Michael F. Kocher, Ph.D., P.E.

Michael F. Kocher

Contact Information:

East Campus (Lincoln)
L.W. Chase Hall

Emeritus Professor

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Agricultural Engineering, Oklahoma State University - Stillwater
  • M.S., Agricultural Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • B.S., Agricultural Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Registered Professional Engineer, Arkansas and Nebraska

Areas of Research and Professional Interest

  • Instrumentation for rapid evaluation of planter seed spacing distributions
  • Testing methods for tractor performance
  • Logistics and economics of biomass harvesting
Teaching Interests
  • Equipment testing
  • Fluid power hydraulics
  • Physics
  • Sensors, computer data acquisition systems, programmable controllers
  • Dynamic systems, vibration

About Michael F. Kocher

Areas of Professional Interest and Research

I am interested in problems related to material flow. Some of my work has included developing instrumentation for measuring velocity of falling grain, designing devices for uniform unloading of granular materials from containers, developing systems for rapid evaluation of planter seed spacing uniformity and evaluating factors affecting planter seed spacing uniformity. I am currently working on pump designs that can produce a steady, constant flow rate.

In my involvement with the Nebraska Tractor Test Board of Engineers, I have worked on development of new procedures, analyses, and reports of tractor performance (fuel economy for drawbar power, lifting force for three point lifts, and hydraulic system performance). This work has contributed to the international OECD tractor testing codes, and become a part of my teaching in the MSYM 433/833 course on Equipment and Tractor Testing.

My research and teaching (in MSYM 232 Power and Machinery Principles) has also included work on logistics of agricultural field operations such as determining field efficiency of machines from GPS data, modeling field efficiency and economics of simultaneous harvesting of grain and crop biomass, and evaluating the effectiveness of three-point mounted implement guidance systems.

I have also been involved with a few “odds and ends” projects such as helping design a decorticator for bast fiber crops (e.g. flax, kenaf, jute, etc.), designing a hops dryer for small acreages (1 to 10 acres), designing a decompression chamber for fish, and designing the hydraulic and instrumentation systems for a machine to blow ice cubes on crops (Hail Machine).

I am currently working with Dr. John Cundiff, emeriti professor of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, to write the 2nd edition of his textbook “Fluid Power Circuits and Controls: Fundamentals and Applications”. We are anticipating release of this textbook in 2019!

Courses I am currently teaching
  • MSYM 232 : Power and Machinery Principles
  • AGEN/BSEN 325 : Power Systems Design
  • MSYM 433/833 : Equipment and Tractor Testing
Professional Licensure

Registered Professional Engineer (PE) in Arkansas (PE-6806 since 1988), and Nebraska (E-7117 since 1990)

Recent Grants

My most recent grants (Hops drier and harvesting logistics) are funded by industry and the contracts may not allow the project or funding company names may be privileged information.

Selected Recent Publications
  1. Lindhorst, C.M., R.M. Hoy, S.K. Pitla, and M.F. Kocher. 2018. Dynamic ROPS test for tractors over 6,000 kg. TRANSACTIONS of the ASABE 61(1):53-62.
  2. Roeber, J.B.W., S.K. Pitla, R.M. Hoy, J.D. Luck, and M.F. Kocher. 2017. Technical Note: Development and validation of a tractor drawbar force measurement and data acquisition system. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 33(6):781-789.
  3. Kocher, M.F., B.J. Smith, R.M. Hoy, J.C. Woldstad, and S.K. Pitla. 2017. Fuel consumption models for tractor test reports. TRANSACTIONS of the ASABE 60(3):693-701.
  4. Kocher, M.F. and J. Subbiah. 2016. Technical Note: Analytical solution for speed to achieve a desired operating point for a given fan or pump. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 32(6):751-757.
  5. Kocher, M.F., M.T. Wold1, R.M. Hoy, A.H. Lammers, and E.E. Blankenship. 2016. Calibration procedure for fuel flowmeters at the Nebraska Tractor Test Lab. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 32(3):319-326.

Eric B. Lancaster and Michael F. Kocher. Issued May 17, 1994. Method and Apparatus for Objective Evaluation of Patient Ambulation, Balance and Weight Bearing Status. U.S. Patent No. 5,311,880.

Honors and Awards

  • 2014 ASABE Superior Paper Award 
  • 2011 ASABE Honorable Mention Paper Award
  • 2007 Nebraska Chapter of Triangle Fraternity Outstanding Faculty Member Award
  • 2004 CETSAB recognition as an Outstanding Advisor
  • 2003 ASAE IET Division, IET Division Meeting Paper Award
  • 2002 UN-wide Departmental Teaching Award
  • 2001 ASAE Paper Honorable Mention Award
  • 1999 Holling Family Senior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award
  • 1996 ASAE Superior Paper Award
  • 1996 Who's Who of American Inventors
  • 1996 Sigma Xi (elected as full member) 

Selected Publications


  • Roeber, J.B.W., S.K. Pitla, M.F. Kocher, J.D. Luck, and R.M. Hoy.  2016.  Tractor hydraulic power data acquisition system.  Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 127 (2016):1-14.
  • Howard, C.N., M.F. Kocher, R.M. Hoy, and E.E. Blankenship.  2013.  Testing the fuel efficiency of tractors with continuously variable and standard geared transmissions.  TRANSACTIONS of the ASABE 56(3):869-879.
  • Kocher, M.F., V.I. Adamchuk, J.A. Smith, and R.M. Hoy. 2011. Verifying power claims of high-power agricultural tractors without a PTO to sell in Nebraska. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 27(5):711-715.
  • Kocher, M.F., J.M. Coleman, J.A. Smith, and S.D. Kachman. 2011. Corn seed spacing uniformity as affected by seed tube condition.  Applied Engineering in Agriculture 27(2):177-183.
  • Adamchuk, V.I., R.D. Grisso, and M.F. Kocher. 2011. Spatial variability of field machinery use and efficiency.  In: GIS Applications in Agriculture. Volume Two.  Nutrient Management for Energy Efficiency, Chapter 8, 135-146.  D.E. Clay and J.F. Shanahan, eds. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  • Coffman, B.A., M.F. Kocher, V.I. Adamchuk, R.M. Hoy, and E.E. Blankenship. 2010. Testing fuel efficiency of a tractor with a continuously variable transmission. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 26(1):31-36.
  • Searle, C.L., M.F. Kocher, J.A. Smith, and E.E. Blankenship. 2008. Field slope effects on uniformity of corn seed spacing for three precision planter metering systems. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 24(5):581-586.
  • Adamchuk, V.I., R.M. Hoy, G.E. Meyer, and M.F. Kocher. 2007. GPS-based auto-guidance test program development. In: Precision Agriculture: Papers from the Sixth European Conference on Precision Agriculture, Skiathos, Greece, 3-6 June 2007, 425-432. J. Stafford, ed. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers.
  • Adamchuk, V.I., A.V. Skotnikov, J.D. Speichinger, and M.F. Kocher. 2004. Technical note: Development of an instrumented deep-tillage implement for sensing of soil mechanical resistance. TRANSACTIONS of the ASAE 47(6):1913-1919. Journal Series No.14296, Nebraska Agricultural Research Division.
  • Grisso, R.D., M.F. Kocher and D.H. Vaughan. 2004. Predicting tractor fuel consumption. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 20(5):553-561. Journal Series No. 14185, Nebraska Agricultural Research Division.
  • Grisso, R.D., M.F. Kocher, V.I. Adamchuk, P.J. Jasa, and M.A. Schroeder. 2004. Field efficiency determination using traffic pattern indices. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 20(5):563-572. Journal Series No. 14111, Nebraska Agricultural Research Division.
  • Panning, J.W., M.F. Kocher, J.A. Smith, and S.D. Kachman. 1999. Laboratory and field testing of seed spacing uniformity for sugarbeet planters. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 16(1):7-13. (ARD Journal Series No. 12664) ASAE Honorable Mention Paper Award
  • Kocher, M.F., M.B. Smith, R.D. Grisso, and L.L. Bashford. 2000. Performance tests of three-point mounted implement guidance systems: I. procedure. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 16(6):595-603. Journal Series No. 11216, Nebraska Agricultural Research Division.
  • Kocher, M.F., M.B. Smith, R.D. Grisso, and L.J. Young. 2000. Performance tests of three-point mounted implement guidance systems: II. results. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 16(6):605-611. Journal Series No. 12792, Nebraska Agricultural Research Division.
  • Bashford, L.L. and M.F. Kocher. 1999. Belts v. tires, belts v. belts, tires v. tires. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 15(3):175-181. (ARD Journal Series No. 12263)
  • Bashford, L.L., M.F. Kocher, and T.S. Tibbetts. 1999. Wide tires, narrow tires. ASAE Paper No. 99F-82. (Journal Series No. 12585)
  • Lan, Y., M.F. Kocher, and J.A. Smith. 1999. Opto-electronic sensor system for laboratory measurement of planter seed spacing with small seeds. Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research, 72(2):119-127. (ARD Journal Series No. 12111)
  • Burr, M.S., M.F. Kocher, and D.D. Jones. 1998. Design of tapered augers for uniform unloading of granular material from rectangular cross-section containers. Trans. of the ASAE, 41(5):1415-1421. (Journal Series No.12047)
  • Kocher, M.F., Y. Lan, C. Chen, and J.A. Smith. 1998. Opto-electronic sensor system for rapid evaluation of planter seed spacing uniformity. Trans. of the ASAE, 41(1):237-245.
  • Jones, D.D. and M.F. Kocher. 1995. Auger design for uniform unloading of granular material: I. rectangular cross-section containers. Trans. of the ASAE, 38(4):1157-1162. (ARD Journal Series No. 10569)
  • Kocher, M.F. and D.D. Jones. 1995. II. Auger design for uniform unloading of granular material: rectangular cross section containers: cylinder containers. Trans. of the ASAE, 38(4):1163-1166. (ARD Journal Series No. 10631) ASAE Honorable Mention Paper Award


  • Kocher, M.F., V.I. Adamchuk, J.A.Smith, and R.M. Hoy. 2009. Verifying power claims of high-power tractors without a PTO at the Nebraska Tractor Test Lab. ASABE Paper No. 09-6019. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI 49085.
  • Smith, J.A. and M.F. Kocher. 2005. Evaluating grower's sugarbeet planter metering units and seed drop tubes on the University of Nebraska electronic planter test stand. 2005 General Meeting of the ASSBT. Journal of Sugarbeet Research 42(1&2):41-42.
  • Christenson, P.T., V.I. Adamchuk and M.F. Kocher. 2004. Instrumented blade for mapping soil mechanical resistance. ASAE Paper No. 04-1038. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI 49085.
  • Ehrhardt, J.P., R.D. Grisso, M.F. Kocher, P.J. Jasa, and J.L. Schinstock. 2001. Using the Veris electrical conductivity cart as a draft predictor. ASAE Paper No. 01-1012. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI 49085.
  • Adamchuk, V, I. Adamchuk, L. Bashford, and M. Kocher. 2003. Testing of tractors for agricultural applications. Tekhnika APK 9-10 (2003):29-31. (In Ukrainian: Vyprobuvannia traktoriv sil's'kogospodars'koho pryznachennia. Technika APK 9-10 (2003):29-31).


  • Lancaster, E.B. and M.F. Kocher. 1994. Method and apparatus for objective evaluation of patient ambulation, balance and weight bearing status. U.S. Patent No. 5,311,880, Issued May 17.