Report from the 2016 KSU Crops Team

(Sarah Zerger) My name is Sarah Zerger. I’m a junior in Agronomy at Kansas State University. My option is in Consulting Production within Agronomy, and I’m on the Kansas State competition team. (Hayden Guetterman) My name is Hayden Guetterman. I’m from Bucyrus, Kansas. I’m a senior in Agronomy in the Business and Industry option. I got involved with the crops team mainly through my two past uncles who were on the crops team, so I wanted to continue the legacy. (Jessi Bramhall) I am Jessi Bramhall. I am a senior in Agronomy from Kansas State University. I’m from Seneca, Kansas originally. I am a senior in Consulting and Production, that’s my option. I will be graduating this December. (Sarah) With this being if we win this year, it would be the eighth consecutive. It definitely puts some pressure on me because we definitely want to win. I also think that if you don’t think about it and you just do it just for the fun of it and for your own personal benefit, then the pressure is not really that big of a deal, for me anyways. (Jessi) We have three parts to the contest. We have the identification portion which mostly showcases mature plants, followed by the seed analysis portion which we get a base sample set where we have different seeds put in there. There’s life craft, there’s prohibited noxious weeds, there’s restricted noxious weeds and then there’s common weeds that we have to pick out and identify. Then, we have a grain grading portion where we have several different sets of different grains where we have to inspect them, pick out the foreign material, the damaged kernels, etc., and then give it a grade at the end of the contest. (Sarah) I think my strength for the crop seeding is the grain grading. I seem to do pretty well with it. I’ve had some history with it when I worked at the elevator. I think seed analysis also is another strength of mine. Being in the Certified Seedling business that my family has, knowing what seeds are in there is an important factor for that. (Hayden) I feel like I’m best at identification and the grain grading portion of the contest. I wasn’t really familiar with grain grading when I came into this, but after practicing it several times, I became more experienced at it and became a lot better. (Jessi) Coaching is crucial in crops judging. Kansas State has their biggest factor, and that would be our Crops Coach, Dr. Kevin Donnelly. He is a huge asset to our team. If we didn’t have him, we wouldn’t be putting in the time. He gives us the motivation to put in all the hours. He would stay here until 2 AM if we really wanted to stay and practice. He wants us to do our best even if that isn’t winning. (Sarah) Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I have classes in the morning, and then Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have class in the afternoon. Whenever I have available time between classes, then I’ll fit the crops practice in so I can do one portion faster than another and I’ll fit that in where I have less time. If I have a really open schedule and I don’t have to work or teach another class, then I’ll do a longer portion or multiple portions at a time. (Jessi) The overall best compensation we can get out of crops team is a resume builder. Many different industry and business leaders look at that and realize how much time and dedication we have to put into it because of our previous national championship and the standard we want to uphold. (Sarah) I want to go into the consulting area within Agronomy, preferably working for a seed company or any consulting company doing scouting or things like that. Definitely the ID portion of this will definitely help with that. (Hayden) I plan on going back to the farm after graduation. I see the identification portion through this contest has really helped me to identify weeds and other types of crops out in the field. (Jessi) I’ve just accepted a full-time job with Wilbur-Ellis in northeast Kansas as a sales agronomist. This competition particularly helped me with identification, so I feel more than qualified to go out there and help farmers identify what weeds are problems in their field and what we can do to help with it.

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