Southest Region Collegiate Soil Judging Competition

Published by Jan Heaney on

Southest Region Collegiate Soil Judging Competition


a great beautiful day out in the field participating
in soil judging our country’s most valuable resource it’s important that we provide an
education for our students and one of the activities that they’re able to get that education
instead of just the degree is soil judging so every year our murray state students participate
in soil judging and about every 10 years you get the opportunity to host it so we had nothing
but rave reviews of murray state there are about 100 students and cultures come here
for the southeastern regional collegiate soil contest and they are from like university
of Tennessee of martin university of georgia university of auburn clemson NC state west
virginia university of Tennessee Knoxville virginia tech Tennessee tech university and
western Kentucky university A day before the contest, practice pits are set up so students
from different universities can learn more about the soil in Western Kentucky. We have
12 sites or 12 pits for the practice pits and then we have 4 more at the contest site
on the west farm we have 5 pits on the north farm we have 3 pits and then at dr. brannon’s
farm in hazel we have 4 more pits so the practice pits are just so students and other participants
can come down and learn about the soil types here at murray state because the soils are
so different across the united states and it’s important that they get to come down
and really see and get their hands on experience on the types of soils you can learn a whole
lot in a classroom about what is in the soil what makes up the soil but you really don’t
know how all soils are different until you get out and put your hands on it some of the
different things we’ve seen in the soils we’ve seen a lot of fragipans and we don’t have
very many of those in Alabama fragipans they’re not really sure how they form but its a really
hard pan and its a restrictive layer for water and so you’ll have prismatic structures so
it’ll look like prisms sitting in the soil and each of the prisms will be outlined in
a grayer material where the water can get through And that new hands-on knowledge is
put to the test on contest day the first thing that you would do is kind of go in and look
on the side look and see where the horizons are on the side of the pit so what you kind
of see about where all the horizons start and stop that’s when you’ll get you’ll mark
down your measurements that’s why the tape is there you’ll write down where those horizons
start and stop and then you’ll get to go in there and take samples when you take samples
from each horizon you get to come out of the pit and you’ll get to mess with them you can
feel them you can wet them down run them between your fingers see how much by running it in
between your fingers you can see how much sand is in it and then if it makes a long
ribbon as your messing with it in your fingers then you know it has a lot of clay in it you’ll
also compare it to a munsel color chart which is just a color chart for soils that you just
flip through and you can see and compare so you know what the color of the soil is The
top three teams advance to the nationals, leading up to the international contest. Last
year, Auburn University’s team went on to compete internationally last year we were
fortunate enough with the students such as this and this and Danielle to go to to win
the national contest so i coached the international team at the international contest which was
hosted in Hungary none of the students that are actually here were on the international
team because we took the top 4 places that were from 4 different universities to the
international contest but it was certainly a wonderful experience this year, Virginia
Tech, UT Knoxville and Tenneesee Tech placed in the top three in the contest hosted by
Murray State University i commend dr. handiyana our soil professor our students our faculty
and our staff for helping come together to do this contest and obviously we couldn’t
do it without the natural resource conservation service and mr. jerry macintosh rudy forsight
and steve blanford have just devoted their whole month basically to getting set up for
this contest


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