Sunday, April 9, 2017

2017 NACTA Soil Judging - Manhattan, KS - Epilogue

Our team arrived home to St. Paul in the early morning hours on Saturday. I'd like to extend a huge thank you to this spring's NACTA team for their hard work, dedication, and positive attitudes. A well deserved congratulations goes to team captain Stefan Swenson for taking a strong 2nd place out of a field of 60 judgers.

Next fall brings Redfield, South Dakota and the lacustrine plain of Glacial Lake Dakota.

In the meantime, keep your mind open, your spirit free, and be at one with your soil texture triangle!

We'll see you in the pits!



Saturday, April 8, 2017

2017 NACTA Soil Judging - Manhattan, KS - Contest Day!

The contest was held on the high prairie of the Flint Hills. Winds were low, the sun was out, and it was generally perfect conditions for the contestants.
Sara Bauer working on soil texture 
Stefan Swenson working on color
Gabe Benitez ponders clay percentages while overlooking the Flint Hills
2017 NACTA Judging Team post-contest: Front Row (L-R); Sara Bauer, Julia Otten, Kathleen Hobert. Back Row (L-R) Gabe Benitez, Stefan Swenson (Captain), Tessa Belo, Ilya Swanson, Nic Jelinski (Coach)

2017 NACTA Soil Judging - Manhattan, KS - Practice Days

Seven University of Minnesota students travelled to Manhattan, KS from April 3-7 to compete in the 2017 NACTA Soil Judging Contest hosted by Kansas State University. The team left in the early morning hours on Monday, April 3rd and arrived at our home for the week, Tuttle Creek State Park, just outside of Manhattan by late afternoon.

Sunset over the Tuttle Creek Reservoir, on the porch of our cabins for the week in Tuttle Creek State Park
We spent Tuesday describing 4 pits on a catena in Rannells Prairie, south of Manhattan. We beat the rain in the morning, but it rained hard the rest of the day. The Manhattan area received over 10 inches of rain in the past 10 days and the pits were generally very wet. Dr. Mickey Ransom (KSU contest organizer) and his crew were hard at work pumping pits every day. Thanks Mickey!

Tessa Belo (R) and Julia Otten (L) describing a soil formed in colluvium over residuum on a backslope on Rannells Prairie.

This gully was dry last spring and fire danger was severe. A different story this year!

Footslope pit at Rannells Prairie with well developed slickensides formed in colluvium.
Slickensides
Wednesday brought a break in the rain, some beautiful sunshine, and two pits differing in their development near Ashland Bottoms, in the Kansas River Valley.
Stream terrace overlooking the Kansas River floodplain in Ashland Bottoms 
An Entic Haplustoll on a 20-yr floodplain near Ashland Bottoms
A much better developed Typic Haplustoll (with a cambic subsurface diagnostic horizon) on can older stream terrace above the floodplain
Thursday brought more sunshine and 2 pits on a catena at the KSU Agronomy Farm North. Two other practice pits on the catena (at a footslope and stream terrace position) were completely full of water so we did auger/gutter descriptions as best we could!
KSU Agronomy Farm North catena
The completed soil-landscape synthesis diagram that we worked on every night of the week.