Monday, 17 June 2013 12:02

Québec Regional News - Spring 2013

Université Laval ¼ Scale Tractor Team Results

The International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Competition was held in Peoria, Illinois, from May 30 to June 2 2013. A total of 29 teams competed in various events including tractor pulling, design judging, written design, maneuverability and team presentation. 

ULtrac team proudly represented Université Laval and the Faculté des sciences de l'agriculture et de l'alimentation with a 4th overall rank! They ranked first for the written design report and for the safety design judging as well. Kansas State University, University of Kentucky and Modesto Junior College finished in first, second and third position respectively. 

ULtrac detailed results:

Overall: 4th
Written design: 1st
Team presentation: 6th
Tractor pull: 10th
Maneuvreability: 5th
Design judging: 4th
  Safety: 1st
  Serviciability: 7th
  Ergonomics: 5th
  Test and Development: 3rd
  Sound: 14th


ULtrac team would like to thank its sponsors: Irrigation Norco, FSAA, Desharnais Service & Pneus, AGETAAC, Anderson, EBM Laser, Soucy Track, Philippe Savoie, CV-Tech, Ulaval, FQRNT, AIAQ, FÉRIQUE, DYNACO, Canimex, Fondation U.Laval (fall 11), VRE, FIÉ, REGAAUL, Équipements Jocelyn Frenette, AFFI, Engrenage Provincial, NSK, Hayes Brake, Isaac Instrument, Fibre lister, PR Distribution

Team members: Danik Sarrazin, François Blais, Jean-Gabriel Turgeon, Vincent Rodrigue, Guillaume Sauvageau, Charles St-Arnaud, Guillaume Goulet, Hubert Soucy, Sylvain Champagne, Justine Beaulieu Gagné, Alexandre Porlier, Alexandre Houle, Francis Côté, Francis Désaulnier,  Cédric St-Pierre, Louis Bourdage, Raphael Soucy, Mary-lou Touga


universite laval


CSBE AGM and Technical Conference

Saskatchewan CSBE members helped organize the CSBE AGM and Technical Conference which will be held at the University of Saskatchewan July 7 – 11, 2013. The theme was Interdisciplinary Engineering: Working together to develop sustainable solutions in agriculture and biosystems and the event showcased successful collaborations between industry and academia. The conference included workshops, technical tours and networking events such as an opening reception, BBQ and banquet. The technical program included over 80 oral presentations and over 30 poster presentations.

Visit the website for more information.

U of S ¼ Scale Tractor Team Highlights

university of saskatchewan

The 16th Annual International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Tractor Design Competition was held May 30 to June 2 in Peoria, Illinois.

The team from the University of Saskatchewan again impressed the industry judges and representatives with top finishes in:

  • Campbell Scientific Award for best use of test methods and data acquisition (1st)
  • Design Judging (by 25 industry engineers) (3rd overall)
    • Serviceability (5th)
    • Safety (3rd)
    • Ergonomics (3rd)
    • Test and Development (3rd)
    • Sound (3rd)
    • Maneuverability (3rd – top two tied for 1st)
    • Team Presentation (4th)

Based on the team’s success over the years, the team secured strategic sponsorship agreements with CNH, Bourgault, Brandt, Kramer, strong support from APEGS, as well as support from Macdon, Hitachi, John Deere and others.


CBE New Graduates

During the 2013 Spring Convocation, Elizabeth George received a M.Sc. in Biological Engineering while Ka Po Catherine Hui and Majid Soleimani Baghsorkhi received a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering. Six undergraduates received their B.Sc. in Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering (Allison Graham, Sheldon Gregoire, Burt Lozinsky, Carolyn Osborn, Beverly Rodowski and Shaun Turner). Beverly Rodowski was the recipient of the Oliver L. Symes Memorial Award and Carolyn Osborne earned the Clinton L. Armstrong Memorial Award. 

The Department of Biosystems Engineering has admitted 35 new undergraduate students to the Biosystems Engineering program to start the 2012-2013 academic year.

Several staff members have reached milestones in terms of service to the University of Manitoba. David Levin – 5 years; Jason Morrison – 5 years; Nazim Cicek – 10 years; Derek Inglis – 10 years; and Robert Lavallee – 30 years.

Dr.Stefan Cenkowski was awarded the “2012 CSBE Fellow”, and Dr.Jitendra Paliwal was recognized with the “Young Engineer of the year” award for their outstanding contributions to the agricultural, food and biological engineering at the CSBE/SCGAB-NABEC Joint Conference,Orillia,ON.

Idris Adelakun, M.Sc. student in Biosystems Engineering, received a First Place Poster Competition Award at the CSBE/SCGAB-NABEC Joint Conference, Orillia, ON for the poster entitled "Design of a Reusable Multilevel-TDR Probe for Measuring Soil Water Content."

Nathan Bartel, Jayaru Pallimulla Geeganage, Stacey Hildebrand, Vanessa Krahn, Amy La won “Undergraduate design project award”, Amy La was awarded with the “Best undergraduate thesis” and Mahesh Sivakumar won “Best Graduate thesis award” at the CSBE/SCGAB-NABEC Joint Conference,Orillia,ON.

 Idris Adelakun, M.Sc student in Biosystems Engineering, received a Second Place Poster Competition Award at the Manitoba Soil Science Society Annual General Meeting inWinnipeg,MB on February 3 for the poster entitled "Design of a Multilevel Time Domain Reflectometry Probe for Measuring Soil Water Content at Different Depths." 

“ASABE ¼ Scale Tractor Competition” – Report from the University of Manitoba’s team

The first day, Thursday, was hectic. It rained with cold gusty winds all day. Thank goodness we had the awning and tent and a few tarps to help keep a little dry. But the only way you could warm up was under the hand dryers in the washroom. Most days we stayed at the grounds from around 7am until 10pm. We missed tech'ing in our original time slot in order to finish the tractor for tech'ing first thing Friday morning.

Friday was better. More sunshine. Got through tech with few issues. And design judging and maneuverability went well.

Saturday we did some practice pulls and ended up twisting our stainless steel frame during the actual unballasted pull. So Saturday evening we stayed at the grounds until 11pm reinforcing the frame. Thank goodness we had a little wiggle room for weight. We also helped out a couple other teams, and thank goodness we did because they were able to participate in the ballasted pulls on Sunday.

Sunday we did both ballasted pulls. And the "guts" pull, which means you put as much weight and ballast on and try to break the tractor. We ended up twisting the frame so much that it sat on the front axle, and we seemed to have challenged our front differential as it has been clicking ever since.

Overall we placed 12th out of 27 registered teams. We placed 10th in the written report an improvement from last year but still an area we hope to improve on.  We placed 22nd in the presentation. Obviously that is the area requires a considerable work next year.  We placed 13th in design judging and 7th in maneuverability (a significant improvement from last year when we were eliminated for going over the time limit).  The best result was 4th in the pulls. 


Published in Manitoba Regional News

There are 11 Biosystems engineering students who received their B.Sc. degrees at the spring convocation. Congratulations to Stacey Hildebrand, Jean-Christophe Habeck, Amy La, Chidinma Anyanwu, Nathan Bartel, Ellen Whitmore, Jelveh Jalali, Kyueng Youn, Arshdeep Juneja, Darren Hart and Brian Stasynec. Stacey Hildebrand is the recipient of the Program Medal in Biosystems Engineering and the Biosystems Engineering Undergraduate Thesis Award. In terms of graduate students, David Orchard (Advisor: Kris Dick) and Shahnaz Parvin (Advisor: Ying Chen) received M.Sc. degrees and Aravind Mohan Lakhamoorthi (Advisor: Digvir Jayas) received a Ph.D. degree at the May 2012 Convocation.

Members of the ¼ Scale Tractor Team (UMATT) are working frantically to complete their tractor for the upcoming competition in Peoria. Highlights and pictures will be available for the next newsletter.

The CSBE Manitoba Region once again sponsored awards at the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium held April 28th at the University of Manitoba. The recipients of the Biosystems Engineering award were Lisa Huang (grade 9) and Megan Esguerra (grade 10) in the intermediate category with a project entitled “Save your Trash: Re-use for Gas!” and Maggie Wong (grade 7) and Nicholas Langley (grade 8) in the junior category with a project entitled “Egg-Xellent”. A special thanks to Derek Inglis for once again assuming responsibility for organizing judges to enable these awards to be presented.

Instructors in the Department continue to be leaders in the area of education. R. Sri Ranjan loves the latest technology and has found ways to effectively use the iPad in his teaching. An article entitled “The Evolution to iPad as an Effective Technology for Teaching” was published in a bulletin produced by our University Teaching Services. Sri Ranjan also provided a workshop open to instructors from across the campus.

A Department Retreat was held on April 26th at Bridges Golf Club west of Winnipeg. This was a great opportunity for all department staff to provide input into future directions and future initiatives by the Department. Faculty affiliation was a topic that generated interesting discussion. The Department of Biosystems Engineering belongs to the Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences (in terms of budget), however, the undergraduate program is accredited through the Faculty of Engineering. Most members of the Department continue to be satisfied with this “dual citizenship” scenario (some might classify it as a “split personality”!) because it provides us with linkages to two strong faculties.

At the 46th Annual Convention of the Indian Society of Agricultural Engineers (ISAE), held on February 27-29, 2012 at the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India, Dr. Digvir Jayas, Vice-President (Research and International) and Distinguished Professor of the University of Manitoba was inducted as a Fellow of the ISAE for his contributions to global grain storage research and profession of agricultural engineering. At the convention he organized an International Symposium on Grain Storage and made a keynote presentation entitled “Grain storage for food security and safety”.

Linking U of M’s Alternative Village with a community in Honduras

Dr. Kris Dick, Associate Professor, Department of Biosystems Engineering and the director of the Alternative Village at U of M, and fourth-year biosystems engineering student Luis Midence and master’s of biosystems engineering student Jami Carter visited various communities in the regions of Gracias Lempira and Copan Ruinas, Honduras to evaluate whether a program could be established through the Alternative Village to aid in the development of sustainable living in a developing region during this year reading week (February 20 - 24, 2012). The team partnered with World Vision Honduras that has Program Development Areas (PDA) in various parts of the country.

Representatives from two PDAs provided information on the work they had completed in each region, as well as planned work for the future. The team traveled to the communities of El Portillo, Consonlaca and Lanito Verde. As a result of this field trip the Alternative Village will partner with the village of Consonlaca. In February 2013, a group of engineering students will go to work with the team constructing a house. As a part of Dick’s course in alternative building systems students will work on various aspects of the design. A total of six to ten students will be selected each year for multi-year project. Initially the focus will be on engineering but subsequent years the plan is to include agriculture, health and business students.

Published in Manitoba Regional News

L’équipe ULtrac de l’Université Laval, composée d’étudiants des programmes de baccalauréat en génie agroenvironnemental, en agronomie et en agroéconomie de la Faculté des sciences de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation, s’est distinguée une autre fois en se classant parmi les leaders de la compétition internationale annuelle nord-américaine de design de mini-tracteurs, l’International Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, organisée par l’American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). L’équipe était supervisée par le professeur Mohamed Khelifi.

Vingt-sept équipes universitaires, majoritairement américaines, ont pris part à cette compétition qui s’est déroulée du 31 mai au 4 juin 2012 à Peoria, en Illinois, États-Unis. L’équipe ULtrac est très fière d’avoir obtenu la troisième position dans le classement général et de reprendre le titre de meilleure équipe canadienne de cet événement international. La compétition de mini-tracteurs a pour objectif de tester les habiletés de design et de construction des futurs ingénieurs agricoles.

Le mini-tracteur à quatre roues motrices équipé d’un moteur 31 HP Briggs & Stratton et d’un châssis en tôle d’acier entièrement conçu par l’équipe ULtrac a particulièrement attiré l’attention des juges, des ingénieurs œuvrant dans des multinationales comme John Deere, Agco et Caterpillar. L’équipe ULtrac s’est classée en 2e position pour le « design judging » (présentation technique du design), 3e position pour le rapport écrit, 3e position pour la présentation orale et 6e position pour ses performances lors les tirs. Dans le classement général, l’équipe ULtrac arrive en troisième position, derrière les équipes de University of Kentucky et Kansas State University et devant Iowa State University et Penn State University.

L’équipe ULtrac désire remercier ses généreux commanditaires qui ont largement contribué au succès de l’édition 2012 du mini-tracteur.


Fall Convocation at the University of Saskatchewan

Fall Convocation at the University of Saskatchewan was held on October 22, 2011 at TCU Place in downtown Saskatoon. Phani K. Adapa (Thesis: Densification of Selected Agricultural Crop Residues as Feedstock for the Biofuel Industry) and Eric E. Veikle (Thesis: Modeling the Power Requirements of a Rotary Feeding and Cutting System) were awarded Ph.D. degrees. Awarded M.Sc. degree were: 1) Alvin C. Alvarado (Thesis: Control of Hydrogen Sulphide, Amonia and Odour Emissions from Swine Barns using Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles; 2) Patricia D. Lung (Thesis: Anaerobic Digestion for Integrated Ethanol Production); and Crystal D. Rinas (Thesis: Simulated Plume Development and Decommissioning Using the Breakthrough Curves of Five Cations). During this convocation, Chelsey A. Bartlett received her Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering. Congratulations to all graduates!

Update from the University of Saskatchewan Biological Engineering Task Force

The Task Force has started meeting again with representation from within the department, the College of Engineering, and other units on campus. The committee will develop a proposed program based on desired graduate characteristics and attributes and the activities and learning experiences that can help produce those attributes. From there, potential courses will be listed and gaps determined between what is available on campus and what would be proposed. The proposed timeline is to have the "ideal" list of course topics by February, gap analysis between "ideal" and existing in March, and a proposal ready to be distributed to the College in April with a vote by Faculty Council in May.

The executive summary of the Task Force’s Phase One report is below. The recommendations have been received by the Dean, but have not been accepted nor widely discussed in the College at this time.

Ross Welford

Chair Biological Engineering Task Force

Executive Summary of Phase One Report by Task Force (May, 2011)

The Task Force was asked to determine if or how an undergraduate Biological Engineering (“BLE”) program could fit in the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. BLE is a unique discipline that has a foundation in biology in addition to the core analytical tools that are common to all engineering disciplines. This foundation would prepare students to contribute to society in a wide range of applications. After seeking input from a number of sources including within the College, from other engineering programs, from alumni, and through a set of independent market research interviews, the committee recommends that a flexible BLE program with a base of Biology be developed to meet future needs.

With major research institutions and a unique suite of professional academic programs already in place, a BLE program would have a natural fit at the University of Saskatchewan. Within the College, a BLE program could complement all of the existing programs and serve as an effective pathway into post-graduate programs in Biomedical Engineering. Trends are recognized that our energy-based society will become increasingly reliant on bio-based solutions. With predictions that the bioeconomy will continue to grow, the College could be a leader in preparing engineers with a background in biology to benefit society. In order to develop and maintain a critical mass of expertise in BLE, the committee recommends that the Biology base be delivered via a program rather than as a collection of options in other programs.

The vision for an accredited engineering program is based on integrating biology into engineering to produce graduates that will lead in the emerging bio-economy and related fields. Guiding principles for the program have been outlined and intended learning outcomes are described based on the graduate attributes as required by accrediting bodies (Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board, 2010). A concept for the program is described that has Living Systems at its core which refers to the interactions within living systems and the interactions with living systems. The program would not have specific options or streams but would have a broad base that could prepare students to specialize with further study in areas such as Food Availability and Security, Animal and Human Health, Bioresource Production and Utilization, and Sustainable Development within Ecosystems.

In looking toward the future, the Task Force recommends that the College proceed in the development of a BLE program by further defining the curriculum for a BLE program, producing a resource budget for delivering the program, and to consider alternate processes for admitting students into BLE and its other programs to ensure full intake of students. By acting on these recommendations, the College could take a proactive role in preparing future leaders for the upcoming challenges to be solved for society.

The University of Saskatchewan Sled Dogs ¼ Scale Tractor Team is on a roll!

For a second consecutive year, the University of Saskatchewan Sled Dogs have come in 4th place at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International ¼ Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, held annually in Peoria, Illinois. Every year, the Sled Dogs design and build a ¼ scale pulling tractor, following rules outlined by the competition and building on past experiences. While at competition, the Sled Dogs compete against other student teams from across North America, in events ranging from manoeuvrability and sound testing, to static design judging and marketing presentation to the main event; the tractor pulls.

The University of Saskatchewan team, founded in 2002, is composed of students at the U of S in agricultural, mechanical and electrical engineering. All years and disciplines are welcome, and an agricultural background is not required. Senior members design and build a new model to compete with in the A-Team class. Junior members of the team compete with the X-Team tractor; the previous year’s model with at least three major modifications.


The 2011 University of Saskatchewan Sled Dog ¼ Scale Tractor Team with
A-team tractor (left) and X-Team tractor (right)

The 2011 tractor featured a single 31 hp Briggs and Stratton Big Block engine, CVT and transaxle from a John Deere Gator, reduced weight and a bold new look. Its most innovative features included data logging capabilities, which won the team the Campbell Scientific Award at competition, and a dynamic ballast system. The team was able to fine-tune some driveline components to finish 4th in the pulls, an improvement from 6th in 2010. The team also enhanced their writing skills to finish 3rd in the written design report.

The first ever X-team to come from the U of S competed in 2011, and finished 3rd place overall. They modified the 2010 tractor, adding a roll-over protection system (ROPS), electric assist steering and actually improved pulling performance by reducing the number of engines from three 16 hp Briggs and Stratton Vanguards to two. They also blew the competition away with their oral presentation to finish 1st in the category.

The 2012 season is now well underway. The A-Team has a preliminary design nailed down, with plans to start building in the new year. The 2012 tractor will have a lower profile with more stylized body work. Following in the 2011 tractor’s footsteps, power will be coming from a 31 hp Briggs and Stratton engine to feed a CVT/transaxle combination. The X-Team has run a fine-toothed comb over the 2011 tractor looking for ways to improve it and take it to the next level. They have plans to lower the operator platform and hood, relocate the exhaust and air intake, as well as creating the next generation of dynamic ballast.

The ASABE competition has been an annual event for 15 years. It was created by members of the equipment industry who realized that when students graduate, they are lacking many hands-on skills. The competition remains judged by representatives from major industry players including John Deere, Case-New Holland, Caterpillar, AGCO and Briggs and Stratton. The 2012 competition will again be held in Peoria, running form May 31 to June 3, 2012.

For more information on the U of S Sled Dogs, please visit www.quarterscale.usask.ca, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and for more information on the competition, please visit www.asabe.org and search “¼ scale tractor”.


The University of Manitoba’s Quarter Scale Tractor Team is making excellent progress on researching and designing their brand new  2011 tractor.  The 2011 competition will be held in Peoria, IL from June 2-5.  This fall we saw our team grow as new students joined to learn the competition rules and gain some experience.  As the days to competition grow closer, members of the team can be found in the Biosystems Engineering Fabrication Shop every week and every weekend, as final designs are completed and fabrication gets underway.

Published in Manitoba Regional News