Soil Judging

Soil Judging Introduction

As part of the World Congress of Soil Science 2022 (WCSS) we are pleased to announce the launch of the quadrennial, hotly contested, Soil Judging Competition! This is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills, whilst enjoying some time away in Stirling, the historic “Gateway to the Highlands”. In teams of four you will spend time in training with some of the foremost experts in the field of soil science, before representing your country or region in competition at sites across scenic Scotland. With prizes presented on the opening night of the World Congress, during the prestigious opening ceremony, this is an accolade worth working for.

The British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) is hosting the 22nd WCSS on behalf of the International Union of Soil Science (IUSS), and the competition will include the high-level training including guest speakers, which is associated with this event. Offering education, skills, support, and professional development across all stages of a soil professionals’ career is the core BSSS’ aims and we are keen to share local knowledge with researchers at the early stages of their career to enhance their knowledge and learning.

Can you take the challenge? Want to see how your team measures up against your international competitors? Are you an Early Career scientist? You can find more information, including eligibility criteria and registration, on the WCSS 22 website at or by contacting us on

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 or organisation
  • At the time of competition all members of a team must be either:
  1. Resident in the represented country for a minimum of 6 months
  2. Registered at an academic institution based within the represented country
  3. Be a national of the represented country
  • All competing team members must satisfy the following:
  1. All team members must be present for the entire competition
  2. All team members must be a registered student at the time of competition, or alternatively be either a registered member of a recognised national youth organisation in a related field, for example young farmers’ unions or an early-stage practitioner with no prior experience in soil judging, interpretation, or analysis.
  3. 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.
  4. Team members must qualify as ‘Early Career’; within the first five years of their career post-graduation.
  5. All team members must be eligible for entry to the United Kingdom on the date of competition

Dates: 26 July 2022 - 31 July 2022
Location: Stirling University Campus
Board Basis: Full Board
Price: £3500 per team of 4. Additional person(s) accompanying £875 each

Soil Judging Programme

Wednesday 27 - Sunday 31 July 2022: Soil Judging Competition

Welcome to the soil judging competition of the 22nd World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS)! Located on campus at Stirling University this programme comprises three days of classroom and field-based training before beginning the competition phase which will be held over two days at a secret field- site. This programme offers plenty of opportunity to grow your knowledge base, skills, and professional network. For all days there will be lunch provided, breaks with complimentary refreshments, and transport to and from field locations. You can find out more information about the competition at or contact us at to register.

27 July 2022 - Day One - 9am-5pm

Guest Speaker - Scottish Soil Governance: How soils fit into the landscape of Scotland’s environmental legislation.

Lecture One - Soils of Scotland: Formation, history, survey, and mapping of soils; where they are and how they are used

Lecture Two - Soil Judging Concepts

Lecture Three - Soil Functionality Concepts: Soil properties, processes, functions, and ecosystem services

Field Trip - Stirling University Soil Pits

28 July 2022 - Day Two - 9am-5pm

Guest Speaker - Farming in Scotland: National Farmers Union of Scotland

Lecture One - Brown Earths in Scotland: Formation, description, identification, and functionality

Lecture Two - Peat Bogs in Scotland: Formation, description, identification, and functionality

Lecture Three - Podzols in Scotland: Formation, description, identification, and functionality Field Trip – Flanders Moss and Valley bottom Gleysol

29 July 2022 - Day Three - 9am-5pm

Guest Speaker - Climate Change and Carbon Offsetting: Use and misuse of the carbon offsetting concepts

Lecture One - WRB Soil Classification Concepts: Structure, diagnostics, and descriptors

Lecture Two - USDA Soil Classification Concepts: Structure, diagnostics, and descriptors

Lecture Three - Soil Functionality Concepts: Linking soil characteristics to multiple ecosystem functions and services

Field Trip - Forest Podzols and soil formation factors at Dumyat

30 and 31 July 2022 - Day Four and Five - 9am-4pm

Soil Judging Competition - Field Location 

© 2023 - The World Congress of Soil Science 2022 is a limited company, registered in England and Wales 12994006 and a Registered Charity No. 1192796
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