Home > Downlands students crowned champions again in UQ sunflower competition with record-breaking weight

Downlands students crowned champions again in UQ sunflower competition with record-breaking weight

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article image Although sunflowers are heat-loving plants, Downlands College students managed to win UQ's Sunflower Competition in autumn using a clever greenhouse setup
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Students from Downlands College in Toowoomba took the honours in the Overall Heaviest Grand Champion category at the University of Queensland Sunflower Competition for the second year in a row. Downlands College also won the Australian Sunflower Association Heaviest Sunflower title.
 
While sunflower is a warm weather plant and not typically grown in autumn, the year 10 students equipped the school greenhouse with heaters and extra light for five hours at night, growing their Pacific Seeds plant to a record-breaking 3.832kg.
 
Agricultural science teacher Jeff Buchanan and his students broke the longstanding record for the heaviest sunflower of last year by 349g this time round.
 
Pacific Seeds sunflower business manager Tony McCumstie said the students’ results were impressive given that sunflower is a summer and spring plant. He explains that sunflower excels in the warmer months across Queensland and New South Wales, but the students successfully grew the sunflower in the cooler school environment using some extra assistance.
 
According to Mr McCumstie, Pacific Seeds supports local projects that teach youth about on-farm scenarios, and promote agriculture as a career to students.
 
About 300 students, teachers and industry representatives attended the official weigh-in day at UQ's Gatton campus recently, where the sunflowers were weighed to determine a winner.
 
High school students across 45 schools in Queensland and New South Wales participated in the annual competition.

The competition was hosted by the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, The Australian Sunflower Association, Pacific Seeds and AgForce, and supported by the Queensland Agriculture Teachers' Association.

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