Students with interests in soils, environmental protection or agricultural production may choose to join the MU Soil Judging team.
During a soil-judging contest, students are asked to describe and classify the soil profile in four different pits. While in the pit, they use skills learned in classes and during team practice sessions to describe the color, texture and structure, as well as many other properties of the soil horizon.
Team members will also use their observations to classify the parent material, water-holding ability and suitability for different uses of each soil sample. The students also make soil interpretations for a variety of land uses, such as, suitability for buildings with basements, roads, and septic tank absorption systems. Students determine these soil characteristics within a time limit and rotate among the pits during competition. The student’s final descriptions are ranked in comparison to the official judges to determine contest winners.
Soil judging is a National Intercollegiate Contest that occurs every year across the country. College teams meet for regional competitions each fall, with top teams meeting at the national level in the spring. The locations for regional and national competitions rotate each year.