During the last week of September the 5th Australian Soil Judging Competition, was held at Toowoomba, Qld. Three students; Ivanah Oliver, Imogen Semmler and Liz Marshall, represented UNE in the team: ‘New England Soil Sleuths’.
The competition consisted of two days of training followed by a competition day. On the first day of training we were shown the Ferrosol which much of Toowoomba is built on, then some wonderful black cracking vertosols of the Darling Downs. Day two took us east into the highly productive Lockyer Valley, were we got to dig around in some texture contrast soils; and see the changes in soil types across the topographic sequence of the Lockyer Creek at Gatton.
With the training days done, competition day had arrived, a very hot, windy and sun baked one. With much excitement and a few nerves, we were pumped to get under way. The competition format consisted of describing two pits together as a team and one as individuals. The organisers certainly chose three challenging pits for day, which much debate about the classification still being had over dinner that night.
In a tight race, UNE were the 3rd placed team out of 13, which was a fantastic result. Nevertheless, the most valuable parts of the week were the new networks and relationships formed with like-minded people from all over Australia and New Zealand; and the new skills and knowledge that we gained from the whole experience.
Already we are planning for the 2018 competition, which will be in November at Canberra in conjunction with the National Soil Science Conference. Until then you will find us in the bottom of a soil pit practicing our field textures!
Read a competition full report from Soil Science Australia in a special edition of Soil Crumbs.