Agriculture is the future and it is here today, The Hurlstone Story
Hi my name is Jordan Kerr I attend Hurlstone Agricultural High School located in south west Sydney between Liverpool and Campbelltown
Agriculture plays an important role in all of our lives. Agriculture is vital in securing one of our most basic resources food. The vegetables we eat and the milk we drink all come from agriculture. If it was not for agriculture we would not be here today. Thats why we need to study agriculture and work together to ensure that we can continue to feed and clothe everyone in the 21st century.
My Journey at Hurlstone began in 2007. Hurlstone is a school that helps shape the future of Australian Agriculture.
Year 7 at Hurlstone is all about getting into the practical side of agriculture. We grew vegetables in our own veggie gardens whilst also getting to know the farm. The times that we spent planting seeds and watching them grow into tasty vegetables was an amazing agricultural experience.
Year 7 was also when we got to know all of the animals on the farm from the chickens to the goats and onto the pigs. It is an amazing experience.
Year 8 is when the theory behind the agriculture begins. One particular area of study in year 8 is growing hydroponic lettuces using the Nutrient Film Technique
Nutrient film technique (or nutrient flow technique) provides a continuous flow of nutrient solution over the plants roots. It is the stereotype of hydroponics You can read all about it here www.flairform.com/hints/nft.htm systems
In late 2008 the state government attempted to sell the school farm at Hurlstone. The student body and ex students got together and managed to save the farm. During these times I met with a number of politicians and journalists to ensure that our farm was saved. Daily Telegraph 16th October 2009 Farm Sale put in TrustHurlstone Year 9 boarder and agricultural studiesstudent Jordan Kerr yesterday accused theGovernment of trying to turn the school into a"hobby farm with one cow and one sheep"."I am asking, as a student, to please help save myschool and the future of Australia," he said."We are a fully functioning farm that is runningwith a profit. It is the future and the StateGovernment needs to learn to keep its hands off."
Year 9 was a fun and memorable year at Hurlstone. Tractor driving is the big highlight of the year. Being taught how to drive/ operate tractors is a very exciting experience. Year 9 is also a year of more study around the farm.
In 2010, I moved into year 10. Along with the hard theory comes some very different life experiences that would never be available at other high schools. Pregnancy Testing to see if cows are in calf is one that I wont forget.
1. Put on an arms length latex glove and spread some lubricant on the gloved hand. Stand close behind the cow, lift her tail and begin to insert your hand and arm into her rectum.2. Feel the back of the cows uterus, which will be in a downward position, with your inserted hand. Move your hand and arm firmly but gently. After thirty days of gestation, the foetus should be about the size of a softball and will feel like a soft, but distinctive lump under your hand.3. Remove your arm and hand from the cow steadily and gently. You should now have an answer to your question of "is she or isnt she" pregnant.
At Hurlstone in 2011 I am looking forward to studying Primary Industries as part of my HSC This is a Vocational Education and Training course which focuses mainly on the practical side of Agriculture.
The world is changing and so is farming. Advances in computerised technology will help ensure agriculture can satisfy the growing demand for food, reduce poverty and malnutrition and do it in an environmentally sustainable manner
Technology is always changing, becoming more complex and efficient. Technology saves time and money when used in the appropriate places for the right reasons. When used correctly technology can boost the agricultural and community economy and ensure environmental sustainability
To help the Hurlstone School Dairy keep track of their cows and their health I decided I would create a computer software program The program had to be fast, reliable and easy. This would avoid the need for the farm staff to look over the old farm record books.
The task was much harder than I had first anticipated but if it was going to help it was worth doing. The first task to find out what information the database required.
The program was created in Microsoft Access Thankfully my other subjects at school had given me an understanding of what was required. The program took just over 2 months to complete and is now operational. I do regular updates to ensure that all the data is accurate and protected.
The database was completed with Version V.1.1 beginning operation on the school farm during mid September 2009. Since then 10 different versions of the database have been created to allow for more information to be stored.
This is a screen shot of version 1.2.. As you can see the program was very simple with a few basic functions but it is much better than old books for storing data.
The program is very helpful to the farm staff who work on the dairy herd. The program is able to give up to date and accurate information in a few simple clicks rather than a few minutes searching through a record book. The program is a big time saver and works efficiently all day long.
There are a number of other technology advances in agriculture.Some of these technologies include: Automatic Dairy Milking Machines to save time and money. Automatic feed dispensers to feed stock when you are away. and Tractor guidance systems to ensure that the whole field is ploughed in the fastest most environmentally friendly way.
Benefits include: Better environmental and animal welfare outcomes Higher profit margins Improved productivity Faster and more efficient operations leaving more time to spend on other things.
For decades, agricultural science has focused on boosting production through the development of new technologies. It has achieved enormous yield gains as well as lower costs for large-scale farming Going forward the challenge is to ensure we balance the need to feed and clothe the world with the need to avoid land degradation and declining biodiversity
Hurlstone is a selective co-educational agricultural boarding high school in Sydney and its one of a kind. The school caters for over 950 students which includes 300 boarders. The Boarding School is home for students as they learn vital living skills. It brings city and country students together in a rural environment, only 40 minutes from the centre of Sydney. Hurlstone has given me a number of agricultural experiences that wound have never been possible at other NSW public schools. The lessons learnt at Hurlstone stay with you for a lifetime. Students go from being afraid to get mud on their hands in year 7 agriculture to being able to vaccinate sheep and Preg-Test cattle in year 10. The school shapes future agricultural leaders and I am very proud to have the opportunity to study here www.hurlstone.com.au/
With an ever increasing focus on food production and its sustainability schools such as Hurlstone kick start students into agricultural careers. Not only this its helps prepare the next generation of farmers and rural leaders to effectively communicate and respond to the challenges facing Australia’s future.
As our natural resources run out Australia will have to boost its economy. With no coal or gas to export our economy may cripple. The animals we raise and the crops we grow will continue to feed Australians and many people around the world as well as support our economy To ensure this happens investments need to be made now to ensure that Agriculture is able to keep Australia and its economy alive.
Lets embrace the positive influences technology has on all our lives. Lets embrace technology and improvements in agriculture to ensure better productivity and environmental outcomes. Let’s invest in agricultural education to ensure a stable sustainable agricultural industry and food security for all.
WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE SPONSORS OF THE 2010 CREAM OF THE CROP COMPETITIONPLATINUM GOLD SILVER BRONZE