AGRONOMY 3012RW - Agronomy III

Roseworthy Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of some of the important physiological principles to crop and pasture production and how these principles can be applied to agricultural systems. The course has two modules: (a) physiological bases of crop and pasture growth and resource utilisation; (b) impact of management practices on productivity, resource utilization, weed management and soil health. Specific topics covered include water use and water use efficiency, dry matter production and partitioning, the dynamics of water and nitrogen balances in agricultural systems, dual purpose cropping, canopy management, role of precision agriculture in improving resource use efficiency, effect of tillage systems on soil health and weed behaviour as well as factors affecting herbicide activity in the environment.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code AGRONOMY 3012RW
    Course Agronomy III
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Roseworthy Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible AGRONOMY 3016RW
    Assumed Knowledge AGRIC 2505RW
    Assessment Exam, practical reports
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Gurjeet Gill

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Describe the role of physiological processes controlling plant growth and development.
    2 Understand the effect of environment and management on crop growth, rate of development, water and nutrient use efficiency
    3 Describe the impact of latest crop management practices on crop productivity and resource use efficiency
    4 Undertake sampling of plants and soils for routine analysis of soil water and crop growth and development
    5 Interpret results of research on crop growth and development, radiation interception and radiation use efficiency; crop water use and water use efficiency
    6 Use decision support system Yield Prophet to understand probability of achieving various levels of productivity and the influence of water and nitrogen stress of predicted crop yield. This activity is undertaken by the students in small groups.
    7 Understand the behaviour of herbicides in the environment and evolution of herbicide resistance in weeds and their management.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Lecture handouts will be posted to the relevant area of MyUni before each class. There will be no provision of printed lecture handouts.
    Recommended Resources
    Tow, Cooper, Partridge and Birch (2011) Rainfed Farming Systems (Online access available through UA library)
    Loomis, RS and Connor, DJ (1992) Crop Ecology: Productivity and management in agricultural systems. Cambridge University Press
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course material is taught by a combination of lectures and practical classes, with assessment in the form of practical write-ups, and summative assessment in the form of the final examination. The lectures are organised into three streams. The first of these are lectures that cover major principles related to crop physiology. The second stream covers impact of technological interventions on resource use efficiency. The third stream addresses the role of herbicides and management of herbicide resistance. Lecture modes used are based primarily on traditional classroom paradigms of lecturer-student interactions, using PowerPoint or similar presentation techniques.

    Practical classes are designed and timetabled such that as far as possible, the topics co-ordinate with those being taught at that time within the lecture stream. There are two major practicals in this course. One of them deals with techniques and skills related to quantifying crop growth and development and its relationship with radiation and water use. Data collected by students in small working groups are submitted as a brief research paper. The second practical exercise is based on students learning how to use and interpret the outputs a decision support system called Yield Prophet. This exercise runs throughout the semester in which students learn how simulation models are used in the industry to manage nitrogen input for crops and how changes in seasonal rainfall impacts on the probability of achieving different levels of grain yields. This work is undertaken in small groups. Each group is required to go online and run various scenarios of crop management and then interpret the probability of likely outcomes. The final report is presented jointly by the group but the students are required to undertake self- and peer-assessment of the group. Students also undertake a practical examination, which covers basic numerical skills as well as a field-based problem solving exercise.

    Feedback is provided on all assessed work.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Lectures Practicals
    1 1. Frameworks and benchmarks for analysing productivity: potential yield, attainable yield,
    yield gaps and production efficiency frontiers; inputs vs efficiencies
    2. Growth and yield in a water limited environment:Water use and water use efficiency
    Revision of Yield Prophet; provide paddock
    information; visit selected paddocks and establish N dose response plots
    2 1. Growth and yield in a water limited environment: limitations and opportunities
    2. Crop growth and yield formation
    WUE and RUE at Roseworthy - I
    3 1. Crop growth and yield formation
    2. The crop canopy
    Student groups to sample crops for
    biomass and growth stage for comparison with Yield Prophet  predictions
    4 1. Crop development: genetic and environmental controls
    2. How crops respond to sowing date
    (a) Variety x time of sowing (Hart Field site)
    (b) The impact of long-term seeding systems on crop growth (Hart Field site)
    5 1. How crops respond to N and implication for management
    2. How crops respond to planting arrangement
    Tutorial on statistical analysis of
    trial data and its interpretation

    6 Crop canopy management: balancing pre- and post-anthesis water use, rate and timing of N, leaf area duration, haying-off case studies, plant growth
    regulators; canopy management in high and low rainfall environments
    Roseworthy Yield Prophet; crop sampling in the field; run your group’s management scenarios
    7 1. Dual purpose cereals: rationale, feed gap, physiological principles, case studies from NSW, WA farmer case studies, cattle case study from Esperance
    2. Dual purpose canola: whole plant removal risk, blackleg risk, dietary intake, NO3 toxicity risk, physiological principles, CSIRO research, WA farmer case studies, cattle grazing case study from WA, best-bet management
    WUE and RUE at Roseworthy – 2nd
    8 1. Tillage effects on soil properties: soil OC, physical properties, microbial biomass, disease suppressive soils
    2. Tillage effects on weeds: germination and establishment, seed decay, weed control with pre-sowing herbicides, crop damage from pre-sowing herbicides
    Weigh soil dry weights and a tutorial on the calculation of WUE and RUE
    9 Soil compaction and Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF)*: sub-soil compaction, greater susceptibility of sandy soils, deep ripping/cultivation, crop responses, a South Australian case study, re-compaction, CTF - its costs and benefits, improvement in soil properties,
    machinery configuration
    A visit to two farms in the Mid North and to the Hart field day site (all day trip bus leaves Roseworthy at 9 AM); not assessed
    10 Precision agriculture: improvement in crop and weed management: common
    constraints to yields, spatial variability in yield, approaches to PA, map
    based and real time sensors, use of PA for diagnosing constraints, on-farm
    trials, weed-seeker technology
    Estimating crop yield - Yield Prophet and direct
    estimation by sampling; spring farm tour; run your management scenarios (e.g. sowing time, seed rate, wheat variety, N rate and/or timing)
    11 1. Herbicide Mode of Action and use
    2. Herbicide behaviour in plants and the environment
    Practical on RIM: explore the impact of weed
    management tactics on ryegrass populations
    12 1. Herbicide use risk – Off target movement and soil residue impacts
    2. Herbicide use risk - Herbicide Resistance
    Practical examination – 10%
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    All students work in small teams to undertake a study on the use of an online decision support system (Yield Prophet) to understand changes in predicted yield outcomes based on seasonal weather. Students also learn how to interpret simulation model outputs of crop growth stage and expected yield and its relationship with nitrogen and water stress. Students are also required to explore how Yield Prophet could be used to explore the likely impact of management practices such as nitogen rate, crop variety and date of sowing on predicted crop yield. Students also undertake validation of the model by collecting field data and comparing their results with the model prediction. At the end of the semester, each student group prepares a technical report based on their learnings from the use of the model.

    This small group research project is worth 12.5% of the total course assessment.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Small group research project - Yield Prophet Summative

    Week 12 

    12.5% 1,2,4,5,6
    Water and radiation use efficiency of field crops Summative Week 9 12.5% 1,2,4,5,6
    A field study of the interaction between wheat varieties and sowing time (Hart Field day site) Summative Week 6 7.5% 1-6
    The impact of long-term seeding systems on crop
    growth (Hart Field site)
    Summative Week 7 7.5% 1-6
    Final Practical Examination Summative Week 12 10% 1-6
    Exam Summative 50% 1-6
    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.

    Assignments should be submitted with a cover sheet available from MyUni. Feedback will be provided within two weeks after the submission date.

    Late submission of assessments
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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