Whether he's pulling a baler or plow, delivering a load of grain or running to town for parts, Kelvin Kurkowski uses the same machine.
It's a Unimog tractor, made in Germany by Mercedes Benz. The four-wheel-drive vehicle does almost everything a conventional tractor can do, yet it has the comfort, speed and road-handling ability of an automobile, says Kurkowski. It's capable of reaching road speeds up to 60 mph, and the cab seats three adults.
Kurkowski, of Grant, NE, bought his first Unimog three years ago from a street maintenance department in Colorado. It helped ease the financial pressure he felt after poor weather ruined his crops three consecutive years.
"Because the Unimog performed so many functions, I was able to sell one pickup truck, a grain truck and a conventional 160-hp tractor."
He soon bought another used unit and put that one to work on his 2,500-acre corn, wheat, sunflower and alfalfa operation, too.
Kurkowski liked the tractors so well that he and a partner, Kim Richardson, decided to start a dealership. They formed Uniquip Ag with two other partners, Marty Keller and Mike Kramer. So far, Uniquip has sold 12 Unimogs to area farmers.
The tractor's powered by a Mercedes Benz turbo-charged diesel engine. Models have 80 to 240 hp and transmissions are available with up to 24 speeds.
It has front and rear three-point hitches, front and rear 540 or 1,000 rpm ptos, front and rear remote hydraulic outlets, rear drawbar hitch, and a cargo platform that doubles as a side-tilt dump box.
A heavy-duty suspension system and oscillating axles with outboard final drives keep ground pressure on all four tires equal for maximum traction, says Kurkowski. Compaction can be minimized by adjusting tire pressure. Hydrostatic drive, power-shift transmission and four-wheel steering are optional.
Because Unimogs have been used for years by cities, the military and the U.S. Forest Service, the dealership gets good used models that start at around $30,000. New models range from $85,000 to $150,000. Parts are available from Uniquip Ag through the Arizona-based Unimog importer.
For more information, contact: Uniquip Ag, Route 1, Box 403, Grant, NE 69140. Phone: 308-352-4676 or 308-352-4098.