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Optimus Prime Paddock To Plate (Cream of the Crop entrant)

Optimus Prime Paddock To Plate (Cream of the Crop entrant)



100 days to raise a steer to its full potential. See how a group of agriculture students from Sydney tackle the 2009 Uni-Steer Competition.

100 days to raise a steer to its full potential. See how a group of agriculture students from Sydney tackle the 2009 Uni-Steer Competition.



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    Optimus Prime Paddock To Plate (Cream of the Crop entrant) Optimus Prime Paddock To Plate (Cream of the Crop entrant) Presentation Transcript

    • I’m Laura, too! Hi! I’m Laura I’m Alex We are here to tell you how a LEARNING PARTNERSHIP between High Schools and a University has given us AUTHENTIC experiences in Agricultural education!
    • Our story is about linking the real world experiences with our in school experiences in raising prime beef. Do you know where your meat comes from?
    • The partnership between The University of Western Sydney and Secondary Schools in the same region began 14 years ago. It is organised and managed by volunteer support from Agriculture Teachers, Staff and students from the University and NSW TAFE, and others who promote, judge the events, and sponsor the schools to help cover feed and transport costs.
    • The aim of the Uni-Schools Steer competition is to encourage agriculture students in High Schools in Western Sydney region. Each school receives a Poll Hereford Steer and has 100 days to raise the steer to its full potential… …but what does that mean? For more information about the project you can go to: http://www.uws.edu.au/unischools_steer/unischools_steer_project
    • Monitoring growth and Training developmen the So, what do t students we need to to lead the do with the animal. steer girls?? Balancing Lots of our teamwork production costs like real farmers
    • May 2009 – Our Show team boarded the school bus and went to an official Opening Ceremony at the University of Western Sydney. We checked out our competitors from other schools, collected our steer, and brought him back to our farm to start the 100 day challenge.
    • Transforming from a skinny This is our to a beefy steer steer called Optimus Prime (….beef) He weighed x 364 kgs when we picked him up, and we got him up to 497 kgs ready for the Show Days.
    • The Show Days were our real tests. We were judged on our parading skills, animal management and welfare knowledge, as well as the weight and appearance of Optimus Prime himself.
    • Getting the steer AND the paraders trained was hard work, but fun!
    • We used the halter to gain control of the steer. These are some of the actions we used to train Optimus. It took time and patience and practice!
    • Paraders need to show off their You also have to securely animal to the judge, keep his hold the leads, keep eye head up, and under control at all contact with me, and keep times…AND you have to look your steer calm, all while like you are enjoying yourself! walking around looking confident! At least I’m standing square
    • Part of the Showing experience was the grooming process, making him look bigger then he already is… Trimming the fur to make it all even and feel like velvet 
    • Our challenge included managing risks and dangers, and over-coming any fear of handling large animals Working with large animals has advantages and disadvantages. Our steer weighed over 460kg, so learning to control him was extremely difficult. As some students feared the steer, it was a challenge for them to work up the courage to lead him and show him who was boss. Learning to lead him enabled us to develop our self confidence and self-respect. We learned to respect animal behaviour and manage for risks by having the right equipment, being aware of possible dangers and having lots of support from teachers and fellow students.
    • Accidents did happen, However, in the end, it including the occasional became second nature to head-butt and being lead him and have dragged across the school control to get him to walk oval! This was entertaining – stop – stand. for students doing sport on It proved to an enjoyable the school oval! experience for all.
    • Where Will This Lead Us In The Future? Hello! We are Ag teachers at Caroline Chisholm We LOVE College. agriculture ! This competition gave us a thorough understanding of Australia’s agriculture industries, animal welfare and ethical concerns, and what it takes to enhance the quality of Australian produce. Real possibilities of working in Agriculture include areas such as: education, animal welfare and ethics, advertising/marketing, research into genetics, breeding, nutrition, pest and disease management, and sustaining farming to make sure Agriculture can survive into the future.
    • While taking care of our steer, we learnt about some environmental impacts of beef production which must be managed to sustain the industry into the future… • Protect vegetation cover by not overgrazing • Limit soil compaction from hard hooves and machinery • Rotate paddocks regularly to allow pasture recovery • Balance the mix of native and exotic plant species to drought-proof the farm and improve biodiversity • Manage water pollution from manure-contaminated runoff by contouring the land into holding ponds
    • Meet Ag Found independence students from other schools Gained Talked with confidence experts in in ourselves the field On a personal level, we are now more aware of the environmental and health concerns of meat production. Buy food locally to avoid over-using fossil fuels for transport, and to ensure fresh produce. We now know where our food comes from and the effort needed to grow it.
    • We also learnt about the economics of the beef industry INPUTS such as the costs of feed, medical treatments, and transport must be less than how much income is made from the OUTPUTS such as the meat, leather, and fertilizer products sold. This is why farmers must always monitor how much they spend in growing their produce and continuously check the quality of their animals.
    • We are often asked, “How did the Unisteer Challenge reflect Reality?”… The Unisteer experience allowed us to come to terms with the question “Do you know where your meat comes from?” We now understand the costs and risks involved in being cattle producers. We are also aware of the amazing scientific research and development that has contributed to breeding and growing the best beef in Australia.
    • Just chillin’ with my peeps! It is important to decrease stress, make sure our animals have water and nutrients, and they are comfortable in their surroundings. It improves the meat quality – but more importantly it is ethically right.
    • Saying Good-Bye to “Optimus-Prime.” It was hard not to humanise our steer – we got emotionally attached to him. But this made us more aware of the welfare and ethical issues around raising animals for meat.
    • Thanks for watching! Thanks to the Uni-Steer Competition for real-world, AUTHENTIC experiences in Agriculture!
    • This is a Laura, Alex and Laura Presentation for the 2009