When Soils Fly

When you say to someone that you’re off to Australia for a Soil Judging Competition, there’s a look that comes across their face that’s quite unique. It’s a mixture of surprise, uncertainty and I would like to say awe. After an enthusiastic explanation of what it entails; descriptions of horizons, textures and structure, the landscape and suitability for different crops, their surprised look turns to understanding and sometimes they even show enthusiasm too!

For our last practise this week went on a bit of a road trip to North Canterbury to describe a clay rich soil. Clay rich to New Zealand’s South Island standards, a whooping 35% in the B horizon! A great morning of soil science was had by all, after just about getting trampled by stock that is.

We jump on the plane to Australia bright and early Sunday morning, with a daylight savings change meaning that the 5am pick up is actually a brisk 4am. Winging our way to what is going to be a very hot week in Australia, hot competition with an extra hot heat wave to cook our Kiwi brains that are used to a daily high of 12°C over the winter. Bring it on Australia! Lincoln is coming to represent NZ!

20170920_120714.jpgTeams ’50 Shades of Greywacke’ and ‘The Bedrockers’ are coming for ya!

Soil judging isn’t yet as widely known as it should be, but we’re on our way to making it the well-known sport. It’s not only a challenge but a valuable skill and something to inspire enthusiasm in all.

Thanks to all the help that we have received with training, organisation and funding.

Keep an eye out for updates of our trip here (the Blog), on Facebook or Instagram!


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I am a Soil Science PhD student at Lincoln University, New Zealand.

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