Soil Judging

Feb 9, 2022 | Blog, Featured Blog

Progress on the Soil Judging competition, slated to happen in Stirling from 26 to 31 July, continues and there is a multitude of ways you can become involved; from representing your country as a candidate, to volunteering to support the programme, to registering to access the training elements of the course. It will be a unique experience whatever level you choose to participate at, and an excellent way of growing your knowledge and skills base, and networking with the international soil science community.

Registrations are now open for international teams to compete in Stirling. With accommodation provided in the heart of Scotland, on the scenic University of Stirling campus, the soil judging competition offers those aspiring to a career in soil science an opportunity to represent their country and develop their skills. There will be three days training opportunity, delivered by experts in their respective fields, followed by two days of competition held at a secret location. Winners will be announced at the opening ceremony of the World Congress of Soil Science at the Glasgow Science Centre on 31 July 2022.

The training programme for the soil judging competition has been designed to tackle many of the themes and topics relevant to a broad spectrum of the soil science community as well as to prepare candidates for the competition. With mornings spent in the lecture theatre engaging with esteemed lecturers in their respective fields, afternoons will be practical with visits scheduled to local soil pits. Day One of the training, 27 July, will introduce soils in Scotland; their governance, formation, history, survey, and use, as well as exploring some of the underlying principles of soil functionality. Day Two dives deeper into some of the soil types particularly of interest in Scotland with lectures on brown earths, peat bogs, and podzols, and a guest lecture from a representative of Scottish farming communities. Day Three focuses on the tools used in understanding and categorising soils in practice with sessions on the WRB and USDA soil classification concepts, and a guest speaker on the topic of climate change and carbon offsetting.

If you are interested in participating in the competition you can find out more either by visiting, emailing, or by contacting your local soil science society.

Save the date in your diary – full programme details to follow soon!

Be a part of the UK team

BSSS is sponsoring the UK team to enter the soil judging competition. Applications are now open for enthusiastic students of soil science willing to represent the UK at the competition for this historic congress, the first time the WCSS has been to the UK since the 1930’s. Organised and coached by Ben Butler, Digital Soil Minerologist at the James Hutton Institute, the UK team will be comprised of four individuals competing as a team over two days. Promising to be great fun as well as an enviable learning opportunity, we would encourage all those studying soil science in the UK, or those from the UK studying abroad, to consider applying. In return for representing BSSS team members will have their registration for the training and competition, and accommodation and meals for the duration of the event, covered by the Society. More information on the competition can be found at, or by emailing, or you can apply by filling out the form here. The deadline for applications is 5pm (GMT) on the 11 March 2022.

Working with Soils training

The soil judging is comprised of two days competition preceded by three days of training. The training is comprised of morning lectures in a classroom environment followed by afternoon field trips designed to illustrate themes and topics explored in the lectures. For the first time ever for a soil judging competition in the WCSS series, some training elements of the programme will be open to booking to non-competing individuals. This gives soil science students, practitioners, and interested amateurs the option to access world-class training. Access to day two and three’s training (28 and 29 July), inclusive of lunch, refreshments, and transport to and from field sites, is £425 for a non-member of BSSS, £299 for a full or fellow member, and £199 for ECR members of BSSS. Prices do not include overnight accommodation. For more information, and to register your interest in these training sessions or book your place, please email

Eligibility Criteria

All teams, and team members, must satisfy the conditions below to compete in the soil judging competition. If you have any queries, please feel free to contact the organisers on
• Teams will be made up of four members representing a single country
• At the time of competition all members of a team must be either:
a. Resident in the represented country for a minimum of 6 months
b. Registered at an academic institution based within the represented country
c. Be a national of the represented country
• Countries are limited to only one team each
• All competing team member must satisfy the following:
a. All team members must be present for the entire competition
b. All team members must be a registered student at the time of competition, or alternatively be a registered member of a recognised national youth organisation in a related field, for example young farmers’ unions.
c. Team members should not be employed in, or have been employed in in the six months prior to competition, a soil judging, interpretation, or analysis role.
d. Team members must qualify as ‘Early Career’; within the first five years of their career post-graduation.
e. All team members must be eligible for entry to the United Kingdom on the date of competition

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