On Thursday 18 October, the work of our third year Bachelor of Agriculture students was on display at their Capstone Project Showcase.

When studying the Bachelor of Agriculture, students complete a capstone subject: Professional Practice for AgricultureThis subject provides students with the opportunity to apply the theoretical and practical knowledge acquired during their Bachelor of Agriculture degree to analyse large-scale challenges confronting agricultural industries. The students carried out individual and group project work aimed at identifying practical responses to a range of complex agricultural industry challenges including:

  • climate change adaption,
  • peri-urban land use conflict,
  • labour use and international competitiveness in the horticulture industry
  • food security in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia.

Students presented their work in poster format and discussed their ideas for future action with industry representatives, faculty staff, parents and friends.

Professor Herbert J. Kronzucker, Head, School of Agriculture and Food along with subject coordinators Dr Sarah Frankland and Dr Michael Santhanam-Martin, congratulated students on their achievements and presented four outstanding achievement awards. The outstanding achievement awards were for each group's in-class presentations of their posters. The outstanding achievement awards were presented to:

The Murray-Darling Basin plan : the good, the bad, the future
By Paige Moloney, Kyrra Rea, Benjamin Seamer and Jessica Whiteside

These students explored the sustainability challenge ‘Towards sustainable water management in Northern Victoria’. Their investigations covered progress to achieving the triple bottom line of social, environmental and economic sustainability, including specific focuses on rice farming and impacts on local communities. They recommended online business health checks to assist rural communities improve their sustainability, hosted on the Murray Darling Basin Authority website.  The intention is to provide rural businesses with the necessary knowledge and advice to adapt to changes and continue to improve efficiency with limited resources.

Increasing consumer confidence in animal products
By Jocelyn Bennett, Amy Farmer, Lilian Leerson and Anna Tsoukalas

These students explored the sustainability challenge ‘Responding to changing expectations for animal agriculture’. Their investigations covered mulesing, meat consumption and consumer perceptions of the animal agriculture industry.  They recommended a public awareness campaign, along the lines of slip slop slap to encourage reduced animal product consumption. The intention is to encourage sustainability and improved animal welfare through changes in consumer consumption behaviour.

Managing Melbourne’s food bowl: feeding Melbourne’s 7 million by 2050
By Kiana Barrie-Gresham, Alexander Burnside and Georgia O’Shea

These students explored the sustainability challenge ‘managing Melbourne’s food bowl’. Their investigations covered land use policy, better transport networks and managing food waste. They recommended a roundtable to gather key stakeholders together, with the intention of influencing the State Government Planning Minister. The intention is to help prepare government to improve policy on land use and food waste.

Reducing chemical use in broadacre crops
By Michael Heran, Lisa Rayner, Jordan Smark and Isabella Xu

These students explored the sustainability challenge ‘reducing chemical use in broadacre farming’. Their individual investigations examined a variety of technology options including genetic modification of crops and biological controls. They concluded that more conferences and workshops are needed where agronomists and farm advisors can be exposed to the latest scientific research on integrated pest management techniques. This will equip advisors to support practice change amongst farmers.

A people's choice award was presented at the end of the evening, with attendees able to vote for their favourite poster, the winning poster was by Dylan Brookes, Patrick Conlan and Riley Hamilton with their poster Rethinking Chemical Use in Broadacre Farming.