K-State Crops Team wins Australian Universities Crops Competition

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K-State Collegiate Crops Team at the Australian Universities Crops Competition (l to r): Ben Coomes, Katrina Sudbeck, Tyler Herrs, Jeri Sigle, Nathan Larson, Dr. Kevin Donnelly (Coach), Sam Knauss.
K-State Collegiate Crops Team at the Australian Universities Crops Competition (l to r): Ben Coomes, Katrina Sudbeck, Tyler Herrs, Jeri Sigle, Nathan Larson, Dr. Kevin Donnelly (Coach), Sam Knauss.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Six members of the Kansas State University Crops Team recently returned from a study trip to Australia where they also took first place in the Australian Universities Crops Competition. The event was hosted by the Australian Grain Growers organization in Temora, New South Wales. The K-State team traveled with an Iowa State University Crops Team, which also participated in the competition.

 

K-State Crops Team members making the trip included Katrina Sudbeck, Seneca; Ben Coomes, Girard; Nathan Larson, Kensington; Sam Knauss, Paola; Tyler Herrs, Linn; and Jeri Sigle, Council Grove. The team is coached by Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy.

 

The K-State team was led by Katrina Sudbeck, who took the top individual overall award, and Ben Coomes, who placed second. As top individual, Sudbeck will also have the opportunity to travel to Asia with Grain Growers on a grain marketing trip in February, 2015. Iowa State University placed second in the contest, followed by Sydney University. Five other agricultural universities across southern and western Australia competed.

 

Australia Grain Growers is a national organization of grain producers.

 

This was the second time the K-State team was invited to participate in the Australian crops competition.

 

The competition was held over two days at the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre, managed by FarmLink. The contest included a seed identification component, tests over Australian cereal, pulse, and oilseed production and quality, commercial grading of wheat, a business management problem, field yield estimates and management recommendations, and a live crop, weed and disease evaluation component.

 

Before and after the competition, contestants also toured research projects being conducted on site and at farms in the local area. Learning about Australian white wheat and canola production, ryegrass herbicide resistance problems, and the use of pulse crops such as lupins in crop rotations were highlights for the U.S. teams.

 

The students also learned about Australia through visits to popular sites in Sydney, followed by a trip to the Great Barrier Reef at Cairns. On the trip to Temora, the group visited the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, followed by a farm tour hosted by Grain Growers board member Richard Rice in Parkes, NSW. The farm featured integration of sheep production with wheat and canola cropping systems.

 

After the competition, they visited Charles Sturt University and the EH Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation Field Station at Wagga Wagga, NSW. The final day was spent at the family farm of board member Gerry Lane near Lockhart, NSW, which featured extensive barley and faba bean production under flood irrigation.

 

The trip was made possible by a generous grant from the CHS Foundation to both K-State and ISU. In addition, the Kansas Wheat Commission and the K-State Department of Agronomy supported team travel expenses. The College of Agriculture provided international travel scholarships to the Kansas State students.

Story by: Steve Watson,

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