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Seed, Grow & Show

22/04/2016

​On Thursday 21 April, the Home Hill SHS year 7 students participated once again in the Seed, Grow & Show Program. As an Agribusiness school, this opportunity has been introduced to our younger students as we continue to link agriculture into the curriculum. This year the program was extended to include Ayr High’s year 7 students and proved to be a very popular addition to classroom activities. The program would not be possible without the support of Rabobank and its Client Council, Bianca Fullarton from Bowen Gumlu Growers Association, Farmacist and also staff from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). Many thanks also to Wilmar, who covered the cost of the buses.

This year’s planting of crops at the Giddy Road Ayr Research Station (DAFF) was delayed due to the much appreciated late wet in March. A new date was set so crops are ready for harvest before the Burdekin Show in early July. Because of the delays and growing times, the DAFF staff had already planted the watermelon and corn crops for the schools.

The students participated in three rotations of activities. In one activity students studied soil structures, layers and pH. In this activity they “ribboned” soil samples, a tactile method of classifying soil types. A one-metre deep trench had also been dug in the ground so that Farmacist staff member, Billie White, could demonstrate the different layers that typically make up soil structures. A Rabobank Client Council member Gavin Jones, who is a cane and legume farmer, explained to the students why soil health is so important to agriculture. The less disruption with cultivation, the better the health of the soil and the crop output. The students were left with a greater appreciation of “dirt”, a much undervalued, but integral part of our economy.

In the second rotation the Home Hill High School students were very excited to see Home Hill SHS teacher Mrs Armstrong’s display beehive. Mrs Armstrong and her husband are apiarists, so she is well versed in all things bees. In her working, viewing hive, the students could witness the interactions of this fascinating social insect. Mrs Armstrong also covered the importance of bees to our farmers and how important bees and other insects are to crop pollination and therefore food production.

The final activity is always very popular with the students. Planting time! Due to the shortening of the growing time allowed in the curriculum, a green bean crop was settled on as most suitable. DAFF staff Jane and Heidi explained the classification of plants and how to tell them apart, then the students were shown the correct way to plant a seed, including depth and distance between plants.

Mrs Armstrong and Mr Shannon from Farmacist will be checking up on the progress of the crops, creating a PowerPoint diary of growth and any adverse effects of diseases or pests. The students will now be anxiously awaiting harvesting day, which is planned for 23 June.

This program is vitally important to the youth of our region. They come away with an appreciation of agriculture and its importance to the economy of their town. They also gain a greater understanding of the endless potential of employment opportunities available to them.