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Curtin students strive to be pick of the crop in national competition

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Five Curtin agribusiness students will vie for the title of ‘top of the crop’ as part of a national industry-led competition aimed at taking agriculture from the classroom to the paddock.

The students will make up Team Curtin in the 10th year of the Australian Universities Crops Competition (AUCC) – an event that attracts some of the brightest young agriculture students from around Australia and overseas.

Nine university teams will head to Temora, New South Wales on September 25 for three days of competition aimed at improving the awareness, connectivity and engagement between universities and the agricultural industry, with Team Curtin hoping to bring home the university trophy as well as the chance for one of them to be announced overall champion.

Curtin Agribusiness Discipline Lead and Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) Project Leader, Dr Sarita Bennett, has been mentoring the teams for the past nine years and will be helping the students prepare for three days of intense competition this year once again.

“This contest is a really valuable way of taking what the students are learning in our course and applying it to real-life situations by making them solve everyday situations being faced by growers, but in a fun and supportive environment,” Dr Bennett said.

“As part of the competition, they will have to make crucial decisions about every aspect of an agribusiness supply chain from input costs and variety selection to yield potential and end markets. They will do this through written tests and field tour evaluations so they get a good look at production methods, growing environments and research and development underway in the Australian grains industry.”

Run by GrainGrowers Ltd, the competition’s real-life connection to the crop industry is what caught the attention of Centre for Crop and Disease Management Co-Director Professor Mark Gibberd, leading him to sponsor the team’s trip to Temora.

“The role of CCDM as a research centre is to help reduce the economic impact of crop disease in the Australian grains industry, so for us as an organisation that is co-supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation and Curtin University, it makes total sense for us to get behind these bright young minds that we know will go on to have an important influence in guiding this industry in the future,” Professor Gibberd said.

Team Curtin consists of third-year Curtin agribusiness students Grace Lamont, James Franklin and Michaela Hendry, as well as second-year students Jordanne Medlen and Tristan Clarke. They will be pitting their knowledge against 65 students and teachers from four other Australian university teams and four from the USA.

“This competition is a great chance for us to really test our agricultural knowledge and skills, as well as provide some amazing networking opportunities with other students and businesses involved in agriculture,” third-year student Grace Lamont said.

A careers expo will also be held during the competition, giving students the opportunity to speak to industry professionals about future career prospects.

For more information on the Australian Universities Crop Competition click here

To learn more about the Centre for Crop and Disease Management click here or for more information on Curtin’s Bachelor of Agribusiness degree click here

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