Next generation of plant scientists grow their way to the top
|Glasshouse Christian College, crowned "Champions" in 2016|
A giant two kilogram sunflower grown by Glasshouse Christian College has topped the 2016 University of Queensland Sunflower Competition.
The 2.023kg sunflower topped a weigh-in at UQ Gatton campus on May 18, after 3000 high school students put their plant science skills to the test in the classroom.
Head of Agricultural Science at Glasshouse Christian College Jade King said the winning team of Year 10 students used liquid-soluble fertiliser and applied their new knowledge of nutritional requirements of plants to grow the biggest sunflower.
Plant Pathologist Associate Professor Vic Galea from UQ’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences said he was impressed by the calibre of entries.
“It was great to see the students rewarded for all of their hard work in the classroom over the past 12 weeks and their dedication to the task of nurturing their sunflowers showed they were committed and wanted to be involved in a fun and educational project,” he said.
“This year we have seen a number of new schools join the competition and attend the weigh-in, as well as some schools taking part from Western Australia and Tasmania.
“We have seen a particularly warm growing season this year and saw many advanced plants presented at the weigh-in day.”
With the record 4.45kg set by Mueller College in 2014 in their sights, students planted their sunflowers on February 23, experimenting with different soils, light regimes, water applications and fertilisers.
Students had to consider environmental factors like weather and growing conditions in their region, and how these affected the sunflowers’ growth.
The budding agriculturalists and their teachers took part in interactive science activities, heard from Neal Menzies, Professor of Soil and Environmental Science at UQ, enjoyed a BBQ lunch and toured the Gatton campus.
UQ’s Sunflower Competition, now in its 17th year, promotes the science behind agronomy and horticulture.
The competition is an interactive learning opportunity to encourage a new generation of plant scientists to uphold Australia’s position at the forefront of agricultural production.
Teachers use the competition to deliver the science curriculum in a plant-based context.
Schools in remote and regional areas who cannot attend the weigh-in day are encouraged to enter the Communicating Science category of the competition.
The competition is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, The Australian Sunflower Association (ASA), Pacific Seeds, AgForce, Nuseed, Queensland Agriculture Teachers' Association (QATA) and the UQ Gatton Past Students Association (UQGPSA).
Glasshouse Christian College 2.023kg
Australian Sunflower Association ‘Heaviest’ Sunflower Category
|1st – Glasshouse Christian College 2.023kg|
|2nd – St Edmunds College 1.957kg|
|3rd - Pittsworth SHS 1.924kg|
Dow AgroSciences ‘Heaviest’ Sunflower Category Years 11&12
|1st – Marymount College 1.871kg|
|2nd – Marymount College 1.719kg|
|3rd – Laidley SHS 1.266kg|
|Tallest Sunflower Prize||St Edmunds College 2.56m|
|Most Ornamental Sunflower Prize||Laidley SHS|
|Encouragement Award 1||St Aidans Anglican Girls School|
|Encouragement Award 2||Dalby SHS|
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