The Kansas State University Crops Team took first place in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) national crops contest held April 13, at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan. Kansas State team members also took home the top four individual placings.
This was the fourth straight title in this contest for the Kansas State team, and the 11th in the past 14 years. A total of 19 teams competed, nine in the four-year division and ten in the two-year division.
The contest consists of four components: laboratory practical, agronomic exam, math practical and plant and seed identification. The Kansas State team placed first in all four sections. 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, evaluate crop production problems, and describe soil properties.
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 section includes equipment calibration and other agronomic calculations. Seed and plant identification requires contestants to learn more than 250 plant and seed samples.
Students competing on the Kansas State team are all seniors majoring in agronomy. The team members with top five individual placings were: Jared Kohls, Clearwater, first place overall, first in lab, identification and exam, and third in math; Bryson Haverkamp, Bern, second overall, first in math, third in lab practical, and fourth in identification; Jake Wyrill, Kirwin, third overall, second in math, third in exam, fourth in lab, and fifth in identification; and Kim Kerschen, Garden Plain, fourth overall, second in lab and identification, and fourth in exam.
Alternates competing were: Jessie Zimmerman, Alta Vista; Lauren Lang, Overbrook; and Lindsey Pollock, Blandinsville, Ill. Zimmerman was sixth overall, third in identification and fourth in math; Lang was ninth overall and fifth in lab; and Pollock finished twelfth overall. Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy, served as coach for the team. Assistant coaches were senior agronomy majors Levi Larkins, Belvue, and Scott Henry, Goff.
Iowa State University was the second place team followed by the University of Minnesota-Crookston. In the two year division, Hutchinson Community College was first, Eastern Oklahoma State College was second, and Cloud County Community College placed third.