Home' Capricornus Quarterly : CQ April 2019 Contents 15
Field days provide wide open learning opportunities
RGS Agriculture students have explored
factors affecting crop success and silage
production as a part of a partnership
with CropX and Pioneer Seeds.
Head of Agriculture, Hardy Manser, said it
was critical that students not only learn to
work with industry partners in maximising
yields, but also apply scientific concepts to
improve their business outcomes, if they
are to stay competitive in an increasingly
competitive Agricultural marketplace.
Middle and Senior students evaluated an
in -house population trial of fodder sorghum
“Megasweet”, a Pioneer seed variety, planting
out the crop at different planting rates across
irrigated and non-irrigated sites. Students then
had the opportunity to evaluate areas like the
effect of moisture, soil electroconductivity,
plant health and competition on yield or
growth characteristics such as DM/Ha
yields, plant height and width coverage.
Monitoring the crop was a new cutting
edge piece of equipment provided by CropX.
The CropX Pro sensor monitored, around
the clock, soil moisture, temperature and
electroconductivity. The sensor alerted staff
and students if the crop was exposed to
conditions outside of investigated parameters.
This crop generated so much interest,
that the story featured on the ABC’s Country
Hour radio programme, on how RGS is
taking the introduction of the new senior
agricultural science syllabus seriously, and
is determined to ensure that RGS students
are exposed to the best opportunities
Agricultural Education has to offer.
Ben Hardy, from Pioneer Seeds not
only supported the programme through
the generous donation of seed for the
trial but also visited the School to talk
to students about the benefits of silage
(storing compacted, air-tight fodder).
“It is great that RGS is providing
students with the opportunity to learn
about the benefits of silage,’’ Ben said.
Ben also organised a tour of the School’s
hay supplier, Harders Hay at Etna Creek as
a part oftheCertificateIIIinAgriculture.
Students explored the megasweet
crop grown commercially, as well as
explored Rhode Hay production, and even
incorporated some drone monitoring.
More information about Silage or Megasweet can
be found by contacting Ben Hardy on 0417 713 023
or CropX sensor information is at www.cropx.com
“I enjoy the people you connect with
and make life long relationships w ith.
There are some ver y good people in the
community and many of them will help
you at the drop of a hat. At the moment it’s
helping with a hard maths question but
no doubt they will be there for you when
bigger problems stand in the way,” he adds.
Nick’s advice to new boardersis to find
a good crowd. “ It may take a while and
you might not be popular but if they
are good mates they’ll stick by you.”
Another way Nick has found to make the
most of boarding school is to get involved
in sport and the many extracurricular
activities on offer. Thisyear, he’s been
involved in rowing and water polo and
recently returned from competing at
the National Row ing Championships in
Penrith where he won bronze in the Men’s
Under 19 coxless four along with Riley
Godwin, Reece Byrne and Bradley Burr.
“ There are definitely great opportunities
at RGS – it’s just a matter of finding what
suits you best. Coming from home I would
never have been able to get into sports
such as rowing and water polo,” Nick
adds. “Sport is the best way to get out of
thedorm and to meet otherpeople. You’ll
find that there are different groups of
mates for the dorm, sport and for school.”
Nick trains for water polo once a week
while rowing preparation in the lead
up to Nationals involved five morning
training sessions before school as well
as gym sessions in the afternoon, twice
a week. Sport at RGS has taken Nick
as far north as Townsville and south
to Sydney as well as rowing regattas
at various locations in between.
Getting out on the water is also a release
from the demands of senior school.
“It’s good to have the time awayfrom
ever ything and be completely focused
on the race or the game and not worried
about anything else. The two sports also
help me to build good habits - like waking
up to my alarm and not hitting snooze.”
When Nick is at home, he’s able to
apply his learning to practical situations
like calculating the volume of a tank,
the rate of chemical to spray or the
yield of a paddock during har vest. His
favourite subjects are mathematics
and Certificate II in Engineering.
“ The Certificate II in engineering is
hands-on and teaches me how to operate
workshop machines such as welders and
milling machines. It always helps to know
how the school and workplaces operate
compared to home,” he explains.
Managing the workload of senior
school with sport commitments can be
difficultbut Nick saysit all comesdown
to priorities and a well set out routine.
He is considering a career in mechanical
engineering before a longer-ter m
hope to return to Capella and take
up the reins of the family farm.
In the meantime, this Easter break
was an opportunity to help get
machinery ready to then plant about
3000 hectares of wheat and chickpea.
“It’s always good to get home and reset,
ready to go again at school,” Nick says.
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