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Proposed State Soil

Illinois Cooperative Soil Survey


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Establishment of State Soil

On August 2, 2001, Illinois' Governor signed legislation designating Drummer silty clay loam as the official state soil of Illinois. With the signing of House Bill 605, Drummer silty clay loam took its place next to the white oak, the violet, the cardinal, fluorite, the Monarch butterfly, the white-tailed deer, the bluegill, and big bluestem as one of Illinois' official state symbols.

These natural resources are indispensable to the support and growth of a strong and prosperous state, and are some of the things that make Illinois a special place.

Students from the FFA Chapters at Monticello High School and Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences joined forces with the Illinois Soil Classifier's Association and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to pursue state soil legislation.

Drummer was selected as the State Soil of Illinois over more than 700 different soil series found in the state. Drummer soils are the most extensive soils in the state. More than 1.7 million acres of Drummer silty clay loam have been mapped in more than 1/3 of Illinois' 102 counties. They qualify as prime farmland and are some of the most productive soils in the world. Corn and soybeans are the principal crops.

The Drummer soil series was established in Ford County, Illinois in 1929. It is named for Drummer Creek in Drummer Township.

About Drummer silt clay loam

The Drummer soil series consists of very deep, poorly drained soils that formed in 40 to 60 inches of loess or other silty material and in the underlying stratified, loamy glacial outwash; under native prairie vegetation. Drummer soils are on nearly level or depressional positions on till plains and outwash plains throughout northern and central Illinois.
Typically, Drummer soils have a thick, black silty clay loam surface layer and a very dark gray silty clay loam subsurface layer. The subsoil is grayish brown and gray silty clay loam. The substratum is dark gray, mottled, stratified loam and sandy loam.

Prairie Influence

The Drummer soils formed under a luxuriant growth of marsh grasses and sedges, that was typical of much of the native prairie at the time of settlement. Soils formed under prairie vegetation are normally dark colored and high in organic matter content. Illinois is known for its "black dirt" with Drummer silty clay loam being the most common.

Type Location

The location that typifies the Drummer soil series is in Champaign County on the University of Illinois south farm in MLRA 108A. Drummer


Drummer classifies as fine-silty, mixed, superactive, mesic Typic Endoaquolls. This classification is very typical of wet, dark colored "prairie soils" in Illinois.

Drummer – Illinois State Soil

About State Soils