Agronomy I - Foundations

Course CodeBAG306
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn About the Fundamentals of Agronomy to Farm Broad Acre Crops

  • Fibres  e.g. cotton
  • Oils  e.g. safflower, sunflower
  • Stock feed and food crops. e.g. cereals, pulses

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. INTRODUCTION TO AGRONOMIC PRACTICES
    • Introduction
    • Crop types
    • Plant structure and function
    • Transpiration rate
    • Selection criteria for plants
    • Understanding monoculture
    • Row crops
    • Cover crops
    • Crop operations
    • Planter types
  2. CULTURE - WHAT INFLUENCES CROP GROWTH
    • Soils
    • Problems with soils
    • Loss of soil problems
    • Erosion
    • Salinity
    • Soil sodicity
    • Soil acidity and alkalinity
    • Improving soils
    • Cultivation techniques
    • Plant nutrition
    • Nutrient deficiencies
    • Organic fertilisers
    • Soil life
    • Insect pests
    • Diseases
  3. CROP HUSBANDRY PRACTICES
    • Operations
    • Identifying weeds
    • Ways to control weeds
    • Spraying
    • Irrigation
    • Chemical crop protection
    • Preparing plant pathogens for microscopic observation
    • Culturing pathogens
    • Natural pest and disease control
    • Physical controls
    • Organic sprays and dusts
  4. SEED AND SEED MANAGEMENT
    • Seed storage
    • Types of seed storage
    • Seed vigour testing
    • Dormancy factors affecting germination
    • Germination treatments
    • Types of media
    • Media derived from rock or stone
    • Media derived from synthetic materials
    • Organic media
    • Diseases
    • Salinty build up
  5. ARABLE CEREAL CROPS
    • Cereal crops
    • Zadock scale
    • Wheat
    • Barley
    • Oats
    • Triticale
    • Sorghum
    • Maize
    • Rice
    • Millet
    • Sugar cane
    • Ryegrass
    • Hay and silage
    • Quality control
    • Storage and handling
    • Hydroponic fodder
  6. ARABLE BROADLEAF CROPS
    • Characteristics of broadleaf crops
    • Oil crops
    • Chickpeas
    • Narrow-leafed lupins
    • Canola
    • Faba beans
    • Cover crops
    • Common legumes
  7. HARVESTING
    • Crop preparation for harvest
    • Crop harvest equipment
    • Forage harvesting equipment
    • Cereal harvesting equipment
    • Root crop harvesting equipment
    • Grain storage
    • Contract harvesting
  8. CROP MANAGEMENT - SPECIAL PROJECT
    • Crop management from planting to post harvest handling

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.


Learn to Make Better Choices about What and How to Grow

Agronomic broad acre crops are often grasses in particular cereals like wheat and rice - but not always. 
A wide range of different crops may be considered and the right choices always need to be made. These choices may be affected by climate and soil conditions at the time of planting; but equally by market conditions and risks involved in not only successful growing but profitable marketing of the crop you produce.

Broad leaved crops are made up of dicotyledon plants - they are plants that emerge from the ground with two seed leaves, as opposed to monocotyledon crops (grass/cereal crops) that emerge with one seed leaf. Monocotyledon plants (grasses) have more than one stem (called a tiller) whereas dicotyledons have one main stem. There are other identifiers that differentiate monocotyledons from dicotyledons but as a basic rule of thumb, all grass crops are monocotyledons and all broad-leaf crops are dicotyledons. 
 
To break down our broad-leaf crops even more, we have a few groups. These are legume grain crops (commonly called pulse crops), fibre crops, oil-seed crops and fodder crops. Sometimes we have a plant that is a legume as well as an oil-seed - soybeans and peanuts are an example of such crops. Cotton is primarily a fibre crop, but the oil extracted from the cotton seed suggests that it is also an oil-seed crop.