nine collegiate teams from the US, Canada, India, and Israel will soon be heading to Peoria, Illinois, to compete in the 2018 International 1/4-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. The event will take place May 31–June 3, at the Peoria Expo Gardens. The event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, the competition is unique among student engineering-design contests, providing a realistic 360-degree workplace experience. It is a popular recruiting event for many sponsors, who find among the participants practiced, high-achieving prospects with strong technical, communication and leadership skills honed by competition experience.

Competing teams are given a 31-hp Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires; the tractor is theirs to design and create. A panel of industry experts judges each machine for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, safety, sound level, and ergonomics. Teams also submit a written design report in advance of the competition. 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. 

“Each year, we strive to keep the competition fresh for the students by making adjustments to the events and rules,” says Curtis Thoreson, 2018 competition chair. “This year, the rule adjustments opened up configuration possibilities in the steering system and encouraged a more diverse array of drivetrain designs. We also have three rookie teams competing, which always brings a fresh wave of new methods and ideas to the mix.

Through involvement in the competition, students gain practical experience in the design of drive train systems, tractor performance, manufacturing processes, analysis of tractive forces, weight transfer and strength of materials. They also sharpen critical “soft” skills--communication, leadership, teamwork—as well as gain experience in fundraising and test and development.

“The students routinely amaze us with their creativity and ability to adapt to the challenges we throw at them,” says Thoreson. “This year should be no exception.”

Sponsors of the 2018 competition include: AGCO, Briggs & Stratton, Case IH, Danfoss, John Deere, New Holland Agriculture, Kubota, SolidWorks, Titan, Caterpillar, Campbell Scientific, and Thompson. Also, Katie McDonald Photography, Claas, GSI, and MacDon, as well as Central City Scale, Igus, and Miller. Other supporting sponsors include AC McCartney Farm Equipment, Kelly Sauder Rupiper LLC, Kondex Corp, Precision Planting, RCI Engineering, SJ Smith Co, Star Equipment, and Walz Scale.

ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. Contact Dolores Landeck,, 269/932-7039, for more information about ASABE and the ¼-Scale Tractor Competition.