Students measure up at Tatura

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Smart farming: Senior research scientist (plant physiology) Ian Goodwin shows students how to determine the colour profile of fruit, with Toby Poxon from Boort and Ebony Smith from Cohuna.

The Tatura Smart Farm has welcomed back visiting students for the first time since COVID-19 restricted public activities at the Ferguson Rd facility.

Students used modern technology to measure the size, shape and colour of fruit grown on the Agriculture Victoria Smart Farm, after taking a tour of the orchard.

The students were able to examine the experimental orchard, which is sheltered by solar cells, reducing the impact of direct sunshine on the trees and generating energy for a water pump.

Fruitful visit: Boort student Toby Poxon takes a measurement from nectarines at the Tatura Smart Farm.

They were also challenged to build an electronic device to record soil moisture, using provided components, and requiring them to do some coding on a computer.

Toby Poxon is from a sheep and cropping farm at Boort and was interested to learn about the technology used in assessing fruit.

Cohuna student Ebony Smith found out quite a bit she didn’t know about horticulture.

“I discovered it was much more than just growing the crop. You can look at the characteristics of the fruit, including colour and shape,” she said.

Ebony is interested in a career in the business side of agriculture.

The Tatura facility focuses on horticulture and irrigated agriculture, and is one of five Smart Farms in Victoria

Last week’s visit to Tatura was by students with Virtual School Victoria, formerly Distant Education Centre Victoria.