The Amazing Farm Race

In Term 3 Mr Tierney’s Year 8 Mathematics class participated in the ‘Amazing Farm Race’ whereby they had to undertake a series of mathematical challenges analysing the performance of the School’s Laurella property in Blayney. This included questions on area and perimeter, fencing costs and an overarching gross margin analysis.

The two week challenge had 5 parts in total:

  1. Background case study on Laurella including calculations on area, perimeter, fencing costs, water availability and a simultaneous equation on the farm managers ploughing capabilities.
  2. Changing Enterprise – a gross margin analysis comparing feedlot steers, goats, dorper ewes, pasture steers and merino wethers.
  3. A comparison of livestock to cropping enterprises
  4. An open ended conundrum on what to do to beat the drought
  5. A case study and presentation on whether the students should buy an additional property (a winery close to the school)

The students worked in groups of 4 and their feedback was very positive. Many showed real ingenuity in their problem solving and great foresight in their suggestions on how we should manage the farm. We hope to repeat the project with all of Year 8 in 2018.


An example project:

Project 3 –A return to cropping


You are required to sell ALL your animals from Laurella and convert the farm into crops. You need to choose the type of crop(s) you would like to grow, using the information below.


Remember, you will also need to use previous information (such as gross margin analysis) to justify your decisions as to what you are going to sow and how much.


Points to consider – canola market currently sits at approx. $460/mt (metric tonne), oat market is approx. $140/mt.


Expected yield for each crop:

  • Oats – 2.2 tonnes per hectare
  • Lupines – 2.3 tonnes per hectare
  • Barley – 2.2 tonnes per hectare
  • Canola – 1.6 tonnes per hectare
  • Wheat – 2.4 tonnes per hectare


You will need to research the cost of carting your grain off farm for sale to Graincorp; you have 2 options:

  • find how much contract cartage costs and add it to your budget
  • look to purchase a second hand (or new) tractor


You will need to find costings for each option and justify your choice.




How much extra money will you need? Remember to calculate the money you have from the sale of your animals.


Cost/ha Canola Wheat Barley Lupins Oats
sowing 55 44 49 103 46
Fertiliser 193 72 62 62 62
Herbicide 28 66 80 21.70 4
Insecticide/fungicide 46 8 0 50 0
Contract windrowing/harvesting 125 48 48 13.50 50
Levies 9 7 6.50 0 3.20
Crop insurance 12 7 3 0 3.20


Starter 15 is a brand of commonly used fertiliser for all the crops above. It has a ratio of 14:12:3:11 for nitrogen:phosphorous:potassium:sulfur. This ratio is applied for each hectare.


There is a new brand of fertiliser available and it is 40% cheaper than Starter 15. It’s ratio is 12:6:8:14. Calculate which option is better if you need to apply at least 12kg of phosphorous per hectare.

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