AGRIC 1510WT - Agricultural Systems IA

Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2017

The need to develop sustainable and profitable agricultural systems to meet the demands of a burgeoning global population and during at a time of major changes in the environment is a major challenge for agricultural science. This course provides a general introduction to Australian agricultural systems within this global context. It will examine the physical, biological and economic characteristics of Australian agricultural systems. The course will examine climatology and meteorology, characteristics of sustainable production systems, Australian agriculture in a global context and an overview of the major Australian industries.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code AGRIC 1510WT
    Course Agricultural Systems IA
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 5 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible AGRIC 1000RW
    Assessment Essay, Tutorial Assignments, Practical Reports & Examination
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Glenn McDonald

    Course Timetable

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

    The course is timetabled fro Thursdays in Semester 1. The course is based at the Waite Campus but there are a number of full-day sessions at Roseworthy. On those days at the Waite, there will be a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical sessions. The classes at Roseworthy will present lectures in animal production as well as include practical activities and demonstrations in animal and plant production. Each day will have 6 contact hours.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 an understanding of the biophysical and socioeconomic factors underpinning the major agricultural industries in southern Australia and how they inter-relate with one another
    2 an understanding of the essential features of sustainable agricultural systems
    3 an understanding of the importance of physical and biological resource base as the foundation of sustainable production systems
    4 develop a systems approach to agricultural science, where knowledge from different disciplines is integrated to develop an improved understanding of the operation of production practices in agriculture.
    5 a knowledge and understanding of essential key concepts and terms used in professional practice
    6 an ability to find, collate and critical evaluate information from different sources
    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)
    1, 2, 3, 5
    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
    4, 6
    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
    4, 5
    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
    1, 4, 5, 6
    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
    4, 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The course requires access to shared facilities at the Roseworthy farm, in particular access to animals and stockyards on the days students are designated to be at Roseworthy.

    Glasshouse space to grow plants for practical classes

    Additional bus transport between North Terrace and Roseworthy for ~35 students is required for those days when students need to travel to Roseworthy.
    Recommended Resources
    There is no standard text book for the course, but recommended references are:
    (a) Malcolm, B, Sale, P., and Egan, A. (2009). Agriculture in Australia: an Introduction (2nd edition) (Oxford University Press).

    (b) Tow, P, Cooper, I, Partridge, I and Birch C (eds) (2011) Rainfed Farming Systems
    (Springer) – this is an e-book available from the library. A link to the book is provided in MyUni

    The booklet “Written Communication in the Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences” by M Cargill and M Bellotti is used as a guide to writing and a copy is also provided on MyUni.

    TURNITIN will be used as part of the assessment of the essay
    Online Learning
    The lectures and practicals are posted on MyUni. Other material that support student learning, but which is not a core component of the lectures and practicals, will also be made available. These include links to on-line glossaries, YouTube videos of farming practices in Australia and overseas and links to websites that provide additional information supporting lectures and practicals. There are students in the course that have little or no experience with agriculture and the purpose of these resources is to provide additional support for their learning.

    Articulate Storyline has been used to develop seedling identification keys and these have been supplemented with multiple choice tests to assist with revision.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures are used to provide basic information about key concepts and important characteristics of agricultural systems.

    Tutorials serve to reinforce and extend some of the ideas raised in the lectures and practicals. They are also designed to require students to find information and interpret it.

    Practical demonstrations are used to illustrate some of the production practices described in the lectures and to in traduce students to some of the terminology used in agriculture. The students work as a group and many of the demonstrations also help to build teamwork and to foster the relationships between students.  Aspects of these demonstrations are assessed in a practical exam.

    The formal practical classes are used to (a) introduce students to terms commonly used in agricultural science (‘the language of the discipline’), The practicals are interactive with periods of discussion interspersed during the practical exercises. The activities of the practical exercises are assessed in a practical exam at the end o the semester as well as a short report on two practicals.

    The essay is used to develop written communication skills and to encourage critical evaluation if information. Students have the choice to resubmit the essay after it is marked after responding to the comments on the essay from the marker. Students are also required to find primary sources of information and are encouraged to use the library data bases to find relevant information.

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

    The work load is 6 contact hours per week, which will be based on 2-3 hours of lectures, a 1-hour tutorial and 2-3 hours of practical work or practical demonstrations. The amount of contact time will vary from week to week depending on the nature of the practicals. For example, in a number of weeks at Roseworthy there will not be any lectures but there will be demonstrations and practical exercises in the morning and afternoon.

    It is expected that students will spend an average of approximately 5 hours per week in addition to the formal contact time on assignments, reports and essays
    Learning Activities Summary
    Lecture Tutorial Practical/demonstration

    Week 1 (W) Challenges of modern agriculture
    Austrian agricultural systems
    (a) Presenting data
    (b) Essay writing
    Computer exercise: Analysis of yield data
    Week 2 (W) Climate and weather systems Climate and agricultural systems (a) Seed and seedling ID
    (b)Growth stages in cereals
    Week 3 (W) (a)Resource use and resource use efficiency
    (b) Perennials in agriculture
    Quiz on agricultural terms (a) Seed and seedling ID
    (b)Growth stages in cereals
    Week 4 (R) Sheep handling
    Soil sampling
    Week 5 (W) Technology and agriculture

    Water use effciency Breeding and yield improvement in cereals
    Week 6 (W) Technology and agriculture Case studies: evolution of farming systems Breeding and yield improvement: visit to plant breeding groups
    Week 7 (W) Farm business management Preparation for field experiment
    Week 8 (R) Poultry production Measurements on Alley Farming 
    Week 9 (R) Sheep production (a) Cattle handling
    (b) Weed managment
    Week 10 (R) Cattle production (a) Cattle handling
    (b) Weed management
    Week 11 (R) (a) Lamb marking
    (b) Crop establishment
    (c) Farm visit
    Week 12 (R) (a) Lamb marking
    (b) Crop establishment
    (c) Practical exam
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Students in Agricultural Systems 1A and 1B run a field experiment that runs over Semester 1 and Semester 2.  The aim of the experiment is for students to produce the most profitable crop.  This integrates aspects of the technology associated with crop production with an economic evaluation of the selected treatments and the marketing of the final product.  

    In Semester 1 students are introduced to the concept, do measurements that help characterise the site where the experiment is run, and are formed into groups in which they select appropriate treatments.  Each group is expected to do some research to allow them to make desision on appropriate treatments to use.
  • 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
    Finding information and preparing a figure Summative Week 2 3.3% LO 6
    Analysis of international yield trends  Summative Week 3 5% LO 1,2,6
    On-line multiple choice quiz on 20 agricultural terms Summative Week 3 3.3% LO 5
    Analysis of agricultural production in relation to climate Summative Week 5 3.3% LO 1,2,4,6
    Seed and seedling identification Formative LO 1,5
    Growth stages in cereals Formative LO 1,5
    Analysis of changes in plant type with breeding Summative Week 7 5% LO 2,3,6
    Essay: A 1500 word essay on a contemporary topic.  For example, past topics have inlcuded the use of growth hormones in beef cattle production, the sustainability of N fertiliser use and the marketing af permeate free milk. Summative 

    Initial submission: Week 6

    Resubmission: Week 10 

    15% LO 1,2,3,6
    Practical exam Summative Week 12 15%
    Theory exam Summative Exam period 50%
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment Description
    Plotting data A tutorial is run on presentation of data as figures.  Students are provided with a range of options on statisitical information form the Australian Bureau of Statisitcis and are required to find the data, display it in an appropriate figure and write a brief commetary on the data.  
    Analysis of yield trends. This is a computer based exercise that examines the changes in grain yield in wheat in Australia. Students plot yield trends over time for different States using Excel. This simple exercise serves a number of purposes: (a) it leads into a discussion of regional differences in yield trends and the environmental and technological for the observed differences and (b) it allows students to become familiar with data manipulation and calculation of simple statistics. The assessable tasks requires students to search for information on area and production data on a data base (FAOStat), plot the data and provide a commentary on the observed trends using the class exercise as a guideColumn cell
    Analysis of agricultural production in relation to climate Lectures and tutorial exercises discuss the key aspects of climate and weather in relation to agricultural production. In this exercise students are given climate data from two different regions (western Queensland and western Victoria) where beef cattle production is important. Their task is to find information on the cattle production systems in the two regions and relate this to the climate and vegetation in the respective areas. The aim of the exercise to develop skills in finding information and in understanding how the characteristics of a farming system reflects the environmental characteristics of the regionColumn cell
    Seed and seedling ID Demonstrations of seed and seedling of common plants that students will encounter are provided and students need to work their way through a series of questions. These relate to the characteristics of seeds and seedlings, becoming familiar with some of the terms used to describe plants, learning the common and scientific names plants and some of the enduses of the crops
    Quiz An online glossary of agricultural terms is provided on MyUni.  Students are given a list of 20 commonly-used agricultural terms selected from the glossary and the quiz asks them a number of multiple choice questions related to the definitions of these terms.  The quiz is run through MyUni and runs for about 15 mins.  
    Essay The essay topic varies from year to year and is chosen to reflect one of the contemporary issues of Australian agriculture. Examples of past topics include the use of hormones in beef cattle production and the development of agriculture in northern Australia. Students are provided with guidelines on essay writing and also the marksheet for the essay is included in the course booklet. The essay is submitted to the tutor and after marking students have the option to resubmit the essay after responding to the feedback provided by the marker.
    Practical exam Students are required to complete a number of exercises that were covered in the practicals and demonstrations. These include identifying a collection of seed and seedlings, providing definitions of commonly used terms they encountered during the semester, identifying plant growth stages and answering questions related to material covered in the demonstrations and practical 
    Final exam Examination of material covered in lectures.  Questions range inclide multiple choice and short answer and extended answer questions.
    Essays are handed in through TURNITIN, and practical and tutorial reports are submitted electronically through MyUni or emailed to tutors.

    Late submission of assessed work will be penalised.

    Depending on the nature of the assessment, the aim is provide feedback and marks on the assessment within 2 weeks after submission. Rubrics and mark sheets as well as additional comments on the work are used to provide feedback to students.

    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.

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