Crop competition

12 September 2016

AgXtra holds an annual crop competition providing a fun and interactive way for students from high schools and universities to learn about broadacre cropping.

Falling tertiary enrolments and difficulty in finding skilled labour to fill jobs in agriculture, poor perceptions of agriculture in Australia, a lack of understanding of the opportunities which exist in Agriculture today, and a disconnection between urban and rural areas are some of the issues facing our rural industries at this time. AgXtra, in contributing to the correction of these issues, has evolved an annual crop competition. Open to High Schools and University of Adelaide students, the site is located at Roseworthy, South Australia, enabling ease of access for most participating students. As entrants, the students learn how climate and their management decisions such as variety, seeding rate, and fertiliser regimes can impact crop development, yield and gross margin. In its third year, the competition offers a hands-on crop management experience for eight teams of between three and five students from Balaklava High School and Kapunda High School, as well as five University of Adelaide teams. AgXtra managing director Richard Porter said the company saw the competition as an ideal opportunity to engage high school and university students in an interactive program.

“The students are able to come out to the field, and experience what impact the decisions they made in the classroom have had, making a stronger connection with their work,” he said. “It’s a unique hands-on opportunity for students to gain insight into the complex world of cropping. We have a weather station nearby which collects soil moisture and rainfall data, which is sent to participants regularly. This way, any variations can be made to the program as needed.”

Students visit the site during the growing season, with a field day, held in September.

“The judging is based on objective measurements with entrants judged on grain yield, grain quality and gross margin,” Mr Porter said.

“AgXtra is eager to ensure the future of agriculture in this State and we see this as a good and fun opportunity to promote ongoing learning in broadacre cropping to the next generation.”

For more information please contact the competition convener, Kalon Green, at kgreen@agxtra.com.au

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