The College operates a side rapid exit dairy, milking approximately 140 Holstein cows. Full production figures are maintained with computer-controlled supplementary feeding and integrated identification systems, and activity meters have been introduced to help in heat detection to aid the breeding programs. Females are inseminated both naturally and artificially and the dairy complex provides the perfect opportunity for training purposes. At the beginning of 2023, the College purchased 4 Guernsey and 1 Jersey cows were added to the herd.
The Dairy operates two centre pivots, which cover 26ha, plus an additional 8ha under surface irrigation for summer fodder crops.
The Holstein Stud is involved in preparing and showing heifers at the Harvey, Brunswick and Perth Royal Shows.
Each year approximately 150 dairy calves are reared. All females from this enterprise are kept for replacements of the dairy herd and all males are sold at approximately two months of age.
The beef herd consists of approximately 280 Angus base breeders. The progeny of the commercial herd is sold to various markets. A feed-lot trial occurs during Term 1. The Angus stud consists of 25 females, with bulls bred and selected to be used in the commercial herd. Students are involved in the preparing and showing of stud and commercial cattle at different venues throughout the year.
The College comprises of a 500 self-replacing fine wool Merino flock which includes a Fine Wool Poll Merino Stud and ewes mated to Poll Dorset rams for prime lamb production. Students are trained in general sheep husbandry, shearing and wool handling. Students are involved in various shows and competitions throughout the year including wool and ram judging at Wagin Woolorama and shearer/shed hand courses.
ORCHARD AND VINEYARDS
Students learn a range of knowledge and skills in managing grape vines through table and Shiraz wine grapes. Most of the produce is used to supply the kitchen or sold at Open Day. The College manages an orchard in which different varieties of mandarins and oranges are grown as well as avocadoes. Students are exposed to all aspects of orchard management, tree care and picking and packing for market.
The College grows a range of seasonal vegetables predominately for the kitchen and students are involved in all aspects of plants, growing, harvest and preparation for market. Small areas of vegetables are grown from time to time and sold in the wholesale markets in Perth. A number of raised beds and a hothouse are used to produce kitchen ready vegetables ands produce year round.
PARKS AND GARDENS
The extensive garden areas around the College provide an opportunity for students to learn all aspects of ornamental garden and turf development and maintenance. In addition, students are involved with propagating a range of plant types for production and Landcare purposes.
Students are involved in pasture establishment and renovation, silage and meadow hay production and summer cropping. Dry land and irrigation fodder cropping techniques are demonstrated. Harvey Water utilises the College’s resources to trial alternative summer fodder crop under irrigation.
The equine section is situated close to residence, enabling students to attend to their horses after hours. Horse agistment facilities are available for students wishing to have their horse on site, the facilities can house up to 10 horses, plus 8 College horses. Students have access to an arena and allocated paddocks on the Farm.
The College butchershop processes farm grown beef, sheep and pigs and packs ready for kitchen use. Students receive instruction in breaking down carcasses, manufacturing small goods and using techniques such as cryovacing and smoking etc.
THE FARM - INTENSIVE
POULTRY - Approximately 130 Hyline chickens living in deep litter facilities at the Eco-Shelter and caravan, producing eggs for the kitchen.
AQUACULTURE - Not in use at the present time.
PIGS - The College has a small piggery which is used to breed piglets to provide rations for the kitchen. This section is an intensive operation where students regularly weigh and monitor pig health for the market.
SHEEP - The section has 85 Dorper sheep bred to supply meat to the kitchen
EXTRA FARM ACTIVITIES
During the year students are involved in numerous activities during and after school hours. These events give the students an opportunity to gain experience in specific areas of interest.
This annual event is held in Wagin at the end of Term 1 over several days. Students compete in various events ranging in sheep judging, wool grading, shearing, cattle leading and judging.
DOWERIN FIELD DAY
In Term 3, the College takes a fencing team from each year over to Dowerin to compete against other schools and teams. This event is used for students to put into practice the fencing skills they have learnt at the College over the three years.
FARM SKILLS—PERTH ROYAL SHOW
At the end of Term 3 a contingent of students from all years’ head off to the Perth Royal Show to compete in a Farm Skills competition run prior to the commencement of the official opening.
The Agricultural College and School Competition assists students studying agricultural subjects to develop their skills and gain confidence and experience whilst competing in events such as fence construction, pressing and branding a bale of wool, tractor driving obstacle course and safety, wool appraisal, cutting steel plate, chemical safety and first aid.
The Cattle Club was formed for students to work with show cattle after school. Students who participate are taught to halter train, lead and prepare for shows. Students are then given the opportunity to show their heifers at the Perth Royal and numerous South West shows.
The College is involved in other farm courses and activities throughout the year.
These may include:
Gate 2 Plate
Katanning Expo Agriculture School Challenge
Interschool Equine Challenge at Narrogin Ag
Dairy Innovation Day
Youth Cattle Handlers Camp
Low Stress Stock Handling Course