Graduate Diploma in Protected Cropping
At the end of April, students in the Graduate Diploma in Protected Cropping and MSc programs participated in on-site workshops at Western Sydney University (WSU) – Hawkesbury campus.
These workshops were part of the Emerging leaders in Protected Cropping program and related to units on Greenhouse Control Systems and Greenhouse Crop Production.
The workshops are part of a blended learning program consisting of online lectures, tutorials and essential readings. In the workshops, participants were informed on aspects of greenhouse control and crop production by Western Sydney University academic and technical staff.
Informative sessions were delivered from industry experts, including Graeme Smith (Graeme Smith Consulting), Dion Potter (Syngenta), Marcus van Heijst (Priva) and Bao Duy Nguyen (Sun City Produce).
Engagement with the industry is an important aspect which contextualises the more theoretical learning which is necessary for students to have a deep understanding of plant processes and interactions.
Practical sessions for the workshops were held in the National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre at WSU- Hawkesbury.
Participants in the Greenhouse Control Systems unit worked with the NVPCC technical staff to learn about the Priva system installed at the facility. For the greenhouse Crop production unit, participants investigated aspects of crop growth related to plant nutrition and root / shoot temperatures.
They were able to work with some high-tech plant monitoring equipment which is used to measure aspects of crop health and plant photosynthesis, and also were introduced to the high-tech world of plant genetic modification.
The workshop is the second for this program, the previous one being held last December.
WSU is looking forward to the first cohort of students graduating from this program and moving on to make a positive contribution to the protected cropping industry in Australia.