Study on the Farm

Students from Years 10-13 can gain exposure to the wealth of career opportunities in the Primary Sector through either Agricultural and Horticultural Science, or MAGS’ new AgriBusiness course aimed at Commerce and Science students.

Agricultural and Horticultural Science

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A Radio NZ interview with students and teachers about learning on the farm

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Below is a taste of some of the lessons taken by our Agricultural and Horticultural Science students:

Students learn how to ride safe

Agriculture students learn how to ride safe

Year 13 Agricultural Science students are assessed on their skills in riding ATVs, or All Terrain Vehicles, more commonly known as quad bikes.

Teachers are assisted by private training providers in observing the students’ safe riding skills and giving them further advice and encouragement.

“Accidents on quad bikes happen every week on farms around New Zealand, so we consider this safety assessment an important part of the Agricultural Science course,” says Head of Agricultural Science, Ms Esther Hancock.

Most of the students learn how to ride ATVs in theory and practical lessons over two years. Skills they master include how to shift their body weight to keep the ATV stable over different terrain, and how to dismount safely if need be in hilly, slippery situations.

Green fingers in the Horticulture glasshouse

Green fingers in the Horticulture glasshouse

Year 12 and 13 Horticulture students learn how plants don’t need soil to thrive – they can grow a fine crop of lettuces in only water.

The hydroponic system in the school glasshouse is put into action to grow Buttercrunch lettuces from seed. Students learn how much of each nutrient to add to the constantly flowing water to get the best results, also keeping an eye on the Ph of the water and the humidity level of the glasshouse.

Agricultural Science students get hands-on experience

Agricultural Science students get hands-on experience

The Year 13 Agricultural Science Livestock Handling Camp is held at Otiwhiti Station near Hunterville each year.

Students spend five days at the 3250 hectare sheep and cattle station. This commercial station teaches hill country sheep and cattle skills to a group of not more than 10 cadets each year. The Year 13 Agriculture class are lucky enough to join them drenching, ear tagging and weighing steers and hoggets. Ewes are drafted depending on their proximity to lambing.

Other activities include horse riding, dog training, pest control and fencing. Students appreciate the opportunity to be involved with the seasonal operations on a commercial hill country farm.

Students thanked for Easter Show work

MAGS Agricultural Science Students thanked for Easter Show work

A group of MAGS’ Agricultural Science students were praised by the organisers of the Easter Show’s Farmworld for their help.

Record crowds of more than 130,000 people poured into the show, with many eager for the opportunity to pet and feed a range of animals, including sheep, pigs, goats, chickens and donkeys. MAGS Year 10 and Year 13 volunteers worked long hours over five days mixing animal food and distributing it to the crowds, watching over the animals to keep them safe, shovelling manure and hauling away heavy buckets of rubbish. Following a review of the show, Farmworld organiser Mr Matthew Swaffield said the students were reliable, positive, level-headed, hard-working and great at working independently. He was particularly pleased at how the “old hands” – students who had worked at the show previously – were professional in the way they introduced the “newbies” to the job.

“All the students worked well with the public and were a credit to their school,” said Mr Swaffield.

He looked forward to once more working with MAGS Agricultural Science students at a future Easter Show.