Ben Nott received at $500 Sunsuper-FFN Bursary to attend Residential School at Charles Sturt University. Here's his story.

On a cold and wet Wednesday (19th August) I set off from Gunnedah to attend the ASC350 Res School over what was to be the following 2 days. After an uneventful trip down to Wagga I bunkered down in my room at the Junction Motor Inn before the eventful days ahead.

On Thursday, a group of 70 eager students got together (with social distancing in mind) to complete the practical component of Animal Health. The residential school was set down for two days however due to the number of students missing because of covid restrictions the school was condensed into a single day.

The first activity consisted of a group of students gathering in the Post Mortem room at the Wagga campus. It was here that we got into smaller groups of 4 and went through a post mortem examination of a sheep. The sheep had been sourced from the local saleyards that morning and were deemed unfit for sale due to different reasons. The particular ewe that my group used was euthanized due to an abnormality on the left ear. We started by palpating the body of the ewe to discover any abnormalities on the surface, our ewe was very healthy except for the ear growth. After an external examination we then proceeded to open up the ewe to examine the internal components, in particular the organs. Starting from the throat we worked our way down following the digestive tract in the sheep. We opened up the thoracic cavity and examined the heart, lungs and spleen before moving to the stomachs (did you know that the inside of a sheep’s stomach is like a shag pile rug?) and down the digestive tract looking at the liver and kidneys. Whilst a little gross it was very interesting to gain a perspective of the internal components of an animal.

After lunch we went to a normal laboratory to complete a fecal egg count exercise. We were shown the correct process to collect a sample off manure before mixing it in a solution and analyzing the sample under a microscope. We completed this exercise for both Sheep and Dog manure to identify any eggs. I didn’t find any significant egg populations however some of the other student did which were interesting to look at.

Due to the res school finishing at 5pm I decided to spend the extra night in Wagga to avoid travelling through wet and cold night time conditions.

The following day I travelled back to my Family’s cattle property at Gulgong to spend the weekend before returning to Gunnedah on Monday.

The ASC350 residential school marks the last physical visit down to CSU Wagga to complete a Batchelor of Agriculture. After completing my degree, I intend on using it to assist me to change jobs and move back onto a farm and commence a role as an assistant farm manager. I intend on continue studying, however It will be a more self-paced approach.

By receiving the Sunsuper Bursary in conjunction with Future Farmers Network it will help alleviate the financial pressure associated with studying a university degree, especially via distance. Due to the drought conditions over the last 3 years I was put back to 4 days per week for around 3 months. This made things very tough financially. The bursary was fantastic to offset some of these shortcomings.

Once again thankyou to all those involved with the Sunsuper and Future Farmers Network. The opportunities and industry involvement you provide is fantastic to encourage young farmers such as myself to look outside of the box and find ways to innovate and move forward.

Ben Nott

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