Managing Agro-Ecosystems (AGRO3004)


This unit of study is designed to provide a solid introductory understanding of the biology and management of cropping systems, with a focus on major Australian broad acre crops. The course examines a typical crop cycle, with an emphasis on cereals, especially wheat. An overview of the main crops grown in Australia is presented. The relationship between crop growth and soil and aerial environments is discussed, and the importance of water and water-use efficiency is highlighted. The physiology of crops--including germination, photosynthesis, vegetative and reproductive growth and development, transpiration, photosynthate partitioning, and mineral nutrient acquisition and use--is studied as the basis of crop yield and production. Biological processes associated with seed (grain) development are described. Weed management, pasture management, and precision agriculture are discussed in theoretical and practical terms, and an introduction to crop adaptation and breeding is presented. Successful students will attain the ability to appreciate and analyze some of the most important limitations to crop yield and production in Australia and how those limitations can be minimized or overcome through science-based planning and management practices.

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Further unit of study information


1x 2hr lecture/wk; 1x 3hr tutorial/practical each week. Full-day practical at Camden campus during week 3 (no lecture or tutorial that week). Week 7 trip to national crops competition (optional).


5x quizzes (30%), in-class crops competition test (20%), 1x 2hr exam (50%).


Recommended Reading; Connor DJ, Loomis RS, Cassman KG (2011) Crop Ecology: Productivity and Management in Agricultural Systems, 2nd Ed. Cambridge Univ Press, Cambridge. Pratley J (Ed) (2003) Principles of Field Crop Production, 4th Ed. Oxford Univ Press,

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Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

AFNR1001, AFNR1002, PLNT2003, SOIL2003 and (BIOM2001 or ENVX2001)

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Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

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