AGRIC 3510WT - Agricultural Resource Management

Waite Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

In Agricultural Resource Management students will examine the biophysical processes operating at a landscape level and socioeconomic drivers and institutions behind change in agriculture. There are 5 general themes: Climate Change; Water; Energy; Biodiversity; Catchment Management. A series of lectures will outline the technical principles of each of these themes, viz: climate change models, climate adaptation strategies, water policy, irrigation, groundwater flow systems and their management, surface water resource management, carbon economy in agriculture, soil resource management, on-farm biodiversity management, catchment management processes and NRM organisations. Specialist guest speakers will deliver presentations on the salient issues on these themes. In a series of 5 written reports students will apply their own understanding of the technical principles in commentaries on the specialist presentations of issues. Students will be required to read topical material before the specialist lectures. There will be a quiz before each specialist lectures to assess understanding of the pre-reading material. In two oral presentations students will develop the skill of presenting a mature commentary on these resource management issues based on the scientific and technical principles. There will be an all-day field trip to observe agricultural resource management in practice in the Adelaide Hills &/or Murray Lands.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code AGRIC 3510WT
    Course Agricultural Resource Management
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 7 hours per week plus field trip
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites AGRIC 1510WT, AGRIC 1520WT, SOIL&WAT 1000WT
    Assumed Knowledge AGRIC 2505RW, ANIML SC 2503RW, SOIL&WAT 2500WT
    Assessment Written reports, oral presentations, quiz
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Ian Nuberg

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    1.    The integration of prior knowledge and development of new knowledge to understand  how models are used to predict future, their scope and limits; agreed and contested explanations of climate change; agricultural strategies of adaptation to predicted climate change

    2.     Knowledge of groundwater flow and surface water systems and their management; hydrological principles of irrigation’s interaction with environment; water policy and pricing mechanisms; energy futures in agriculture and feasibility of bioenergy options; the role of
    carbon and soils in future energy economy

    3.     The integration of prior knowledge and development of new knowledge to understand principles of ecosystem mimicry in agriculture and role of agroforestry in NRM

    4.    Knowledge of biophysical principles underpinning catchment management and NRM organisations responsible for catchment management in all states of Australia

    5.     Ability to critically evaluate information, prepare mature written opinions, orally present credible logical arguments and collaboratively source and share information

    6.     Understanding of the geopolitical complexities of climate, water, energy and biodiversity issues

    7.     An ability to express a valid opinion about how society can meet and address the agricultural and environmental challenges of the future

    8.     Demonstrated understanding of how their skills can be used to address challenges.

    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, 4, 6
    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
    5, 7, 8
    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
    5, 7, 8
    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
    not addressed
    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
    not addressed
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There is a prescribed reading list on MyUni that provides background to the themes of the course.
    Students are expected to read the whole list and use these sources as starting points for researching similar literature to prepare assignments.
    Recommended Resources
    Apart from the prescribed reading list on MyUni the following texts are also recommended.

    Nuberg,George & Reid (2009) Agroforestry for Natural Resource Management

    Pratleyand Robertson (1998) Agriculture and the Environmental Imperative

    Stokes and Howden (2010) Adapting agriculture to climate change

    These texts will be available in Waite library reserve.

    Online Learning
    MyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (

    Course administration is accomplished using MyUni: activities will include  email, announcements, lecture handouts and recordings, an online reading list of over 50 scientific articles, materials for completing assignments.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    There are six components to the course.

    1.     Pre-reading and Quizzes.   For each of the five themes there is some reading that must be done before the first lecture in the theme.  These readings serve as primers in some of the knowledge you are expected to already have. 

    2.     Lectures. The presentations are given by university staff and guest presenters.  The presentations do not attempt to cover all knowledge and issues across these themes; just that which is particularly relevant for agriculture and for which we can bring real expertise.   The presentations are important for setting the context and generating discussion.  Not all this material is examined directly as in conventional exams, but sets the context for the reading list which is examinable. The lectures will also present ideas and literature that should be used in writing the Discussion Paper.

    3.     Reading and question sets. Each day after the presentations students will break into study
    groups to create a shared understanding of the reading material.  There are a lot of references which will be too much for an individual to read and digest in an afternoon. However, students will
    work in groups with each individual reading a different paper, making notes and sharing those back to the group.  These notes, especially the response to the question sets will be essential for the written examination.  The material in the first eight weeks should also be liberally cited in the discussion paper.

    4.     Discussion paper / take home exam.  After the topic of the discussion paper is announced students will have 13 days to write professionally-presented, critical evaluations of a series of questions around the various themes. To achieve this, students will need to keep up with all the work in the study groups it will not be possible to give a mature and professional analysis in such a short time. Students are advised to plan their work and social commitments well around the dates of this exam.

    5.     Oral presentations.  While it is important to be able to express oneself in the written form, it is equally important, and for some people more challenging, to do so in the verbal form.  Students will give two oral presentations, where they will develop their oral presentation skills and ability to argue the point on some complex agricultural resource management issue.  Students' performance will be evaluated by their peers who will also provide constructive feedback on how to
    improve each others' performance.

    6. Written examination. There will be a 2 hour formal written examination on the material
    covered in the Reading and Question Sets

    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
    Quizzes Lectures Group work
    Week 1 Resilience thinking;
    Climate principles
    Study groups;
    Preparation for oral presentations
    Week 2 Climate Quiz Adaptation to Climate change in Agriculture Climate reading list
    Week 3 Soil Quiz Soil quality and fertility management
    Week 4 Soil carbon resource in Australian soils;
    What is a model and why build one?
    Soil reading list
    Week 5 Water Quiz Water in Australia;
    Water for food and fibre;
    Water balance measures and estimates
    Water reading list 1
    Week 6 Water management in rain fed systems;
    Water management in irrigation
    Water reading list 2
    Week 7 Energy Quiz Agricultural Energy and Biofuel;
    Australians in International Agricultural Development
    Energy reading list
    Week 8 Ecosystem services as a business Oral presentations (short)
    Ecosystem Services reading list
    Week 9 often there is a public holiday near this week
    Week 10 Vegetation Quiz Agroforestry as Natural Resource Management;
    Vegetation and water interactions
    Vegetation reading list
    Week 11 Natural Resource Management institutions and agriculture Oral presentations (long)
    Week 12 Review of the 5 Themes in preparation for written exam Oral presentations (long)
    The schedule above is indicative of the flow of events across the semester.  Details will vary from year to year depending on availability of guest speakers and timing of public holidays.
  • 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
    Quizzes Formative

    Weeks 2,3,5,7,10

    15% 1, 2, 3, 4
    Oral / video presentations Summative Weeks 8
    11 and 12
    10% 5, 6, 7 8
    Discussion paper Summative Week 10 40% 5, 6, 7, 8
    Written exam Summative Exam week 35% 1, 2, 3, 4

    Assessment Detail
    5 short (~10 minute) quizzes (usually
    multi-choice) on material to be read
    BEFORE the topic is discussed in class 3 marks each = 15

    Oral or video presentations
    10 minute presentation on specific resource management topics. You will take a critical stance on an issue and support the argument with relevant scientific evidence = 10

    Discussion Paper
    Discussion paper integrating knowledge and critical analyse of issues across the 5 themes  = 40

    Written exam
    Based on knowledge gained from the reading lists and presentations= 35
    It is a university-wide policy that assignments must be submitted by their deadline. There will be a penalty of 10% of the total mark for each day (or part of a day) that an assignment is late, up to a maximum  penalty of 50% of the total mark. Assignments that are submitted after  the assignments for the rest of the class have been marked may not be accepted.

    Extensions of deadlines may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a replacement examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Extensions of deadlines should be negotiated with the course coordinator before the assignment is due.

    Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor time management.
    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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