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Woman with digging equipment next to wall of soil
USQ’s Yingcan Zhu took part in the 2017 Australian National Soil Judging Competition.
The next generation of Australian soil scientists have dug deep to hone their skills and expand networks at the fun yet highly competitive 5th Australian National Soil Judging Competition.

The challenge, hosted by USQ, was held over four days (September 25 – 28) with gritty competition from 12 teams with representatives from 11 different universities across the country (as well as two team from Lincoln University in New Zealand).

More than 50 students worked in teams and as individuals to examine soil and landscape profiles at sites around the agricultural food bowl of the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley.

The University of Sydney topped the team division, edging out Team South Australia and University of New England. New Zealand’s Camilla Gardiner claimed victory in the individual competition.

Soil Science Australia President, and USQ Senior Research Fellow (Soil Science), Dr John Bennett said the event was a great success which nurtured the skills of future soil professionals.

“The competition motto was ‘developing the future’ and that was on show throughout the week, with participants learning their craft in a competitive environment,” Dr Bennett said.

“I’d like to thank all those helped run the competition over the three days, including an amazing team of coaches and volunteers who battled through hot-weather conditions.

“Also, thanks to Dr John McVeigh MP, Federal Member for Groom, who presented the competition accolades at the awards ceremony dinner on Thursday night (September 28).

Participating universities included USQ, University of Adelaide, University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, University of Newcastle, Southern Cross University, Lincoln University, and University of New England.

The sixth National Australian Soil Judging Competition will be held in Canberra November 2018.