Last year’s team from Lockyer District High School placed third in the competition weighing in at 1.43kg.
Last year’s team from Lockyer District High School placed third in the competition weighing in at 1.43kg.
16 February 2011

As high schools across South-East Queensland compete to grow the heaviest sunflower in The University of Queensland’s annual Sunflower Competition the focus will also be on the diverse range of careers available in plant science.

Open to students in years 8 to 12 from Queensland and Northern New South Wales, registrations for the competition close on February 18 with schools that competed in 2010 showing enthusiasm and determination to tip the scales again in 2011.

Lockyer District High School teacher Kent Smith says the enthusiasm students demonstrated on the day of the weigh-in has ensured that they are returning this year for their shot at the title of heaviest sunflower.

"I was surprised by the imaginative treatments utilised, and gratified that deep down, some students had used class work to come up with their preparation of the plants," Mr Smith said.

"The excitement amongst the successful team means that we will certainly include the project in our course work for 2011."

The competition is designed to encourage students to learn more about agriculture by participating in hands-on, exciting and rewarding plant activities. Schools participating in the competition will grow their sunflowers over the 11-week growing period.

Schools enter teams from various year levels and receive a sunflower kit, complete with seeds and an instruction booklet designed to test their skills to experiment with various ideas and conditions including different potting mixes, soil, fertilisers and light regimes with the outcome being to grow the heaviest sunflower.

The official planting date is March 1 with the Weigh-In Day and crowning of the heaviest sunflower being held on May 24.

The Weigh-In Day will be held at UQ Gatton and is a fun and educational day where students can come along for the official weigh-in, get involved in plant science activities, learn about career pathways, meet industry representatives and hear from academics in the field of plant science.

Sponsored by Pacific Seeds, Australian Sunflower Association, Grains Research Foundation (GRF) and Agforce, the entrants will have their best sunflowers judged with prizes being awarded to the heaviest sunflower produced.

To register your school, call (07) 5460 1279 or email

For more information visit

Media: Erin Pearl at UQ Gatton (+61 7 54601 229) or Shirley Glaister at UQ Communications on 3365 2802.