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. 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, vegetative and reproductive growth and development, 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, disease and pest management, and precision agriculture are discussed in theoretical and practical terms. 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 2-hour tutorial/practical each week. Day-day field trips during weeks 3, 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. Marschner, P. (ed) (2012) Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants. 3rd Edition, Academic Press, London. Anderson, W.K., Garlinge, J.R. (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.
(BIOL2023 or BIOL2923 or PLNT2003 or AGEN2001) and (SOIL2003 or SOIL2005)