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Dookie College tour for potential agricultural scientists

By Country News

Future agricultural scientists were given the tools to pursue a career in the industry at University of Melbourne’s Dookie Campus last week.

The campus was opened to about 40 Year 11 and 12 students from schools throughout the Goulburn Valley who have a strong interest in science.

Dookie Campus professor in residence Tim Reeves said he was prompted to host the day after speaking with some of the college’s third-year students.

‘‘They had told me that if they had of known more about agriculture and Dookie in Year 11 it would have made their decision so much easier,’’ Prof Reeves said.

He said students heard from a variety of guest speakers in the industry who described how science worked within their careers.

Students heard from Elders Shepparton agronomist Michael Heyneman on crop and pasture management, Helen Murdoch from Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority on using science for natural resource management, as well as social sciences in managing people’s behaviours and attitudes towards the district’s catchments.

DEDJTR Tatura Research Centre’s Bruce Gill spoke to students on the use of 3D visualisation for irrigation and sustainable water use, and a veterinarian told them about science used in animal health and welfare.

Goulburn Valley Grammar student Kurt Lukies said the content had been interesting and he had been surprised by the level of technology used in agriculture.

The day ended with two practical activities showcasing technology use on farms.

Darcy Warren from the Foundation for Arable Research Australia (FAR Australia) showed students the different ways crops could be monitored using drone cameras.

He said a huge benefit of using drones over satellite imagery was the higher resolution of images taken on drone cameras.

Finally students were taken to Dookie’s robotic dairy and finished the day off with a round-table discussion.

‘‘Hopefully they’ll be motivated for the year ahead,’’ Prof Reeves said.