Maitland Area School

Maitland | Yorke Peninsula | South Australia

As I write this article, I have to keep reminding myself that we have only been back from holidays for two weeks and yet, as you’ll see below, we have certainly packed a lot of activity into a short time in the Ag Block!

Year 6/7

Students have started to prepare their class vegetable garden ready for planting this week. We will grow (and then eat!) a range of salad vegetables including carrot, radish, lettuce and snow peas.

Year 8

The class welcomed two baby calves last week. With great persistence and patience, our students have taught the rather timid animals to drink milk from a bottle. This was no easy feat as the calves were very flighty when they first arrived and quite keen to let us know with a swift kick! Congratulations and thank you to all the Year 8 students who have given up their lunch times to work with our new arrivals.


Read more: Ag Block News - Term 2

New Steer Shed

There have been great advances in the progress of our steer shed in recent weeks! The shed itself is now complete, along with running water and power. Most recently the staff from Magnus have been on site to install the cattle fencing and crush. Next on the agenda is concreting the floor and installing the feed and drink troughs. This year’s Show steers are certainly in for a treat when they see their luxurious accommodation!!

Senior Ag Students

Our twelve senior Ag students have made a great start to the year, with many of them already enjoying their work placements. We would like to thank the community members who are supporting our students this year by providing these great learning experiences. Here is a list of the students and their work place providers so far:
  • Patrick Dodd – M Redding (farmer)
  • Beatrice Carroll – Southwoods  (agronomy and ag merchandise)
  • Pria Sandercock – Caroline Roenfeldt (farmer)
  • Thomas Smart – Sam Holmes (agronomist)
  • Sarah Wuttke – Southwoods (agronomy and ag merchandise)
  • Harrison Briggs – H Polgreen (farmer)
  • Brad Robinson – A Thomson (farmer)
  • Tayna Polgreen – H Polgreen (farmer)
This class has also started their first major group activity – a B12 lamb trial with animals bought during a recent excursion to the Dublin Livestock markets. We were fortunate to have livestock agent Tony Clarke provide us with a fantastic guided tour of the facilities and we were also grateful for the support of Haydn Polgreen who attended the excursion and towed the trailer!

Read more: News from the Ag Block

Our journey to the Royal Show started four months ago when we first selected our goats and steers and what a journey it has been! 
Students from a range of year levels have contributed to the care of our stock at school, however it was the Year 9s (goats) and Year 10s (steers) who spent their lessons and lunchtimes working towards this big event. They spent many hours feeding, grooming and training our stock in preparation for the Show in September and this year we were fortunate to achieve some amazing results.

Read more: Royal Adelaide Show 2013

Quite often we begin a newsletter article with ‘It has been a busy term’, but never has that statement been more applicable than Term 2 in the Ag Block! 
What’s been happening since our last report (only four weeks ago!)…

Year 10

We collected our steers (Stewie and Kev) from local farms in Week 5 of term. As usual we chose a Murray Grey (from Stewart Redding’s Redwood Stud) and a Red Poll (from Kev Graham’s Virangra Stud). They have both settled in well and our students have shown great promise as ‘cattle whisperers’, training the steers to tolerate a halter and enjoy their grooming sessions.
Our Ag Certificate students worked with Danny Allen last week to sow our pasture paddocks and enjoyed the experience of driving a large tractor with GPS. The students really appreciated the opportunity to work with Danny. Thanks must also go to Tim Davey who brought in his own machinery recently to sow our wheat crop.

Year 9 

As mentioned in a previous newsletter article, our ewes have been busy producing lambs over the last few weeks. Our Year 9 students have each ‘adopted’ two lambs and have been busy weighing, eartagging, tailing and castrating.  The next major event for the Year 9 class will be the arrival of the goats for the Royal Adelaide Show.

Year 8 

Our calves (Boss and Albert) arrived early in Term 2. The class has been very dedicated in their care of their ‘babies’, giving up their lunchtime to feed them with bottled milk. It is great to see the hard work and patience of our students rewarded – both of the calves are now friendly and easy to handle.
Our pigs are continuing to grow well and will stay in the Ag Block for a few more weeks. Stay tuned to further newsletters for updates on our Show preparation (and more cute photos of our baby animals!)

The Ag Block continues to grow in numbers as the term continues! Our Year 9 class have been monitoring our ewe flock and are very pleased to report that we currently have 16 brand new lambs and counting... 

Our Year 10s went on a fantastic excursion on Thursday May 9th to collect eight piglets for the Ag Block and to tour the facilities at Neil Patterson’s piggery near Bute. A great time was had by all and it was particularly interesting to see the pigs at their various stages of development – from 5kg right up to 200kg+!
Finally, our Year 6 and 7 classes have been showing great teamwork, forming a ‘production line’ to fill our new garden beds with soil ready for planting vegetables soon. The students’ enthusiasm and cooperation was fantastic and the gardens are looking terrific.
Stay tuned for further information from the Ag Block later in the term as we complete our seeding program, collect steers, welcome new calves, raise goats.....the list goes on!
Ag Block Upgrade

Stage 2 Ag - great results!

The year has only just started and already we have some great news from the Ag Block! Our six senior Agriculture students from 2012 all successfully completed their course, achieving either a B or C grade after final moderation. This is a fantastic result for our students, four of whom completed the Stage 2 course whilst still in Year 11. Congratulations to Nikki Benyo, Keigan Elliott, Tim Hasting, Amy Nankivell, Annalise Robinson and Brooke Smith for a great year of study. 

Senior Ag course

The senior Agriculture course, which incorporates work placement on a farm or in an agricultural business, is run on alternate years, so our Year 11 and 12 students in 2014 will be eligible to select this course as part of their SACE.

Ag block development

The other very exciting development in the Ag Block over the holidays is the progress of the facilities upgrade. 

We now have a fantastic outdoor learning space which includes a verandah and paved area for practical lessons, the classroom has been freshly painted and a window has been incorporated between the two classrooms, thereby allowing for the introduction of a supervised IT learning area in the future. 

Other projects include new fencing around the site of our future raised garden beds which will be available for use by all classes to grow and harvest produce. 

Work in the Ag Block will continue this year as we further develop our facilities. We plan to build our garden beds in Term 1 (with the assistance of our Year 10 Ag students) and hope to get our new steer shed underway soon.

Stay tuned to future newsletters for updates about the Ag Block throughout the year!


Last week I finally had the pleasure of meeting with the building contractors who will be undertaking the work in our Ag area. Work is planned to begin in the next school holidays. Parallel to this work occurring negotiations are continuing with Regional Skills Training to deliver broad acre cropping competencies for students across YP next year based at Maitland Area School. I believe that this will be an exciting and complementary addition the to the Ag programme we currently deliver.

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