[singlepic id=273 w=320 h=240 float=left]Students from Gordonvale State High School now have even more reason to consider a career in agriculture after taking out second prize in this year’s High Schools’ Poultry Industry Education competition.

Celebrating its 11th year, the competition is designed to introduce students to the opportunities of a career in agriculture.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the Gordonvale State High student group from Year 9 Animal Husbandry subject took silver for their project about the effect of voluntary food intake of broiler and layer chickens when food is coloured.

“As part of the competition, students conducted a small, poultry-related science trial, from literature review through to a report and a poster,” he said.

“This year’s second prize winning project involved a trial investigating the effect that coloured food had on the intake of broiler and layer chickens.

“Yellow, blue and green human-food colouring was used to colour the chickens feed, against a control treatment of adding no food colouring. The chickens could choose which feed they preferred.

“The students found that broiler chickens preferred food with no added colouring and layer chickens preferred food with no added colouring and food coloured yellow.

“Both chicken types least liked blue and ate less of this food. However, if there was not sufficient food on the plate for the broiler chickens, then they showed no preference and ate food of any colour.

“The students concluded that it was no advantage for farmers to colour the feed yellow or green to increase feed intake and growth rate in young chickens.”

Gordonvale State High School Agriculture and Animal Husbandry teacher Markus Honnef said he was delighted to have coached the dedicated and talented team.

“Madelyn Rologas, Eboni Maccor and Elise Fiorenza created an eye catching and informative poster, while Madelyn also wrote a scientific report,” Mr Honnef said.

Agri-Science Queensland extension officer Tanya Nagle said schools throughout the state – as well as from South Australia and New South Wales – were involved, from Atherton, Gordonvale and Ravenshoe in the north, to Southport in the south and out to Chinchilla and Goondiwindi in the west.

“The competition helps to promote advancement and knowledge on all aspects of the poultry industry,” she said.

“Students are also given insights into further education and the diversity of roles within the $465 million Australian poultry industry.

“It’s important that young Queenslanders know they can enter a technically advanced, multimillion- dollar agri-business offering a wide selection of careers, including management, veterinary science,

nutrition and research.”

Ms Nagle said the competition formed part of the Poultry Industry Education Open Day at the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation’s (DEEDI) Redlands Research Station.

“While the focus on the day is to promote career options in the industry, the day also helps to strengthen community and consumer confidence in poultry products and practices,” she said.

“This year’s open day allowed industry representatives to provide accurate and balanced information to the community on poultry issues, acknowledging themselves as providers of green, clean food to the nation.”

Ms Nagle said prizes for first, second and third, plus high commendations were awarded, and the winning school would now compete for the national award.

“While it was nearly all high school entrants we had one primary school entrant from Wheatlands Primary School and they did a fantastic job,” she said.

The competition is run jointly by the Agri-Science Queensland (part of DEEDI), the World Poultry Science Association (WSPA) Queensland sub-branch, and the Poultry Industry, including the Cooperative Research Centre.

For more information on careers in agriculture in Queensland, visit www.deedi.qld.gov.au and type in ‘careers in agriculture’ in the search box, or call the Business Information Centre on 13 25 23.

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