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Technology and Agriculture all in one

Term 3 2023

The College Agriculture department took delivery of an ‘iFarm’ last week - a fully computerised interactive agricultural science research station designed specifically for Australian high schools.

With the aim of improving student’s understanding of the resources required to produce food and fibre, and to stimulate interest in careers in agriculture and related fields Mr David Crick, Head of TAS, is very excited to get started using the iFarm in Secondary Ag lessons. “It is a wonderful opportunity for students to explore the link between agriculture and technology. Students will be able to do comparative trials and experiments, monitoring variables such as water, fertiliser and plant growth.”

iFarms have 8 individual growing beds with subsurface drip irrigation and overhead spray options, a 2000L water tank, moisture and temperature sensors, and an inbuilt digital touchscreen (but can also be operated remotely). iFarms are fully powered by wind and solar, they have their own weather station, a composting worm farm, and come with both summer and winter shadecloths. The outer skin of the iFarm is made from recycled plastic and it has fold-down perspex sides to view root growth. It also has perspex covers over all the electronic componentry to help students view and better understand electrical design. The iFarm is literally a platform designed to capture the attention of students as it showcases a huge range of learning opportunities and future employment possibilities.

Designers and builders Steve and Kate Mansur came up with the concept of the iFarm after realising they wanted to help students learn about agriculture, science, maths and technology in a more exciting and engaging way, and also to make the job easier for teachers. Steve and Kate chose to set up their manufacturing business Manski Pty Ltd in Tamworth NSW so as to help create employment in a regional community and they use local suppliers wherever possible. iFarms are fully Australian designed, developed and manufactured.

56 high schools across the nation in every state and territory will be receiving an iFarm this year. The iFarm project has been supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as part of the Educating Kids About Agriculture: iFarm program.



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