Sims Farm students reap rewards

HARVEST: Nellie Barbala (Port Lincoln), Tony Zwar, Ree Martin (Elliston) and Aleks Sulajic in the scepter wheat crop in Sims Farm's Three Corner paddock.
HARVEST: Nellie Barbala (Port Lincoln), Tony Zwar, Ree Martin (Elliston) and Aleks Sulajic in the scepter wheat crop in Sims Farm's Three Corner paddock.

For many farmers on the Eyre Peninsula, this season has been a waiting game and harvest will be the end of that game.

Agriculture students studying at Cleve Area School’s Sims Farm have also been playing the waiting game and now they get to see the results of the season.

Cleve Area School agriculture teacher Aleks Sulajic said the students had done all of the work that went into growing a crop.

“The students have had to choose their seeding rate and actually sowed the seed themselves,” Mr Sulajic said.

“Now they’ve done their own crop yield estimations and have gone through the header school, now they’re reaping their crop themselves, with the help of Tony (Zwar) and myself.”

Ree Martin, a boarder from Elliston, has been working on the crop in the ‘Three Corner’ paddock at Sims Farm with fellow boarder Nellie Barbala from Port Lincoln.

“We sowed the crop at 70 kilograms per hectare and we took five samples for our crop yield estimations, with most getting around 2.4 tonnes per hectare but we averaged around 2.37 tonnes per hectare,” Mr Martin said.

The pair have sown Scepter wheat seeds from Modra Seeds in Cummins, which the school is looking to use as a replacement for mace on lupin stubble.

Miss Barbala said they were worried about the weather outlook for the district earlier in the year.

“We were definitely worried by the lack of rain but we wouldn’t change anything that we did throughout the year,” she said.

“Considering the year, we’re really happy with how the crop is.”

Mr Sulajic said the school had also started to grow a new variety of barley, Forrest barley, to generate seed stock.

“We have got about 15 tonnes of Forrest barely, which held up really well in the wind, and that’s enough for us to sow next year, as well as some for supplementary sheep feed,” he said.

“We’ve also cut quite a lot of hay, yulara oats and vetch, around 80 round bales.”

Cleve Area School’s agriculture program is still thriving, with the school’s boarding house full and another house now available for students.

The school is also looking for private boarding accommodation for a student, who is determined to attend the school next year, having already chosen her subjects for next year, and is just waiting on accommodation.

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