University of Sydney students compete against the brightest in the world

Following the University of Sydney’s clean sweep at the 2018 Australian Universities Crops Competition (AUCC) in Temora earlier this year, the three top placed students Annie Rayner, Jeremy Prananto and Jonathon Moore were awarded the opportunity to compete in the United States Collegiate Crops Judging Contest in Kansas City and Chicago this month.

While the University of Sydney students weren’t able to take out a place in the Collegiate Crops Competition, they relished the international exposure and the opportunity to network with students from the leading agricultural universities in America.  The students successfully competed in three divisions – seed analysis, weed, seed and disease identification and grain grading.

Annie Rayner said that she appreciated seeing a different system of production and land management.
“I really enjoyed seeing the agricultural landscape and the variety of crops in the U.S.  I learnt about how their seed accreditation, grain grading, and grain delivery differs to ours.

“I’ve gained an appreciation of the variety of cropping weeds in the U.S. and I’m interested in learning more about how they manage different weed problems and if we can apply these approaches to diversify our weed control in Australia,” Annie said.

The students were particularly thankful for the Kansas State and Iowa State University teams who helped them prepare for plant varieties and names they had never seen before, together with a completely new system of grain grading.

GrainGrowers CEO David McKeon said that expanding the opportunities for top Australian agricultural students and connecting with the global nature of the grains industry is a critical part of equipping them to make the most of opportunities after their studies.

“We are very proud of our Australian students’ efforts in the competition, which attracts the top undergraduate agricultural university students from across the United States for the honour to compete,” Mr McKeon said.

Further to the competition, the Australian university students met with industry leaders and toured state of the art research facilities in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Washington D.C. Highlights from the trip included visiting Bayer, Kansas Wheat Innovation Centre, Best Harvest Bakeries and Chicago Board of Trade.

The AUCC is an annual initiative of national grain farmers’ representative body, GrainGrowers. AUCC is part of GrainGrowers’ commitment to fostering skills development and leadership capacity in the Australian grains industry. The competition puts tertiary agricultural students together in the field and tests 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 but of equal importance, assist in building their networks and test their skills with peers from across the country and internationally.

To find out more visit GrainGrowers website.