Learn How to Use Engineering to Solve Problems in Horticulture and Agriculture
- Lay a foundation for solving land management problems
- This course complements Engineering I,but is a stand alone course -you can do it by itself
Developing skills to apply appropriate and innovative engineering solutions, to improve efficiency and productivity in agriculture and horticulture. It covers: surveying, earthworks, water management, environmental control (eg. heating, cooling, ventilation, etc.), fencing, chemical applications, mechanising manual tasks, improving engineering efficiency/operations and developing engineering solutions to different workplace tasks/problems.
There are 9 lessons in this course:
Developing engineering solutions
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Explain surveying, including basic principles and techniques, appropriate for horticulture and agriculture
Determine earthworks required for an agricultural or horticultural site
Determine appropriate water management for an horticultural/agricultural site.
Determine technological solutions for environmental control problems, in rural or horticultural situations.
Explain the operation of equipment commonly used to apply pesticides and other chemicals in both horticultural and agricultural workplaces.
Determine appropriate fencing to use for different purposes; including security and restricting the movement of animals, pests or traffic, in agricultural and horticultural situations.
Explain the operation of machinery commonly used to mechanise manual tasks
carried out in horticultural and agricultural workplaces.
Evaluate the effectiveness of engineering applications in agricultural and horticultural workplaces.
Determine procedures for improving work tasks in agricultural and horticultural situations.
Finding Engineering Solutions
Generally, there will always be more than one possible engineering solution to any given problem. The kind of factors that will be important to the final decision will include things such as cost, durability, complexity, implementation time-scale, or changeover period. Obviously, if an idea is not practical it will be discarded, however sometimes an idea which isn't initially appropriate can be manipulated to fit the problem with a little thought. The main thread here is - don't dismiss something until you’re completely sure of its unsuitability.
An excellent example of an engineering solution to the problem of dairy farm efficiency is the rotating milking shed. Previously, all milking sheds had been designed where a number of cows either stood side by side meaning a good deal of leg work for the milker and a good amount of double handling or a line of cows, one behind another. This did not require the milker to travel the same distances but meant that all cows being milked at the same time were retained until every last cow had finished being milked before any could be released and new cows brought into the shed. It created a number of problems such as impatient cows and impatient workers. If a cow is not milked properly and thoroughly then diseases such as mastitis will occur.
The rotating shed might accommodate between 25 and 100 cows at the same time depending on its capacity. Cow A walks onto the milking floor, she is bailed in, has the cups applied and the entire floor moves around one space. Cow B then walks into her stall and the same procedure takes place. Should cow A finish giving milk she will be disengaged and allowed to move off to feed, if however she has not finished milking after completing a circuit, then she can remain on the milking machine and do another lap. No other cows are held up and the shed can be run by two people very effectively.
A plant nursery can be either of a retail or wholesale type. While they both are in the business of selling plants, the work processes involved vary accordingly. A wholesale nursery sells plants to a retail outlet which in turn sells to the general public. Therefore, as a general guide, the wholesale nursery is involved in propagation and nurturing techniques.
A typical work procedure that could be refined or honed to its utmost effectiveness might be the placing of cuttings into tubes (very small pots which are approx. 6cm X 3cm) or liners as they are sometimes called. This task requires a number of steps to complete. These steps should be detailed or noted. Are there tasks that could be handled at the same time as one another? Does the layout of the nursery slow down certain procedures? For example, are the primary greenhouses (where plants are initially kept after being potted) close or convenient to the potting shed? Are the tertiary houses near to the dispatch area? Little things like these which are only small percentage type problems can add up to rather large improvements.
A retail operation might place stock into more ornamental pots (i.e. re-potting). It might also if business is brisk look into refining the processing of sales, detail staff procedure when dealing with clients, or book work perhaps.
One of the reasons that engineering is viewed as an exciting career is the unlimited and undiscovered solutions that often exist to a single problem. As technology advances it can make previous solutions outdated or inefficient. Not all solutions need be of a high tech nature either but might merely require that a different perspective be placed upon the problem in order to find the most applicable solution. Lateral thinking processes require that a problem be tackled from all angles and that all possibilities are entertained. Nothing is too ridiculous to propose in the planning stage although if time and money is being heavily invested then a line should probably be drawn.
Why Choose This Course
- Unique course materials (developed by our staff) and more current than some colleges (many reviewed annually); as a result, ACS graduates can be more up to date.
- We work hard to help you understand and remember it, develop an ability to apply it in the real world, and build networks with others who work in this field (It’s more than just serving up a collection of information –if all you want is information, buy a book; but if you want an education, that takes learning to a whole new level).
- Start whenever you want, study at your own pace, study anywhere
- Don’t waste time and money traveling classes
- We provide more choices–courses are written to allow you more options to focus on parts of the subject that are of more interest to you; a huge range of elective subjects are offered that don’t exist elsewhere.
- Tutors are accessible (more than elsewhere) – academics work in both the UK and Australia, 5 days a week, 16 hours a day. Answering emails and phone calls from students are top priority.
- We treat students as individuals –don’t get lost in a crowd. Our tutors communicate with you one to one.
- Extra help at no extra cost if needed. When you find something you cannot do, we help you through it or will provide another option.
- Support after you finish a course –We can advise about getting work, starting business, writing a CV, etc. We can promote students and their businesses through our extensive profile on the internet. Graduates who ask will be helped.
- Support from a team of a dozen professional horticulturists, living in different parts of the UK, and in both temperate and tropical climate zones of Australia.
ACS was started in 1979 by John Mason, who at the time was a gardening author, horticultural consultant and lecturer in horticulture at several colleges across Melbourne (in Australia). Over the summer that year John discovered that there were thousands of applicants going to be turned away from horticulture courses at Burnley Horticultural College (now Melbourne University). There were simply too few courses being offered for the number of people wanting to study horticulture in Australia. This situation prompted a move to establish a correspondence course at Burnley; but after months of unsuccessful lobbying for support from government; John wrote a course, and with help from a colleague at Council of Adult Education, marketed it.
Standards were originally set in line with what were seen to be the standards of Australia's top horticultural college; and over the years, those standards have never been reduced. This makes our courses longer and more demanding than some other colleges; but it has also led to us building a credibility that stands tall in the horticulture industry across the world.
In the early 1990's John started visiting the UK and becoming involved with the horticulture industry there. Around the mid 1990's ACS began offering RHS courses, and in 2003, John was formally recognised for his contribution to British Horticulture by being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture. ACS, as a school, established an office and staff in the UK in 2001, and has expanded considerably since then. Today it is formally affiliated with five other colleges in the UK (including Warwickshire College); all of who license and deliver ACS courses.
A team of leading horticulturists work for the school's horticulture department, including 12 faculty members in both the UK and Australia
How You Study
- As soon as you enroll, we send an email to explain it all.
- We direct you to a short orientation video (downloadable over the internet) to watch, where our principal introduces you to how the course works, and how you can access all sorts of support services
- You are either given a code to access your course online, or sent out a CD or course materials through the mail (or by courier).
- Work through lessons one by one, each lesson typically having four parts:
- An aim -which tells you what you should be achieving in the lesson
- Reading -notes written and regularly revised by our academic staff
- Set Task(s) -These are practicals, research or other experiential learning tasks that strengthen and add to what you have been reading
- Assignment -By answering questions, submitting them to a tutor, then getting feedback from the tutor, you confirm that you are on the right track, but more than that, you are guided to consider what you have been studying in different ways, broadening your perspective and reinforcing what you are learning about
- Other - Your work in a course rarely stops at just the above four parts. Different courses and different students will need further learning experiences. Your set task or assignment may lead to other things, interacting with tutors or people in industry, reviewing additional reference materials or something else. We treat every student as an individual and supplement their learning needs as the occasion requires.
- We provide access to and encourage you to use a range of supplementary services including an online student room, including online library; student bookshop, newsletters, social media etc.
- We provide a "student manual", that is a quick solution to most problems that might occur
- ACS has a highly respected international profile: by employers and academics alike. People are more aware of us than many other distance education schools –just do a search for “horticulture distance education courses” and see what comes up on the internet; or search for ACS Distance education on Facebook or Linked in, and see how many connections we have compared to other colleges.
- Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
- ACS has been educating people around the world since 1979
- Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
- Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
- A faculty of over 40 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.
Extra Books or Reference Materials
- The course provides you with everything that you need to complete it successfully.
- Assignments may ask you to look for extra information (eg. by contacting nurseries, visiting gardens or searching the internet), but our school's resources and tutors are always available as a back up. If you hit a "roadblock", we can quickly send you additional information or provide expert advice over the phone or email; to keep you moving in your studies.
- Some students choose to buy additional references, to take their learning beyond what is essential for the course. If a student wants to buy books, we operate an online bookshop offering ebooks written by staff at the school. Student discounts are available if you are studying with us. The range of e books available is being expanded rapidly, with at least one new ebook being written and published by our staff every month. See www.acsebook.com