This summer I had the opportunity to compete in the first national weeds judging contest. The contest took place on July 27th in Knoxville, TN. I was on the K-State graduate team with Josh Putman and JD Riffel. JD was the individual winner in the Western Society and we placed second as a team. This took a lot of practice and hard work.
There are five parts in the contest; herbicide identification, plant identification, sprayer calibrations, farmer problems, and a written test.
Herbicide identification consisted of plots that were sprayed with different herbicides. We had to look at the plots and decide what they were sprayed with based on the symptoms.
The weed identification portion of the contest required us to know how to identify over 150 weeds, as well as know its scientific name.
The sprayer calibration portion of the contest was the most fun. We had to calculate the amount of chemicals needed, the pressure on the sprayer tank, the speed we needed to walk, as well as other information important to spraying correctly.
The written test consisted of sprayer calibration problems and unit conversion. I don’t have a picture of the farmer problems, but they covered a wide range of topics.
The problem I received was set in a greenhouse. I had to help the greenhouse manager decide how to kill the weeds in his greenhouse, so he could continue to grow flowers the next season. There were problems in turf, corn, cotton, soybeans, switchgrass, and one that dealt with water quality issues.
I really enjoyed competing and will compete next summer also!