August 22, 2014

World’s largest tractor makes a stop in northeast Iowa

Northeast Iowa will be home to the world’s largest tractor for the next two-and-a-half months. The white machine built in Montana in 1977 is known as “Big Bud.” It actually looks more like a cross between a semi and a monster truck than a tractor. But, Big Bud was built for field work.

Mike McGill is marketing manager for Heartland Acres, the agricultural exhibition center in Independence that will house Big Bud through July 31. McGill says the giant tractor was built more than three decades ago at a cost of $300,000 for farmers located near Bakersfield, California.

McGill says the farmers needed a tractor with extreme horsepower to deep-plow cotton fields. Big Bud’s 16-cylinder diesel engine has maxed out at 980 horsepower. The tractor measures 27 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 14 feet tall and includes a 1,000 gallon fuel tank.

“When it’s full of fuel, it weighs around 130,000 pounds,” McGill said. “It can pull an 80-foot cultivator and cover 70 acres in about an hour, going about seven miles per hour. So, it’s a monster of a machine.” This is Big Bud’s first appearance in Iowa. An unveiling ceremony is scheduled for 2 o’clock this afternoon.

McGill says Big Bud is now owned by the Williams Brothers who reside in Big Sandy, Montana. The machine’s been retired from field work and is now a traveling museum piece. McGill says the tractor’s eight tires are eight-feet tall, so it takes two semis to move Big Bud from city to city.

“One semi’s bringing the frame and another flatbed semi’s bring the tires,” McGill said. Admission to Heartland Acres is $10 for adults and $4 for kids between the ages of 5 and 17. Children under 5 get in free.

more info: www.heartlandacresusa.com