The Nebraska Tractor Test Law came about after the claims of power and performance made by manufacturers were getting out of hand and a lot of farmers buying (expensive) tractors were disappointed by the performance. Other tractor testing events (trials) had take place elsewhere, but the Nebraska Tractor Test Law required every model sold in the state to be tested by State testers (to a set list of test procedures) and the results to be published.

Early Tests (Trials)Edit

Winnipeg - Canada 1908-1912Edit

The Canadians had a series of tractor tests in Winnipeg from 1908 till 1912/14.

Participants (some)

England 1910, 1919 and 1930 Edit


The British held trials in 1910. And the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also held trials in Lincolnshire in 1919. A representative collection of the early tractor models present in 1919 was gathered in 2009 at the Carrington Steam and Tractor Rally for the 90th anniversary of the trials.


The "World Tractor Trials" were held in Oxford in 1930.

The Participating makes included (some);[1]

France 1920Edit

The French also held test at Roquencourt in 1920. The tests were government sponsored, and part of a drive to mechanisation of agriculture. Later tests held at Chantres had 116 entrants from 46 manufacturers from around the world.

History of Nebraska trialsEdit

The Nebraska tractor testing law had its roots from 1918 when a Polk County, Nebraska farmer William. F. Crozier purchased a 1909 Ford B Tractor (not the Ford Motor Co.) and a Bull tractor, both of which he was disappointed in the performance of. Crozier then worked with Nebraska State Senator Charles Warner to help establish the law, requiring the state of Nebraska to test all tractors to be sold within the state to ensure that their performance lived up to advertised claims.2 The Waterloo Boy tractor was the first to successfully complete the testing process in 1920.3

Since 1919, the state continues to test tractors to ensure reliability standards. The testing facility and test track themselves are located immediately west of the Lester F. Larsen Tractor Museum in Nebraska and the present site of the museum was previously used as a testing garage until a larger more capable facility was constructed. The tests are conducted by the University of Nebraska on a custom built site that has recently been upgraded.[2]

The TestsEdit

They tested the performance of a range of features on the tractors including;

  • Power (at the engine and drawbar)
  • Fuel consumption (often used to claim costs lower running costs than a horse in early sales literature).
  • Efficiency
  • The work rates.

The Law required manufacturers to publish all (or non) of the results of a test and not just pick good items out so a fairer comparison can be made.

  • Test summary reports are published annually - summary tables - down loadable PDF
  • Test reports post 1999 on line - Test reports - PDFs

List of testsEdit

Current testingEdit

The Nebraska testing still continues for modern and old tractors.

Other testing till recently in the UK the research institute at SILSOE undertook testing and development work into new techniques and mechanisation. Some of the work has passed to MIRA. But as the UK tractor making industry has declined most testing is now based in Europe.

Some portable Dynometers are used for localised testing and checking in service tractors performance (and tuning then up).

See alsoEdit

References / sourcesEdit

External linksEdit

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