State Soils

Just as many states have official state flowers, birds, and fossils, they also have official soils. State soils are most often determined by a vote of soil scientists in the state, and, absent any political wrangling, usually represent the most productive soils and those that most closely resemble everyone’s favorite soil: loam. As mentioned earlier, loam soils are almost equal parts sand, silt, and clay.


The Illinois state soil is the Drummer soil, an Alfisol. Drummer soils consist of very deep, poorly drained soils that formed in 1 to 1.5 meters (40 to 60 inches) of loess or other silty material in the underlying stratified, loamy, glacial drift. Drummer soils are the most extensive soils in Illinois and cover more than 1.5 million acres.


The state soil of Indiana is the Miamian series, formed in calcareous, loamy till on the Wisconsin Till Plains. This Alfisol covers 321,722 hectares (794,994 acres) of the state of Indiana and is nationally ranked for agricultural production because of its high productivity.


The Tama series is the state soil of Iowa. This Mollisol is considered one of the most productive in the state and is not surprisingly used for agricultural purposes. It makes up about 333,000 hectares (825,000 acres) in east central and eastern Iowa. Tama soils formed in 1.2 meters or more (four feet or more) of silty loess, under tall prairie grasses.


The Kalkaska soils are Michigan’s state soil series. They are Spodosols that occur in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. There are over 300,000 hectares (750,000 acres) of these soils throughout the state. Kalkaska soils formed in sandy deposits left behind by the retreating glaciers. These soils primarily support hardwood timber, namely sugar maple and yellow birch.


Lester soils, the state soil series of Minnesota, are found in the south central portion of the state. They are of moderate extent and total over 240,000 hectares (600,000 acres). These Mollisols formed in loamy, calcareous glacial till on ground moraines. The principal crops grown in these soils are corn and soybeans.


The Miamian series is the state soil of Ohio. It consists of very deep, well- drained soils that formed in a thin layer of loess and in the underlying loamy till, which is also high in lime. They are the most extensive soils in Ohio and are found on more than 300,000 hectares (750,000 acres) throughout the state. Corn, soybeans, and winter wheat are the primary crops grown in this soil.


Wisconsin’s state soil is the Antigo Silt Loam, named after the city of Antigo, Wisconsin in the northern part of the state. Antigo soils, which are Alfisols, are well drained and formed in loess and loamy sediments over stratified sandy outwash that cover more than 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres).