World population is projected to reach 9 billion within 50 years and food production needs to double in a sustainable manner in order to feed human population. This profound challenge will be met by improving our knowledge and management of agroecosystems. This unit of study will provide students with the skills to understanding the biology and management of plants in dryland agroecosystems, focussing on major Australian broad acre crops. Dryland agroecosystems are defined as ecosystems modified for the purpose of producing crops, pastures and animals in environments where water limits productivity during part of the year. These agroecosystems involve regular agricultural interventions, such as cultivation, sowing, nutrient, weed, pest and disease management, and harvest. This unit will explore the interaction of environment, crops/pastures and agricultural management. You will gain knowledge and skills on crop physiological, growth and development responses to the climatic, edaphic, biotic factors in the growing environment. You will also develop a sound understanding of how to manage crops, weeds, diseases, pests and employ precision agriculture. This unit will prepare you to continue on a pathway of understanding and developing improved plant production systems and joining the vast range of professionals that are eagerly sought around the globe.
Lectures two hours per week; tutorial three hours per week; three field trips
Quizzes, practical report, exam
Pratley J (Ed.) (2003) Principles of Field Crop Production. 4th edition. Oxford University Press: Melbourne, Australia. Marschner P (Ed) (2012) Marschner's Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants, 3rd edition. Elsevier, London Anderson WK, Garlinge JR (Eds) (2000) The Wheat Book. Department of Agriculture Western Australia: South Perth, Australia. Whelan, B.M., Taylor, J.A. (2013) Precision Agriculture for Grain Production Systems. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, Australia. Pearson CJ, Ison RL (1998) Agronomy of Grassland Systems. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, Melbourne.
Understanding of experimental design and analysis including dependent and independent variables, random and representative sampling, t-tests a simple designs and interpretation of univariate analysis.