Senior students from the Western Australian College of Agriculture in Morawa recently had their future horizons extended, when they explored the range of career options that currently available in the agricultural industry.
The students visited the Muresk Institute near Northam to hear about options for further training and careers, and then undertook some soil sampling at a Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) trial site examining soil acidity.
The field trip was partly supported by NACC – which is committed to improving the capacity of youth in the region to promote best-practice natural resource management and sustainable agriculture for future generations.
Two participating students, Amy Mathews and Ella Smith wrote about their experience:
“On the fourth and fifth of June, we jumped on the bus to head down to Northam where we stayed at the Muresk Institute. A lot of agricultural things were talked about and shown to us. Peter the farm manager at Muresk took us on a tour of the campus and the farm. We learnt a lot about the sheep and how their set-up of the sheep worked. He then took us up to the machinery shed and explained to us what they did around the farm, their cropping system and happily answered questions that any of the students threw at him.
That afternoon we jumped back on the bus and headed into Northam to AGT a plant breeding facility. Jason Reinheimer explained the cycle of grain reproduction and the trials that they had been running. He explained to us how different types of grain will do different things. We then saw some mini headers that were what they used when they harvested their trials. One of our boys, Tom Stammers, was lucky enough to score a ride in a harvester.
We headed back to Muresk for a beautiful dinner that was provided by the Muresk kitchen staff. After dinner we had free time and were allowed to explore Muresk. Some of our students spoke to the uni students that were still on site due to exams. Eventually it was time to head off to bed. All students settled down quickly knowing they had a big day ahead of them.
The next day we had a session with Daisy Bulloch of CY O’Connor Institute in the lecture room after breakfast. We spoke about what agricultural business was and what life at Muresk was like for her. She opened a lot of doors and pathways for the students.
Former uni student Mitchell Hutton who is currently doing his second year of agricultural business got up and spoke to us about his experiences and had nothing but praise for Muresk. He told us that if the opportunity is there to take it and don’t miss it as it may not come again.
That concluded our time at the Muresk institute. We were soon back on the road again heading to our next destination, Wongan Hills, for our last part of the excursion.
Once in Wongan, we parked at the Department of Agriculture and Food research station. (There) we met Craig Scanlan who was waiting with his colleagues who worked at the research centre. He explained to us the solubility of lime and told us that we were going to be helping him test the PH levels on their trail. There were nine blocks, so we got into groups of four and had to go get samples from the soil at 10cm, 20cm and 30cm. We did this by using lengths of exhaust pipe and hammers, putting each lot of soil into separate coloured bags. Eventually we got PH kits and were able to test the soil to see which were more acidic, more basic, or just neutral. Craig Scanlan explained to us a little bit more about the trails before we headed back to the bus to have lunch.
Ready for the long trip home, everyone piled back on the bus gradually getting tired after an exhausting but very educational two days.
I think this trip has opened a lot of doors to us students, now realising and understanding a little more about agriculture and our career opportunities.
Thank you to NACC for sponsoring us.”
~ Amy Mathews (Year 12). Typed by Ella Smith (Year 10)