1. K-State home
  2. »Agronomy
  3. »Undergraduate Program
  4. »Agronomy Club & Activities
  5. »Crops Judging Teams
  6. »2009 Collegiate Crops Team

Department of Agronomy

2019 Collegiate Crops Team

K-State crops team sweeps top individual awards to win 2019 National Championship

Released: December 12th, 2019

Crops Team

Kansas State University 2019 Collegiate Crops Team (l to r):
Luke Ryan (asst. coach), Alex Kaufmann, Evan Bott, Madison Tunnell, Blake Kirchhoff, Nate Dick, Noah Winans, Dr. Kevin Donnelly (coach), Trevor Mullen

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State University crops team recently captured the title of national champions by winning the Kansas City American Royal Collegiate Crops Contest on Nov. 19 and the Chicago Collegiate Crops Contest on Nov. 23. K-State teams have now won the collegiate crops contest championship in 17 of the past 21 years.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville was second at both events. Iowa State University was third in Kansas City and Purdue University took third in Chicago.

Official members of the K-State team were junior Blake Kirchhoff, Hardy, Nebraska, and seniors Noah Winans, Tekonsha, Michigan, and Nate Dick, Inman, Kansas. Alternate contestants were junior Madison Tunnell, Olathe, Kansas and sophomores Alex Kaufmann, Concordia, Kansas; Evan Bott, Palmer, Kansas; and Trevor Mullen, Salina, Kansas. All are agronomy majors at K-State.

In both contests, the K-State team took first place in all three phases of the contest: plant and seed identification, seed analysis and grain grading. In addition, team members swept the one-two-three individual overall placings at both events. Such a sweep of all three contest components and the top three individual placings at both contests is very rare, and has only been accomplished three times before in the 86-year history of the events, all by K-State.

At Chicago, Blake Kirchhoff was first place individual overall, and he won all three contest components. Nate Dick was second overall, placing second in identification and grain grading, and third in seed analysis. Noah Winans came in third, placing second in seed analysis and fifth in identification and grain grading.

At Kansas City, Blake Kirchhoff was also the top individual, placing first in grain grading with a perfect score, second in identification, and fifth in seed analysis. Noah Winans was second high individual. He also made a perfect score in grain grading to tie for first, and he placed third in both seed analysis and identification. Nate Dick was third overall, placing first in identification, second in grain grading, and sixth in seed analysis.

The team was coached by Kevin Donnelly, K-State professor of agronomy. Luke Ryan, junior in agronomy from Solomon, Kansas, was the assistant coach.   

In the contests, participants are required to identify 200 different plant or seed samples of crops and weeds; grade eight different samples of grain according to Federal Grain Inspection Service standards; and analyze 10 seed samples to determine what contaminants they contain.

The American Royal coordinated the Kansas City contest. Corteva Agriscience was the primary awards sponsor. Additional sponsors were GFG Ag Services, American Society of Agronomy, Association of Official Seed Analysts, and South Dakota Crop Improvement Association.

The primary sponsor of the Chicago contest was the CME Group. Additional donors in Chicago included the Crop Science Society of America, Growmark Cooperative, and the Society of Commercial Seed Technologists.

Locally, sponsors for the K-State Crops Team include the Kansas Crop Improvement Association, K-State Department of Agronomy, K-State College of Agriculture, and the K-State Student Government Association.

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

More information is available about agronomy education at K-State.


Source: Kevin Donnelly, 785-532-5402, kjd@k-state.edu

Edited by: Kathy Gehl, 785-532-3354, kgehl@k-state.edu

K-State student wins top honors, team takes second in Australia crops competition

Students also participated in study tour to learn about culture and agriculture


K-State Collegiate Crops Team at the Australian Universities Crops Competition (l to r):
Wes Jennings, Nate Dick, Jayden Meyer, Madison Tunnell, Luke Ryan, Blake Kirchhoff, Dr. Kevin Donnelly – Coach

October 15th, 2019

MANHATTAN, Kan. — A Kansas State University student took top honors and the K-State Crops Team placed second in the Australian University Crops Competition recently. The event was hosted by the Australian Grain Growers organization and was held at the University of Adelaide in South Australia.

Luke Ryan, junior in agronomy from Solomon, Kansas won top individual honors overall.

The University of Sydney placed first in the team competition, K-State placed second, and Charles Sturt University from Wagga Wagga, Australia, was third. 

Three students from South Dakota State University traveled with the K-State team and participated in the competition. The teams competed against agricultural universities from across Australia. 

K-State Crops Team members making the trip included top winner Luke Ryan, plus Jayden Meyer, Smith Center, junior in agricultural economics; Wes Jennings, Abilene, senior in agronomy; Nate Dick, Inman, senior in agronomy; Madison Tunnell, Olathe, junior in agronomy and Blake Kirchhoff, Hardy, Nebraska, junior in agronomy. The team was accompanied by coach Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy. This was the fifth trip for the K-State team since 2012 to participate in the Australian competition.   

Ryan, Meyer and Jennings were awarded a stipend from the American Society of Agronomy to cover part of their travel expenses as a result of previously placing in the top three at the U.S. Collegiate Crops Contests in Kansas City and Chicago last November. Additional sponsors of the K-State team were Kansas Grain Sorghum, Kansas Corn, Syngenta, and the K-State Department of Agronomy. The College of Agriculture also provided an international travel scholarship to the K-State students.

The trip was a combination of work, learning and sightseeing, which also proved educational for the students.

The competition portion spanned three days at the University of Adelaide’s Roseworthy Campus. The contest included a seed identification section, three exams over production of selected Australian crops, a business management problem, field yield estimates and management recommendations, and a live crop, weed and disease evaluation component. 

Before the competition, the group spent a day touring tropical agriculture in Queensland, learning about bananas, coffee, avocados, and sugarcane, and visited a large grain farm in South Australia featuring mixed cropping of wheat, canola and pulses. After the contest, they visited a sheep farm, a cherry orchard, a vineyard, and an apple orchard and processing facility in the Adelaide Hills area. They also travelled to Kangaroo Island, visiting grain farms and KI Pure Grain, the island’s major cooperative grain handling and export business. Learning about canola and Australian white wheat production, ryegrass herbicide resistance problems, and the use of pulse crops such as lentils and fava beans in crop rotations were highlights for the U.S. teams.

The students also took a snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef at Cairns, with a visit to Sydney Harbor and the Sydney Opera House on the trip to Adelaide. After the contest, they spent two days touring Kangaroo Island. Highlights were observing the majestic coastal rock formations, beaches with seals and dolphins, and kangaroos and koala bears in the wild.

Source: Kevin Donnelly, 785-532-5402, kjd@k-state.edu

Edited by: Kathy Gehl, 785-532-3354, kgehl@k-state.edu


Contact Information

Dr. Kevin Donnelly
Professor of Crop Science