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Seed Grow & Show

The Home Hill State High School year 7 cohort have harvested their watermelon and corn crops in the culmination of the “Seed, Grow & Show” project. This successful 13 week program was sponsored by Rabobank and supported by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Bowen Gumlu Growers Association and the dedicated teachers involved.

In April the class travelled to the Ayr DAF Research Station to plant the crops and eagerly returned on Wednesday 24 June for the harvest. The Ayr DAF Research Station staff have tended to the crops between the two visits. Students have been sent fortnightly PowerPoint updates to analyse the crops’ growth. Through their integrated studies, students have participated in a range of learning activities relating to soil, planning, weed and pest control, plant care, environmental factors, extreme weather factors and harvesting. 

Before the harvest, agronomist Evan Shannon from Farmacist highlighted some of the key pest and disease issues for watermelons and corn. He also explained some factors that have affected the success of this crop, including the amount of water used and the negative effect of shading from trees. Evan also discussed post-harvest care of the crops and field.

Then Gumlu grower Steven Land showed students how to select the ripe watermelons and Andrew Owens from agronomy firm Black Earth explained how to choose best corn for harvest. He also explained to the students the required training he had undertaken for his position and the broad range of careers that are available to an agronomist.

The year 7s were thrilled to finally pick their enormous watermelons and fresh corn. Once picked and graded into bins, the students were able to fill a bag of produce to take home. Some of the quality specimens were entered into the Burdekin show, while the remainder were sold to help fund next year’s project. A small early harvest had been done by a number of teachers in the previous week and some of the year 7s manned a stall at the Bountiful Burdekin markets on Saturday 20 June and were thrilled to sell out!

The year 7s will now progress through life with a greater understanding of the importance of agriculture and food production, employment opportunities their relevance in the Burdekin. This increased awareness will have long-term benefits for our entire community.

The Seed Grow and Show project has been a very successful pilot program for Home Hill SHS and planning for next year has already commenced.