Esperance farm school looks to future with seeding investment

22 June 2018

Ben Roost (left), Staines Esperance, Esperance Senior High School Farm Supervisor Phil Lindsay (right) and Eliot Jones (second from right), McIntosh Distribution, pictured with students overlooking the school’s new seeding bar, an 11-metre (35-foot) Morris Concept 2000 bar, which is hitched to a Morris airseeder, at the Esperance Farm Training Centre.

THE future is looking bright for Esperance Senior High School’s farm program, with solid enrolment numbers leading to investment in new machinery.

The school farm, the Esperance Farm Training Centre, is set on 1000 hectares about 35 kilometres east of Esperance.

Farm Supervisor Phil Lindsay said the mixed enterprise farm included a Suffolk and Red Angus stud, a commercial cattle herd and a 600ha cropping program.

This year’s cropping program will be a mix of serradella, canola, wheat, barley, lupins and oats for hay.

There are 40 students enrolled this year, and on successful completion of the course the students receive a TAFE Certificate 2 in Agriculture as well as their WA Certificate of Education.

“That’s consistently what the program has been receiving in enrolments over the last few years and generally it’s a 50-50 mix of boys and girls,” Phil said.

This year, the school upgraded their cropping machinery and purchased a new 11-metre (35-foot) Morris Concept 2000 bar and airseeder from local dealership, Staines Esperance.

The Concept 2000 features patented independent floating frames and one of the shortest frame depths in the industry to follow the ground for depth accuracy.

Its positive depth-control collars on the hydraulic cylinders allow for fine adjustments for precise seed placement.

They also purchased a second-hand Morris 425 eight series airseeder.

While the purchase was instigated by the school’s previous farm supervisor, Daniel De Beer, Phil said the selection of Morris machinery was the best decision for the future of the program.

“It was a decision that was based on research and reliability, as well as the fact that Morris has a good reputation for having the capabilities to sow in most conditions that we have here,” Phil said.

“It brings the program up to industry standard, as well as giving us the ability in the future to introduce a tramline program, which will improve our sustainability and long-term economic viability.

“We have purchased something that has future-proofed the program because it’s quite large – so if the program develops further, we’ve got the capacity to expand.”

Phil said it was the school’s second major machinery purchase through Staines recently and while it was important for them to support a local business, they had also been appreciative of the service received from Staines.

“We’ve been very happy with the support they have provided,” Phil said.

“Without the support from the agricultural trust, this purchase and many others across all the colleges would not have been possible.

“If we are to teach best practice to future farmers, it is essential that we receive the support from the government, as all our profits go back into our students and the community.

“Esperance Farm Training Centre is determined to grow and provide quality education. Unfortunately best practice operations require the most up-to-date and expensive equipment, but the outcome is that, in keeping with the Esperance farming community, we help create a sustainable and profitable future for our region.”