Welcome to Florida Land Judging
As part of Land Judging, you must determine the drainage class of the soil. Essentially, you are trying to decide whether you see evidence of a seasonal high water table in the 0-20", 20-40", or >40" zones. How do you do this? I've received this question many times in the past few weeks. I'm sorry to say there is no formal guide, yet.
For a long time, soil scientists have had the knowledge of how water moves through soil and the consequenses it has on soil morphology. They can "read" the soil by looking at it and feeling it. You have been instructed about grey colors, mottles, redox concentrations, redox depletions, and stripping. How to decode what you see and correctly interpret the soil is complex, and to a large degree requries you combine other concepts of soil wetness from landscape clues. How excactly you do this is not formally compiled in any book, document, article, or guide. Soil scientists have decided to change that this year.
Please understand that we won't be creating new "rules." Don't be frustrated that we're changing things. We're just attempting to organize our thoughts and approaches into a formalized document that will attempt to clearly outline how we do this. The HILS effort is outlined here.
I have some power points on the LJ training page. This is a good one. There are some videos I've narrated about specific pits on the contest pages. I've added this blog post to try and walk you through the thought process. Hopefully this helps.
At this point in time, this is where we are at. Trust me when I say that the expert soil scientists know the land and are calling the water tables correctly. How they do it is not straight-forward and, again, is not thoughtfully published ANYWHERE. Read this blog post and do the best you can. The state of how this info is organized for all scientists (not just for the Land Judging contest) will change this summer.
Message to Land Judgers
Thank you for your interest in soil science. We hope you find the contest to be educational and fun.
2016 Contest on Friday March 25, 2016
Sorry for the delay. We had some technical difficulties. Please note the contest is on Good Friday, March 25, 2016. It was not moved this year. The 2016 page is live. See you in Live Oak on March 25, 2016!
We have posted some downloadable training material on the Training Page. Will try to get some more up soon.