Soil judging isn't a CDE you can easily go to the closet and pull out a few things and get to work. A lot of time is spent outside measuring slopes and evaluating soil pits. Unfortunately many schools either don't have unlimited access to pits or just don't have any access at all. So you have to get creative and that's what the Loris FFA chapter did.
When you can't get to the soils you need, then you bring the soil samples to the students. As seen in the picture the students are working with four different soil types. While this may seem simplistic these students can evaluate texture, make ribbons, and compare each of the four types in one spot.
The key is for the students to learn to differentiate the texture types based on feel and not simply looking at what color they are. In addition, the students can spend an hour on these four soil types and gain a lot of experience in repetitively evaluating each soil type. This skill is critical when they are at the CDE and must evaluate all aspects of the soil pit in a prescribed time frame. These tailgate practices will help refine their skills so they know instantly what the texture is when they feel it.
When you're ready, here's another blog post on Land Judging Activity for Topsoil Evaluation.
In addition, we cover a lot more ground about Land Judging in our PLOW online learning video series. We have a two week free trial so take a look and find out how some of your fellow Ag teachers find success in Land Judging.
Land judging remains a very mysterious CDE to the cautious, so don't wait for permission and take some students and get your hands dirty. You'll all learn a lot and have some great stories to tell.
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