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 analyse 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.
One 2-hour lecture per week; one 1-hour tutorial/practical each week. Half-day field trips during weeks 3, 9, 10, 11 (no lecture or tutorial those weeks).
Three quizzes (30%), One viva voce (30%), one 2-hour exam (40%)
Reference Books: Pratley, J. (ed) (2003) Principles of Field Crop Production. 4th Edition, Oxford Univ. Press, Melbourne Connor DJ, Loomis RS, Cassman KG (2011) Crop Ecology: Productivity and Management in Agricultural Systems, 2nd Ed. Cambridge Univ Press, Cambridge Marschner, P. (ed) (2012) Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants. 3rd Edition, Academic Press, London.
(BIOL2023 or BIOL2923 or PLNT2003 or AGEN2001) and (SOIL2003 or SOIL2005)