Academic | Agriculture | Boarding
* To achieve effective student learning by encouraging direct experience with plants and animals in a stimulating agricultural environment (which includes the classroom and on the school’s working farm).
* To develop agricultural skills (often with the application of new technology), knowledge and understanding of the principles of agricultural science to the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products in a sustainable environment.
* To promote an interest in agriculture and to provide a career path for students interested in agriculture, horticulture, agriculture or veterinary science, agribusiness or environmental science.
* To promote enjoyment in the pursuit of agricultural learning.
Karen Johnston Head Teacher
Agriculture is a compulsory subject for all Year 7 to 10 students an elective subject in Years 11 & 12.
The school has 115ha available for farming purposes. Our Ayrshire Dairy Herd accounts for most of the land use. We have another 6 enterprises – beef cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry.
Hurlstone has a Farm Manager and three assistant farm staff. The members of the teaching staff, are allocated responsibility for coordinating an enterprise with the assistance of farm manager and farm staff. Vocational education Primary Industry is also incorporated into the main stream curriculum and the students are encouraged to meet their work placement requirements during school vacations. Most placements are made in the student’s home districts.
The Farm Enterprises
This is the major enterprise both in scale, resource use and income potential. The dairy is the major income source of the farm, through a milk supply contract with Dairy farmers. Year 9 students are rostered to work the dairy each afternoon from 3.30 to 4.30pm and are attached to a Farm assistant. The dairy is an integral part of the education of the students in team building and organisational skills. Duties include herding cattle, cattle milking routines, udder washing/stimulation, putting milking cups on, dispensing feed, washing down. The connection of the computer system at the dairy now allows students to have data generated in the dairy available in the classroom.
This is a new enterprise with 14 breeding ewes and a Ram. All activities with the sheep are carried out by the students on a rostered basis. This enterprise is used in the program for students to understand prime lamb production.
Limousin stud is recently new and is still in the developing stages. Showstock preparation and exhibition provide an ideal context for student learning. To demonstrate modern breeding principles and to produce steers for the Steer shows Artificial insemination is used to speed up genetic improvement and to familiarize students with the technology.
This enterprise has been revamped to meet the animal welfare guidelines for schools. The piggery has 10 breeding sow and 2 boars. The new addition of 2 sows and 5 gilts (Landrace) allows us to run a commercial piggery and students are involved in the preparation and exhibition of these pigs at shows. Students in year 8 are rostered on 5 days per week to care for the pigs as part of a teaching learning unit on piggery production and intensive livestock management.
We have hens in a barn laid situation. Students in year 7 are rostered on to look after the hens as part of a unit on layer production. We also have a pure bred shed where the students look after, and prepare for shows. The schools sells it eggs to staff. During the year there are several batches of meat birds which are used in the Preliminary Teaching program Broiler nutrition trial. This assists students in planning, setting up, running a trial/experiment, collecting and analysing data.
We now have a hydroponics unit, green house, hot houses and work shed area. This is purely an educational resource which is used in the Year 8 program. This system allows the students to conduct experiments with pH and nutrients, calculating ppm of nutrients, calculate the cost to produce and selling price, researching plants from around the world and system designs.
First Stage we have the Salad Farm which we are growing lettuce, herbs and salad greens.
The Second stage will be in the poly house which is being refitted to grow strawberries and tomatoes hydroponically.
This Program provides an invaluable opportunity for students to gain practical experience, develop hands on skills, work in a team environment, accept responsibility, mix with “industry experts” and make contacts useful for future employment.
Dairy Cattle – Students are involved in all the activities associated with showing, halter breaking of heifers, washing, clipping, grooming and parading and some shows are attended each year culminating at Sydney Royal.
Steer program – steers are halter broken, trained, washed, clipped and groomed for Sydney Royal for the Hook and Hoof competition. Other shows are attended yearly with the stud stock. Members also participate in parading and judging competitions at these events.
Judging competitions – Students are involved in junior judging competitions principally for Sydney Royal in Dairy, Cattle, Poultry, Pigs, Grain, Fruit and Vegetables.