Soil Judging Contest held Tuesday, September 13, 2008


            Around 250 students ascended on the Brian and Kelly Klootwyk farm on a chilly Tuesday morning.  They and their teachers represented 25 schools in the South Central Regional Soil Judging Contest.  The schools competed with each other as they moved from one soil pit to another.  There were 4 soil pits altogether that were 4 feet deep and approximately 2 1/2 feet wide and 15 feet long.  The students, about two at a time, climbed into each pit and answered questions on a written test that pertained to the soil horizons (layers) they saw.  Questions included such things as thickness of the A horizon, moist color of the B horizon, type of soil parent material, and the extent of internal drainage.  Based on what they saw in the various soil pits, they answered questions such as:  would this particular soil be suitable for terracing, building houses with basements, and what limitations there would be for septic tank absorption fields.  They also determined landscape position, slope, and land capability class of each site.

            There were three levels of achievement based on test scores: Gold, Silver, and Bronze.  Pella, Pleasantville, and Knoxville were part of the 9 schools finishing in the gold with Pella being first, Pleasantville sixth and Knoxville seventh.  Top scores for individual Marion County students include Colton Pinagar and Thomas Yoder of Pella and Jacob Roberts of Knoxville.  Schools finishing in the top five will compete at the state contest.

            Brian and Kelly Klootwyk made their farm available, as they also did in 2004, for this event.  Larry Angove volunteered his time, backhoe, and fuel to dig the pits as he has for nearly every year for at least 15 years now.  Mr. Brent Hanna of Knoxville H.S. headed up the event as he has for 31 years.  Mr. Mark Williams of Pella H.S. served as official scorer, as he has for many years.  Mark LaVan and Tom Champa, Soil Scientists with the USDA-Natural Resource Convention Service pre-judged each pit and were present to answered questions following the test results.  Mike Lewitke served as official judge for the soil conservation component of the event.


A Note from Mr. Hanna

Twenty-five schools participated in our 31st District soils clinic hosted at Knoxville.  I want to thank Mr. Steinhart, Mr. Williams, Mrs. Angle, Mr. Lowrey, Ms. Witaker, Mrs. Miller, and Ms. Sondag, and all other advisors for their assistance in making the contest run so smoothly.  Mr. Steinhart has e-mailed you the results.  Please excuse any misspelled names.

474    Pella 397    Osceola 293    Lamoni
465    Des Moines 395    Mt. Ayr 259    Baxter
462    Diamond Trail 384    Newton 257    Twin Cedars

432    SE Warren

377    Cofax 249    Creston
427    Lynnville-Sully 369    Leon            I-35
426    Pleasantville 368    Wayne  
425    Knoxville 363    Winterset  
418    SE Polk

358    Moravia

416    North Polk 333    West Central  
  328    Centerville  
  319    Murray  

308     Moulton-Udell




Student School
167 Colton Pinagar Pella
161 Kolton Keuning Diamond Trail
160 Heidi Dittmer SE Warren
159 Marshall Hay Lynnville-Sully
159 Madison Van Gorp Des Moines
158 Thomas Yoder Pella
155 Amy Sander Des Moines
155 Jacob Roberts Knoxville
155 Kyle Dug Diamond Trail
150 Andy Sneller Lynnville-Sully

We wish the top five teams the very best at state.  Thanks to everyone.

Mr. Hanna