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AGR2303 Agronomy

Semester 1, 2019 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Agronomy
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 050101 - Agricultural Science
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Keith Pembleton


Continued crop production is critical to the health of the Australian economy. It is essential that individuals supporting the agricultural industries are familiar with the principles and methods of production of the major field crops, pasture plants and horticultural species used in Australian farming systems. Such knowledge and associated critical and creative thinking agriculture graduates will require to ensure that crop productivity continues in a landscape with increasing constrained biophysical resources. Knowledge of the impacts of cropping practices on soil, water and other species will also be important so graduates can contribute to the sustainability of the broader agricultural landscape. Understanding the pressures facing food producers in ensuring sufficient, safe and nutritious food for world populations will prepare graduates for the future opportunities and challenges in the agricultural sphere.


This course outlines the characteristics and growing approaches of the main plant species used in Australian farming systems. The characteristics of field crops, pasture plants and horticultural species are outlined. Land preparation, planting approaches, fertiliser use and irrigation systems are also detailed. The major biological threats to crop health are discussed including weeds, microbial diseases and insect and vertebrate pests. The impacts of cropping on environmental health are explored. The course finishes with an exploration of food security in the 21st century.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. explain the characteristics of the main field crops, pasture plants and horticultural species used in Australian farming systems
  2. apply competence in the design and analysis of crop production systems
  3. apply an appreciation of the principles of crop and pasture production used in Australian cropping systems
  4. critically evaluate the main biological threats to crop health
  5. integrate knowledge of the interactions between cropping systems and the landscape in which they reside
  6. critically evaluate the natural, demographic, logistical, economic and political pressures facing food producers


Description Weighting(%)
1. Characteristics of crop species and cultivars I. Field crops 5.00
2. Characteristics of crop species and cultivars II. Pasture plants 5.00
3. Characteristics of crop species and cultivars III. Horticultural species 5.00
4. Land preparation, tillage and planting approaches 10.00
5. Fertiliser use 10.00
6. Harvesting 15.00
7. Plant production systems I: dryland production 10.00
8. Plant production systems II: irrigation production 15.00
9. Plant production systems III: Small-holder and peri urban production 5.00
10. Crop protection (weeds, diseases and pests) 5.00
11. Impacts of cropping on soil, water and other species 5.00
12. Food security in the 21st century 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Pratley, J 2017, Principles of Field Crop Production, 4th amanded edn, Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.
(Available online for free at

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 62.00
Lectures 26.00
Private Study 64.00
Tutorials 13.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Tutorial Report Assignment 1 100 12 02 Apr 2019 (see note 1)
Tutorial Report Assignment 2 100 13 02 May 2019 (see note 2)
Crop Production Plan 100 25 23 May 2019 (see note 3)
Exam 100 50 End S1 (see note 4)

  1. Examiner to advise the due date of assignment 1.
  2. Examiner to advise the due date of assignment 2.
  3. Examiner to advise the due date of the crop production plan.
  4. This will be a closed examination. The total working time for the examination is 2 hours. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each assessment item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Closed Examination, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their thesis to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2. forms part of the Bachelor of Science (BSCI) and is benchmarked against the internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review.

Other requirements

  1. Access to a computer with a windows operating system, a 1 GHz CPU and 512MB RAM on which APSIM ( can be installed (Instructions for installing APSIM are provided in the course).