K-State Research and Extension News
November 30, 2012
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K-State Crops Team Claims Fourth Straight National Championship

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State University Crops Team recently captured the title of national champion for the fourth year in a row. K-State teams have now won the crops contest championship in 11 of the past 14 years. To win the 2012 national title, the team won both the Kansas City Board of Trade and the Chicago CME Group Collegiate Crops Contests that took place on November 13 and 17, respectively. 

In the contests, participants are required to identify 200 different plant or seed samples of crops and weeds; grade eight different grain samples, according to Federal Grain Inspection Service standards; and analyze ten seed samples to determine what contaminants they contain.

K-State placed first at both contests in the plant and seed identification and grain grading components of the competition, and second in the seed analysis component. Individually, all K-State team members placed in the top five in all components of both contests.

Students competing in both contests included Andrew Scherrer, junior, Matheson, Colo.; Neal Kaiser, junior, Lehigh; Michael Welch, junior, Haddam; Hannah Christen, senior, Oregon, Ill.; and Jessie Zimmerman, senior, Alta Vista. All are agronomy majors at K-State. Also competing as an alternate in Kansas City was Jeri Sigle, senior in agricultural education, Council Grove.

Neal Kaiser was the high individual overall in Chicago, where he placed first in grain grading, third in identification, and fifth in seed analysis. At Kansas City, he was the second high individual overall, first in grain grading, and second in both identification and seed analysis. 

Andrew Scherrer was the high individual overall in Kansas City, and third overall in Chicago. At Kansas City, he was first in identification and second in both seed analysis and grain grading. At Chicago he placed first in identification, third in seed analysis and fifth in grain grading.    

Hannah Christen was the fourth high individual in Chicago, placing first in seed analysis, third in identification and fourth in grain grading. Michael Welch came in fifth in Kansas City by placing third in grain grading, fourth in seed analysis, and fifth in identification. Jessie Zimmerman was an alternate in both contests, and posted the highest score in any contest component with a 599/600 in grain grading in Kansas City.  

The team was coached by Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy. 

For its performance, K-State received a team scholarship award from contest sponsors at Kansas City. CME Group provided individual scholarships to the top five students at Chicago.

Sponsors for the K-State Crops Team include the Kansas Crop Improvement Association, Department of Agronomy and the K-State Student Government Association. In addition, sponsors for the two national contests are the Kansas City Board of Trade, CME Group/Chicago Board of Trade, CHS Foundation, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Growmark Cooperative, Society of Commercial Seed Technologists, Association of Official Seed Analysts, South Dakota Crop Improvement Association, The American Royal and Pioneer Hi-Bred International.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Steve Watson
K-State Research & Extension News

Kevin Donnelly is at 785-532-5402 or kjd@ksu.edu