Ag Technology & Mechanics

2017 Theme:  Material Handling Systems

Email from the Superintendent - 11/18/16



Dan Stehlik
Agricultural Mechanics Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
404 E. 7th St.
Curtis, NE  69025-9525

 Doug Smith

Event Information

Location:  Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska (Loading Dock, north side)

School teams will be divided into two groups. Teams should plan to arrive and register not more than 30 minutes prior to start time and not less than 5 minutes prior to start time. Each section should be completed within 2 hours and 45 minutes, start to finish.

Section I, including teams from Districts 7-12 will start promptly at 9:30 a.m.

Section II, including teams from Districts 1-6 will start promptly at 1:00 p.m.

Note: Contestants will receive a school number, ie: 1-50, and an indvividual number, ie:  A, B, C, D. (example 32A)

Approximately 100 students will be in each 2.5 hour time period allotted to the event. (2 main groups). Individuals will be divided for 6 of the activities and rotate every 15 minutes. (Approximately 15 contestants will begin at each activity table.)

Every team will be together for one 25-30 minute activity. We will start with the first 5 school numbers (1-5) at the team activity and the rest of the contestants divided among individual areas. Every second rotation will bring the next 5 school numbers (6-10, etc.) to the team activity. After the team activity, students will return to their next individual rotation area from where they left off.

Agricultural Technology and Mechanics Events:

Individual Events: 

Each team member will rotate through 6 individual activities with a maximum time of 15 minutes for each activity. Each individual team member will receive a maximum individual score of 50 points per station with a total individual score of 300 points. Individual activities are listed as follows:

  1. A small gas engine identification practicum of tools and, parts with a few micrometer measurements.
  2. A 25 question test over small gas engines and theory.
  3. Wiring a single pole switch circuit to a light and outlet. (A 1' by 2' board will be provided with switch and lamp boxes pre-attached and required lengths of wire pre-cut. A switch, a light fixture, an outlet, and wire nuts will be available. Competitors would strip the insulation to the correct length and attach the wires to the devices for the competition. The devices will not have to be tightened or grounded to the boxes, rather left out to check correct procedures. Sixteen boards will be laid out with 8 extra available during each rotation to provide enough ready to use for each group. Completed boards will be replaced with blanks, scored, and 'reset' after each rotation. A diagram will be provided at the activity.
  4. A 25 question test over basic electrical terms, safety, etc.
  5. A forklift  to identify 10-25  basic parts and safety decals.
  6. A 25 question test to find specifications from a forklift operator's manual. (Recommended tire pressure, load capacity, safety protocols, travel speed, etc.) Operator manuals, or copies, will be provided at the activity.

Team Activity: 

All four team members from each team will work together and be evaluated as a team while solving complex, multi-system agricultural problems. The problem scenario is presented to the team on the day of the event and members utilize the materials and equipment provided to undertake and prepare a solution to the problem. Teams organize themselves, assigning duties and completing tasks together or separately depending on individual skills and abilities. Each team receives a maximum score of 150 points.

Registration Fee

There will be a $40 registration fee per team participating in the State Agricultural Technology and Mechanics Event. If there are dollars left over after all expenses are paid, NCTA will keep the extra in a separate auxiliary account managed and used to fund the event in future years.

To help with school billing, the fee will be included in the invoice with the rest of CDEs to UNL and fees will later be transferred to NCTA

Required Supplies/Safety and Equipment

Everyone will be given a safety briefing during orientation. Please observe all safety rules, and if you see something that doesn't look safe; let someone know. Teams will need to bring the following items with them:

  1. #2 pencils per person
  2. Safety glasses per person
  3. Calculator (preferably a scientific calculator)
  4. Wire strippers
  5. Flat screwdriver
  6. Phillips screwdriver
  7. Needle nose pliers
  8. Diagonal Cutters

Programmable calculators will not be allowed.

Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices:

Cell phones, pagers, or any hand held electronic communication device will not be allowed in the Exhibition Hall or the Beef Pit area. If you bring those devices with you, leave them on the bus until the event is complete. Participants who access personal electronic communication devices during the event will be disqualified.

Team Structure

All Agricultural Technology and Mechanics Teams competing in the Nebraska State Event will consist of four (4) team members.


Individual Scoring:

Individual Activities (6 at 50 points each).....300
Total Possible Individual Score......................300 points

Team Scoring:

Total of top 3 of 4 individual activities.....900
Team Activity............................................150
Total Possible Team Score........................1050 points


Based on individual scores in the following order:

  1. Machinery, Equipment, Industry, and Marketing Systems
  2. Energy Systems
  3. Structural Systems
  4. Environmental and Natural Resource Systems

References/Study Information

Event Related Competencies:  the following is a list of competencies that may be tested as part of the Nebraska State FFA Agricultural Technology and Mechanics Event.

Machinery / Equipment Systems Competencies-Problem Solving:

  1. Identify safe machinery operation practices for field and highway conditions.
  2. Identify the recommended service and maintenance operations from the operator's manual.
  3. Identify functions of machinery components
  4. Identify parts and functions of hydraulic systems
  5. Prepare machinery for storage.
  6. Explain principles of machinery management.
  7. Describe functions of chemical application, harvesting, materials handling, processing, planting, seeding and tillage equipment.
  8. Identify safe-adjustment [level] on power equipment.
  9. Identify pipe, valves and fittings by type.
  10. Identify repair procedures and techniques.
  11. Select repair material needed for specific jobs.
  12. Match tractors to implement.


  1. Check and adjust driveline components.
  2. Adjust equipment hitches and drives.
  3. Adjust and/or calibrate chemical application, seeding, fertilizing, harvesting, processing and materials handling machinery.
  4. Install, operate, maintain, adjust and evaluate machine systems.
  5. Inflate tires to proper air pressure.
  6. Adjust equipment for field and crop conditions
  7. Connect flare, compression, flat-face or other types of specialized fittings.
  8. Select tools and materials for specific repair jobs.
  9. Select and use appropriate safety equipment.
  10. Identify safe machinery operation practices for field and highway conditions.
  11. Identify the recommended service and maintenance operations from the operator's manual.
  12. Describe how to repair a specific component or system.
  13. Select fuels, lubricants, hydraulic fluids and coolants for proper operation.
  14. Identify the function and operating principles of clutches, transmissions, control devices and brakes.
  15. Explain and describe principles of power transmission.
  16. Identify the parts and functions of electrical, hydraulic, lubrication, cooling, governor and fuel systems.
  17. Select proper ballast for machinery weighting.
  18. Conduct a pre-operation inspection of a tractor or implement.
  19. Start, stop and operate machinery/engines.
  20. Perform recommended periodic service jobs (as found in operator's manuals).
  21. Test and service cooling systems.
  22. Make hitch and PTO adjustments to the implement.
  23. Match tractors to implements.

Electrical Systems Competencies- Problem Solving:

  1. Interpret horsepower, torque and other performance criteria.
  2. Use appropriate standards for agricultural applications, including the National Electrical Code (NEC), Electrical Testing Laboratory (ETL), Factory Mutual, Underwriters Laboratory(UL), Canadian Standard Association (CSA) and/or OSHA standards.
  3. Plan safe electrical circuits.
  4. Select conductor type and size for specific applications.
  5. Calculate voltage drop.
  6. Determine electrical power requirements.
  7. Identify the characteristics of single and three-phase circuits.
  8. Plan and evaluate proper grounding systems and ground-fault protection.
  9. Determine volt, amp and ohm relationships (Ohm's and other application laws).
  10. Select motors based upon type of application.
  11. Interpret electric motor nameplate data.
  12. Identify electric motors and motor parts.
  13. Identify methods of providing electric motor protection.
  14. Interpret power (horsepower, kilowatt), power factor, torque and other motor selection criteria.
  15. Select controls for electrical applications.
  16. Use low-voltage electrical control equipment.
  17. Identify and select devices for automated systems.


  1. Connect electrical motor drives.
  2. Use electrical test instruments such as: VOA (volt-ohm-amp)-meter, DMM (digital multi-meter) and tachometer.
  3. Test and troubleshoot electronic sensing devices.
  4. Remove, service and replace electrical components.
  5. Read schematics and sketch wiring circuits.
  6. Attach conductors to terminals.
  7. Install plugs and cord connector bodies.
  8. Make proper splices and connections.
  9. Troubleshoot electrical circuits using proper testing equipment and measuring devices.
  10. Measure electrical circuits for voltage, amperage, resistance and wattage.
  11. Install service entrance for single phase 120/240V service or three-phase power.
  12. Wire 120/240V service outlets.
  13. Install electrical circuits, switching devices and appliances.
  14. Install ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  15. Troubleshoot electric motor circuits using proper testing equipment.
  16. Change the direction of electric or hydraulic motor rotation.
  17. Disassemble and reassemble an electric motor.
  18. Service and lubricate electric motor.
  19. Check the running amperage and voltage of a motor.
  20. Connect electric motor controls.

Energy Systems Competencies-Problem Solving:

  1. Interpret horsepower, torque and other power measurement criteria.
  2. Identify and use OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and/or Nebraska Tractor Test results.
  3. Interpret metric units in measurements.
  4. Describe operating principles of two-stroke and four-stroke spark or compression ignition engines.
  5. Evaluate engine performance under load and no-load operation.
  6. Determine hydraulic cylinder force and speed.
  7. Interpret wiring diagrams.
  8. Use safe wiring practices for specific applications.
  9. Select standby power generators and isolation equipment for specific applications.
  10. Match tractors to implements.
  11. Select energy efficient equipment and materials.
  12. Identify energy conservation measures to reduce costs and operation(s).
  13. Determine energy consumption and cost savings of alternatives.


  1. Use measuring tools and test instruments such as: micrometer and telescoping gauges, dial indicator, compression tester, torque wrench, VOA (volt-ohm-amp) meter, DMM (digital multi-meter), timing devices, tachometer and dynamometer for determining test procedures.
  2. Test and troubleshoot electronic sensing devices.
  3. Remove, service and replace electrical components.
  4. Test and service batteries, charging, lighting, warning and cranking systems.
  5. Operate engine and adjust or check ignition timing, engine speed and carburetor adjustments.
  6. Measure energy output from or consumption of devices and cost savings of alternatives.

Environmental and Natural Resources Systems Competencies-Problem Solving:

  1. Identify environmental problems in livestock and crop handling and processing buildings.
  2. Read and interpret maps including conservation, land use, soils, topographic, aerial and remote sensing and geological surveys.
  3. Describe principles involved in appropriate conservation and/or land use planning.
  4. Read legal land descriptions.
  5. Determine land areas.
  6. Determine the difference in elevation of two or more points.
  7. Determine cuts, fills, cut/fill ratios and volumes.
  8. Describe the characteristics of a profile-leveling plot.
  9. Determine types of vegetative cover and mulch for erosion stabilization.
  10. Determine and select appropriate cultural tillage or mechanical practices of equipment for specific soil type and residue management.
  11. Determine practices to improve or maintain water quality and recharge.
  12. Determine appropriate types, locations and uses of erosion and sedimentation control basins.
  13. Describe surface and subsurface drainage and irrigation techniques.
  14. Calculate subsurface drainage and irrigation requirements.
  15. Determine water needs.
  16. Select irrigation systems for specific conditions.
  17. Select irrigation equipment and techniques.
  18. Determine soil moisture and temperature.


  1. Utilize GPS system components.
  2. Set up and level the surveying instrument.
  3. Take rod readings.
  4. Measure distance with tape and/or instruments.
  5. Lay out corners using instruments.
  6. Determine direction by use of a compass.
  7. Record field notes for differential, profile and topographic leveling.
  8. Lay out contour lines.
  9. Lay out grade stakes for cut/fills.
  10. Determine soil types and select appropriate structures or practices.
  11. Use automatic leveling and laser equipment.
  12. Use water-testing equipment.
  13. Lay out and map contour lines.
  14. Measure crop residue on the land.
  15. Determine soil losses.
  16. Measure cross-sectional areas of a grass waterway, drainage ditch and earthen embankment.
  17. Determine field slope and length.
  18. Identify soil limitations and determine the effects on land use.
  19. Assemble turf irrigation equipment.
  20. Determine soil moisture.
  21. Estimate soil permeability and infiltration rates.
  22. Determine and compare evaporation losses.
  23. Install drainage systems or components.
  24. Lay out contour ditches, basins, borders, contour levees, furrow and corrugation systems for irrigation.
  25. Lay out and assemble solid-set, lateral move, center-pivot and traveling gun irrigation systems and components.
  26. Lay out and assemble trickle and drip irrigation systems or components including mainlines, lateral lines, control devices, valves, pressure regulators, gauges and filters.
  27. Install components of irrigation systems for specific applications.
  28. Determine delivery rates of pumps.
  29. Determine percent of slope or grade.

Structures Systems Competencies-Problem Solving:

  1. Select and evaluate building sites.
  2. Determine the size, specifications and layout of building.
  3. Select appropriate framing, siding, roofing, insulation and vapor barrier materials.
  4. Develop a bill of materials.
  5. Interpret plans and working drawings.
  6. Select appropriate structural components of buildings.
  7. Select hand, electric and pneumatic tools.
  8. Estimate handling materials, cost and construction time.
  9. Interpret lumber and manufactured wood product grade stamps.
  10. Select structural components for each alternative construction style.
  11. Select arc welding machines and accessories.
  12. Read drawings and welding symbols.
  13. Control distortion in arc welding.
  14. Select appropriate electrodes and wires.
  15. Select hard surfacing alloys.
  16. Prepare materials and equipment for arc welding.
  17. Test weld quality and strength.
  18. Select shielding gases.
  19. Select gas welding, plasma arc and cutting equipment and supplies.
  20. Assemble gas welding, plasma arc and cutting equipment.
  21. Check equipment for leaks.
  22. Select welding rods and fluxes.
  23. Start-up and shut down of welding equipment.
  24. Read metal working plans and prints.
  25. Calculate materials costs.


  1. Lay out a building foundation.
  2. Identify, select and apply construction fasteners.
  3. Use and maintain hand, electric and pneumatic tools and measuring instruments for building construction.
  4. Lay out, cut and construct structural components.
  5. Construct forms.
  6. Identify different types of metals.
  7. Layout and prepare metal for arc welding.
  8. Recommend metals based on load bearing strength.
  9. Weld basic joints in all positions.
  10. Adjust cutting machines for different metals, joints and thickness.
  11. Start up and shut down for welding equipment.
  12. Light and adjust the torch flame for specific welding or cutting operations.
  13. Layout and prepare metal for welding or cutting.
  14. Estimate and calculate welding materials costs.
  15. Adjust machines for various types of thickness of metal.
  16. Identify the type of metals used in agricultural instruction.
  17. Solder electrical connections.
  18. Operate power tools such as nibblers, drills and saws.
  19. Operate hand tools such as saws and files.
  20. Select appropriate metals for projects (strength).

General Cluster Skills:

  1. Strong interpersonal communication abilities.
  2. Knowledge combined with leadership qualities and the ability to delegate responsibilities.
  3. People skills to deal with customers, the public and large groups.
  4. Identify and interpret the correct resources to make an educated decision.
  5. Understand and apply principles of mathematics, economics, biology and physics.
  6. Have a high level of common sense, logic and critical thinking skills.
  7. Be an independent thinker with an analytical mind.
  8. Ability to understand and follow detailed instruction - written and oral.
  9. Motivated to learn from various methods of instruction.
  10. Remain literate in current technologies - computers, electronics, mechanical systems, etc.
  11. Know how to calculate cost per units, per hour, per bushel, per acre, etc.
  12. Know how to estimate value of equipment and recommend future buying decisions.
  13. Know how to use technology to eliminate waste of time and resources.
  14. Know about computer hardware, software, Internet, etc.
  15. Know how to be productive with time, money and people.
  16. Be knowledgeable with global agriculture - encompassing planning, production, marketing and finance.
  17. Understand how cash flow is critical for business planning and operation.
  18. Know how to measure and estimate costs and develop plans for business/industry improvements.
  19. Be able to write annual goals with specific objectives and measurement tools for review.
  20. Have skills in business operations and management.
  21. Have experience with general accounting and cash flow management.
  22. Be able to effectively implement the use of technology in the workplace.
  23. Understand how to use a systematic approach to diagnose equipment problems.
  24. Know how to service and maintain equipment so that productivity can be maintained.
  25. Understand on-board computerized systems that monitor, test, store and report equipment operation.
  26. Be familiar with computerized recognition of crop productivity and quality, field conditions and pests.
  27. Understand electrical circuits - amperage, watts, voltage, resistance and transistors.
  28. Understand hydraulic system operation - flow, resistance and temperature.
  29. Understand mechanical system operation - mechanical advantage, material specifications and gear design.
  30. Have experience in reading schematics, replacing components - including control modules.
  31. Know how to diagnose electrical, computer, mechanical and hydraulic systems.
  32. Have experience in analyzing mechanical system failures.
  33. Have experience with CAD software and know how to produce mechanical drawings.