Agriculture students make clean sweep at Crops Competition

28 September 2018
Competitors from across Australia and the US have taken their lecture knowledge into the field in a hands-on test of their skills in agronomy, live crop-yield potential, and plant and disease identification.
The winning University of Sydney team at the 2018 Australian Universities Crop Competition in Temora.

The winning University of Sydney team at the 2018 Australian Universities Crop Competition in Temora.


A team from the Sydney Institute of Agriculture at the University of Sydney has won the 2018 Australian Universities Crop Competition held in Temora, NSW, this week.

The University made a clean sweep at the annual competition, also winning the top-three places in the individual category.

First place in the individual category was won by Annie Rayner, second place was awarded to Jeremy Prananto and in third place was Jono Moore. In the team category, the University of Sydney claimed first prize, followed by Charles Sturt University and US champions Kansas State University was in third place.  

The annual event tests agriculture students on their knowledge and skills through a mixture of theory and hands-on tests, covering agronomics and farm business management. It is designed to give the students’ in-field experience and assist in building their networks with peers from across the country and internationally. It is an annual initiative of national grain farmers' body, GrainGrowers.

There were 49 students competing from Charles Sturt University, the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, La Trobe University, the University of Sydney as well as US Crop Contest champions Kansas State University and other US teams from University of Iowa, Virginia Tech University and University of Minnesota.

In November, the three University of Sydney winners will embark upon a fully-funded 10-day international study tour supported by GrainGrowers to compete in the Fall Collegiate Crops Contest held in Kansas and Chicago, USA.

Ms Rayner said: "I wasn't expecting to win as there were many talented students from Australia and the USA in this competition. I come from a farm near Henty, NSW, and the trip to USA will be a good opportunity to visit some large agricultural enterprises.”

Professor Alex McBratney, Director of the Sydney Institute of Agriculture, said: “A truly phenomenal performance, congratulations to everyone involved.”

During the competition the students had the opportunity to take their knowledge from the lecture theatre to the field. The competition included components like farm business management, grain grading, live crop yield potential, live crop weed and foliar diseases identification.

"I was very pleased at their dedication in training as a team during our stay in Temora," said the team student coach, Isabel Hinchcliffe.

Associate Professor Daniel Tan from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences said: "Our agronomy and soil science programs provide our students with a solid foundation to apply their practical skills in the field. Some of our students have never seen crops like lentils and field peas before and they have managed to quickly pick up these practical skills in time for the competition.”

The students in the winning Sydney team were Annie Rayner, Jeremy Prananto, Jonathon Moore, Lily Logan, Michael Norman, Rohan Corrigan, Si Yang Han, Mathew Wajzer, Caitlin Cavanagh and Patricia Howell.