The Kansas State University Crops Team completed the spring season at the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Judging Conference held recently at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska. The K-State team placed second to Iowa State University. A total of 25 crops teams competed, 17 in the four-year division and eight in the two-year division.
Nicole Sudbeck, K-State senior in agronomy from Seneca, led the team with a second place overall finish. Additional team members were agronomy majors Chris Weber, senior from Hoxie, Keren Duerksen, junior from Newton, and Sarah Zerger, senior from Cheney. Alternates were Nate Dick, sophomore from Inman, Kaylin Fink, junior from Chapman, Trent Frye, senior from Belleville, Tyler Marr, senior from Formosa, Rebecca Zach, sophomore from Morrowville, and Katie Fross, freshman from Hays. Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy, served as coach for the team.
The NACTA Judging Conference event was the last spring competition for the K-State team. Earlier in the season, the team placed first in the Panhandle State Invitational contest in February at Goodwell, Oklahoma, and first in the KACTA Regional Contest held at K-State in March.
The crops contest consists of four divisions: laboratory practical, agronomic exam, math practical and plant and seed identification. In the laboratory practical, competitors identify insects, diseases, crop products, and equipment, plus determine crop growth stages, interpret pesticide labels or seed tags, name plant structures, identify nutrient deficiencies, and evaluate various crop production problems. The agronomic exam evaluated knowledge of crop production and management, crop physiology and breeding, soil properties, soil fertility, tillage, crop harvesting and storage, weeds, insects and diseases. The math practical includes equipment calibration and various agronomic calculations. Seed and plant identification requires contestants to learn more than 250 plant and seed samples.
The crops team was one of 10 K-State agriculture interest area teams competing in the 2018 NACTA Judging Conference. K-State was named reserve champion in the sweepstakes award competition for overall placing across all events.