Nanango takes out back-to-back sunflower awards

17 May 2018
The winners are... Nanango State High School
The winners are... Nanango State High School

Budding plant scientists from Nanango State High School have won the Overall Grand Champion prize at The University of Queensland Sunflower Competitionfor the second year in a row.

Building on last year’s formula for success, the small South Burnett school grew a giant sunflower weighing 2.97kg, which topped the competition at UQ Gatton campus.

More than 4000 students from 103 high schools across Australia participated in this year’s competition.

UQ School of Agriculture and Food Sciences head Professor Neal Menzies said the University worked hard with schools to make it a fair competition, given the different growing conditions across the country – from soil varieties to extreme weather events.

“All schools work with the same genetic source material – the same seed variety – and must use a specified pot size, but they are encouraged to be as creative as they can within the rules to get the prize,” Professor Menzies said.

Thirteen schools attended the competition weigh-in day at Gatton, while others submitted videos.

The students grew their sunflowers over a 12-week period, aiming to beat the all-time record weight of 4.455kg set by Mueller College in 2014.

“Since the initial planting date in February, students have tended their potted sunflowers at school, experimenting with different soils, light regimes, water applications and fertilisers,” Professor Menzies said.

“They have had to learn about and consider environmental factors such as weather, growing conditions in their regions, and how this affects sunflower growth.”

The budding agriculturalists also toured the Gatton campus, had lunch, heard from industry representatives and participated in science activities.

The competition, now in its 19th year, promotes the science behind agronomy and horticulture.

Watch the presentations on Facebook.

2018 results:

Overall ‘Heaviest’ Grand Champion

Nanango State High School Years 11-12, weight 2.97 kg


Tallest Sunflower Prize: Year 10, Glasshouse Christian College, 3.1m      

Most Ornamental Sunflower Prize: Wilsonton State High Year School, Toowoomba, Year 11

Encouragement Award 1: Ferny Grove State High School Year 10B

Encouragement Award 2: Fairholme College Toowoomba Year 11


Heaviest yields in the regions Year 7-10

1st Harristown State High School, Toowoomba Agriculture Science class 941g

2nd Atherton State High School 561g

3rd Redlands College 535g


Heaviest yields in the regions Years 11-12

1st St Stephen’s College, Mareeba, 159g

Heaviest yield Gatton weigh-in day Years 7 to 10

1st Brisbane Adventist College 806g

2nd Nanango State High School 803g

3rd Brisbane Adventist College 673g

Heaviest yield Gatton weigh-in day Years 11-12

1st Nanango State High School 925g

2nd Glasshouse Christian College 871g

3rd Marymount College 851g

Media: Neil Donnelly, , +61 7 5460 1229, 0409 265 587.