Emma Tadday: Sharing my love of agriculture and the land

A Bachelor of Agriculture can lead to a wide range of careers, from research to banking, but Emma Tadday (Australia) has known she wanted to work directly with animals on farms since before she started school.

She says the opportunities she had growing up kept her dream of agriculture in mind before she enrolled at the University of Melbourne. She worked on a dairy farm in New Zealand, kept pet sheep and worked with racehorses in her casual job during high school.

Emma Tadday
Emma Tadday says the University of Melbourne's Dookie campus and her job nearby have given her opportunities to see agricultural science put into practice.

“I love the work because I am around animals all day, plus I am outside and doing physical work,” she says.

“I love being outside when it is freezing cold, with thick fog around and frost on the cows’ backs, or when you are sweating so much because it is incredibly hot. I love the connection you make with your work dogs, through training them and working as a team to get the job done while doing what they love.

“I love shearing time, feeling the wool, working with the shearing team, then seeing how good the lines are in the sale room.”

Emma also wants to showcase farm life and the work farmers do through her Instagram account. The University of Melbourne shared Emma’s recent stories in a Student Takeover, showing her mustering sheep and pregnancy scanning ewes with sheep dogs Ellie and Baz at her job in Victoria’s high country.

“I’m hoping it inspires others’ dreams to see that a city girl like me can become a farm girl too.”

You can follow Emma on Instagram to see how food and fibre is produced, and head to the University of Melbourne's profile to see this and other Student Takeovers.

With her love of the outdoors, it’s no surprise Emma chose to spend most of her Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus in the tranquil hills of the Goulburn Valley.

She says it’s a fantastic place to learn agriculture, with plenty of opportunities to see the real-world impact of science, and to experience it hands-on, as well as gain industry connections.

The Goulburn Valley is one of Australia’s key agricultural regions and home to a wide variety of farming operations, from horticulture and viticulture to dairy, wool and cropping. The nearby city of Shepparton is a hub of food processing and distribution, and the region is home to a range of scientific organisations, including Dookie campus.

Emma was surprised at how much she was able to learn, from the science of cropping in the classroom to driving a tractor and learning how to class wool quality – which resulted in her obtaining a wool classer’s stencil, showing she is registered in the profession.

“Getting a farming job near the campus, being able to live in the country and being a part of the Dookie community have been real highlights for me too.”

Angel Rossi
The University of Melbourne's Dookie campus in the Goulburn Valley.

The Dookie campus is a close-knit community of students, researchers, and farmers. Alongside its commercial business and its role in education, it contributes to the future of agriculture through research in fields as varying as robotic dairying, aerial crop health and growth monitoring, sustainable weed management using microwave technology, animal health maintenance in hot and dry periods, and animal nutrition.

Emma has been able to experience this research first-hand at Dookie, in a trial that investigated how a diet including wheat and radishes affected sheep health and the wheat yield.

“I loved learning from and working with the PhD students and professors with this project because it made the theory from the classroom more interesting,” she says.

The Bachelor of Agriculture has three majors: Agricultural Economics, Production Animal Science, and Plant and Soil Science. Emma chose the latter because it gave her the opportunity to spend more time learning on the land at Dookie campus.

But agriculture allows people to enter a range of careers and many farms, including Dookie, mix cropping or horticulture with livestock to optimise land use and improve the resilience of their businesses.

Now in her final year, Emma is working on a nearby sheep farm. It’s a goal she’s had for some time.

“It’s been a great opportunity to continue learning how to be a farmer, including mustering with dogs, while I study,” she says.

“And the Bachelor of Agriculture has enabled me to be a very educated farmer in the future.”

You can follow Emma on Instagram and watch her Student Takeover Instagram story here, where she musters with sheep dogs Baz and Ellie.