Year 6/7 Agriculture
We have spent the term focusing on farm safety and in particular, tractor safety. Students have discussed how to work safely around machinery and then had the 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to show how NOT to behave around tractors – see our photographs!
Year 8 Agriculture
This term we have studied the Farm Environment, including climate, soil, pests and weeds. Our Year 8 students made their own wind monitors and used thermometers to record weather conditions in various places in the Ag Block. We have also learnt about the farming zones in SA.
Year 9 Agriculture
Our focus this term has been 'Insects'. The highlight of the unit was a visit by Mr Lionel Harmer, a local beekeeper, who taught us all about honey production and brought in various items of beekeeping equipment to share with the class.
More recently we have been caring for our sheep flock – our current lamb count is four!
Year 10 Agriculture
This term we have studied Soil Science and our Ag Certificate students have started their tractor driving lessons. Our groundsman Sean Carroll has spent the last four weeks working with a small group of students who are now confident to start and stop the tractor, attach a range of implements and feed out hay. The remainder of the class have studied aspects of soil conservation.
Year 11/12 Agriculture
Finally we come to our most senior Ag students who have also made a fantastic start to the year. Our major projects involving crop trials with YP AG and a Vitamin B12 lamb trial are well underway. A big thank you to Harvey Smart for providing a shearing lesson to our class!
Our students' individual work placements are progressing well with each member of the class gaining valuable knowledge and skills during their time at local farms/businesses.
Believe it or not, Term 1 is a relatively quiet term for our Ag students - next term we will start our cropping program and welcome goats, calves, pigs, steers and more lambs to the school farm!
If you would like to know more about our school Agriculture program or feel you could contribute in some way, please call the school for a chat. We would love to hear from you.
Year of the Farmer
Students had made masks of farm animals to acknowledge that it is the year of the Australian farmer. Miss Townsend organised senior secondary Ag students to join in the parade with some school sheep, highlighting our school’s strong Agricultural programme. This programme and many others were part of our fantastic display in the school shed at the showgrounds and I hope many community members were able to view this prior to the weather impacting on show attendance.
Both the Junior and Festival choirs sang at the opening ceremony and the band entertained patrons – a real day of community involvement !
Special thanks to the Davey family and Alan McCauley for their support of our parade involvement and the transport and erection of our display boards.
On Tuesday Feb 7th the class headed down to the Dublin Livestock Exchange to select and purchase our lambs with the assistance of stock agent Tony Clarke. We also had a brief tour of the cattle facilities and a very fragrant walk around the pig shed. Our trial will start next week when we will weigh the lambs, divide them into two even groups and inject one group with vitamin B12 to determine the impact on their growth rate. Stay tuned to newsletters later in the year for our results.
I was recently fortunate enough to attend the biannual ATASA (Agriculture Teachers Association of South Australia) Conference held in Loxton. It was a great opportunity to learn about the latest developments in Agriculture teaching, visit a range of industries in the Riverland and also to catch up with colleagues from around the state. One fact which was repeated over and over was that Term 2 is a very busy time for school farms and Agriculture students! This has certainly been the case at Maitland Area School – we've hit the ground running and don't look like slowing down any time soon!
After the great success of the 2010 group (all students achieved the certificate), this year’s group have shown great enthusiasm during Term 1.
A recent highlight was a visit to Ben Wundersitz’ farm for a lesson about ‘turning rain into grain’, followed by a ride in a range of farm machines. The students even had the opportunity to drive some of the machinery and many thought it was easier to drive than the little school tractor!