Soil Judging

By: News Release
Sep 26th, 2018

43rd Annual Soil Judging Contest

Elkader, IA. – On September 21st, twenty-five students from three local high schools gathered at the Osborne Pond site near Elkader for the 43rd annual Clayton Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) soil judging contest.  Members of the Ed-Co, Postville, and MFL Mar-Mac FFA chapters judged soil profiles, tested their pacing ability, flagged contour lines, and completed a written quiz on soil properties.  The contest provides an opportunity for participants to develop and practice skills needed to evaluate and protect our natural resources.

This year’s top soil judging team was from Ed-Co.  Team members included Jack Wiskus, Avery Wessel, Brenden Pape and Noelle Kerns.  The team from Postville took second. Team members included Collin Malcom, Brendan Kregel, Conner Meyer and Tanner Rose.  Jaxton Schroeder, Jesse Bruer, Shelby Mielke, and Jessica Loera from MFL Mar-Mac placed third. Soil judging contestants complete a written quiz and evaluate soil profiles from three different sites.  Contest questions are based on the properties of the soils and appropriate management practices. Collin Malcom from Postville was the top individual soil judge. Jaxton Schroeder from MFL Mar-Mac and Jack Wiskus from Ed-Co placed second and third, respectively.  

This year’s top contour layout team was from Postville.  Team members were Collin Malcom and Conner Meyer. Brenden Pape, Charlie Ehlers, and Hunter Thompson of Ed-Co took second.  Wyatt Rowcliff and Avery Wessel of Ed-Co placed third. Contestants attempt to layout a level contour line over a long, winding field.  The first-place team from Postville flagged a contour line that was within one tenth of a foot from being level.

Jaxton Schroeder of MFL Mar-Mac took first place in this year’s pacing contest.  Trienna Meredith of MFL Mar-Mac placed second. Conner Meyer of Postville took third.  Jaxton judged the length of a 1,067 foot pacing course within one foot.

NRCS Area Agronomist Neil Sass served as official judge of the soil pits.  Ray’s Excavating, Edgewood, constructed the soil pits and provided time and equipment to prepare the contest site.  Clayton SWCD Commissioner Ron Kaiser assisted with scoring. Technical assistance was provided by the staff of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Elkader:  Pat Schaefers, Rocky Thein, Eric Palas, Steve Kiley, Gina Parker, Angie Mohs, and Nic Zmoos. This year’s event was hosted by Clayton County Conservation Board Director Jenna Pollock.  

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Students from the MFL Mar Mac FFA participate in the contour layout contest.

Contestants judge soil properties from one of three pits