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!
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.
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.
Our 24 ewes have exceeded all expectations this year, producing a total of 33 lambs over the last few weeks. Our Year 9 Ag class has been working with the sheep, monitoring the pregnant ewes and carefully checking on the newborns. This week each student will select two lambs to ‘adopt’ and will be responsible for eartagging, tailing and vaccinating.
The highlight of the term so far has been a trip to Akaringa piggery at Bute. We spent the morning touring the facility under the guidance of workman Darryl. Our students were impressed with the size of some of the stock – a couple of the boars were over 400kg! At the end of the tour we selected eight, much smaller pigs to bring home to our ecoshelter in the Ag Block. Over the coming weeks we will weigh and monitor our pigs. Sides of pork will be available for purchase at the end of the term!
Our Year 10 class has also been busy preparing our paddocks for a pasture crop this season. After a series of tractor driving lessons with groundsman Peter Johnson, students displayed their skills by attaching the disc and safely cultivating our paddock. Only a few more laps to go!
Our major project for Year 11/12 students this term is a field crop variety trial. Our class has prepared the paddock and pegged out the trial plots ready for seeding. Last Wednesday, MAS parent and local agronomist Sam Holmes visited our class to discuss field crop biology and to show our student how to calculate sowing rate and then weigh out grain samples. We hope to sow the seeds within the next two weeks, then monitor the progress of each variety as the season progresses.
Finally, you may have noticed that the cyclone fencing along the dirt road on the Northern side of the Ag Block has been removed. A big thank you to our Years 8 and 10 students for the hours they put into this task, and also to Peter Johnson and members of the Ag Committee for their co-ordination of this project.
Stay tuned to future newsletters for more news from the Ag Block as the term progresses.