Module Information

Module Identifier
BDM5720
Module Title
Sustainable Home Grown Feed
Academic Year
2015/2016
Co-ordinator
Semester
Distance Learning
External Examiners
  • Professor Richard J Murphy (Professor - University of Surrey)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Forum posts  Minimum of 10 individual posts per student with a total word count of approximately 1500 words.  25%
Semester Assessment Group report  Electronic group report on issues and developments in agronomy related to feed and forage science. Discussion threads and record of individual contributions to be submitted. Each student will contribute approximately 2,500 words.  40%
Semester Assessment Literature review  Critical literature review of the potential of rotational farming to maximize the delivered ecosystem services. Length 2,000 words.  35%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to the failure of the module.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Review and evaluate crop rotational practices.

2. Compare and evaluate the use of a range of forages, cereals and legumes for ruminant feed.

3. Critically appraise the potential for current research in feed and forage agronomy to allow agricultural production to adapt to the challenges of climate change.

4. Critically appraise the potential for current research in agronomy to protect and enhance soil fertility.

Brief description

This module will explore rotational farming practices in the context of mixed farming systems and will examine the different crop options, their suitability for different situations and regions, their use in the feed ration, and crop management approaches (weed, pest and disease control, fertiliser regimes). The module will focus upon the optimization of these factors to secure a home-grown supply of feed whilst protecting soil fertility. The wider environmental and economic implications of different management practices will also be evaluated in context with current UK and European policy.
Through the distance learning programme students will evaluate the cultivation of a range of home grown feeds and forages and investigate the factors underpinning efficient agronomical practices. Current research being carried out in IBERS and NIAB-TAG will have a significant impact on the precise module content.

Aims

The aim of this module is to consider in detail the principles and practices supporting the optimization of crop rotations on mixed farming systems with particular reference to livestock nutrition and soil health. The agronomy of key crops will be evaluated, as will the use of cover crops and green manures to boost soil fertility. Students will benefit significantly from the research being conducted in this area in house at IBERS and NIAB-TAG and so have the opportunity to learn about the advances at the forefront of forage and cereal science.

Content

This module will comprise 20 hrs of formal input and will cover the following areas:
  • Overview of mixed farming systems and soil health;
  • Crop rotation regulatory and environmental implications
  • Building soil fertility through crop rotation;
  • Cultivation and harvest techniques;
  • Managing plant health and weed control;
  • Economic evaluation of home produced feed;
  • Examination of whole crop, corn cob mix and crimped maize;
  • Evaluation of protein crops, cereal and brassica crops, and short term grass lays.
The module will feature a range of recorded lectures and interviews with key researchers and some film material that will teach students about current advances in forage and crop agronomy that take an ecosystem services approach to crop production. The fundamental principles of each of topic will be conveyed to the student in a lecture format. In addition, key research publications and interviews with researches will form the basis of a 'case study' demonstrating how research is driving innovation in each area.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will be required to examine and synthesize quantitative data from a range of publications and databases (e.g. FAOSTAT) in their assignments.
Communication Students will be expected to be able to express themselves appropriately in their assignments and in regular forum posts.
Improving own Learning and Performance Detailed feedback will be given for assignment work and in the forum assessment.
Information Technology Students will be required to source information from a variety of scientific publication databases.
Personal Development and Career planning This module will provide the students with the latest research into home grown feed to help them provide the most up-to-date information/advice to their colleagues/clients in the agri-food industry.
Problem solving Online forum posts will be used to help develop and improve students problem solving skills, through use of questions that present theoretical problems for the students to solve.
Research skills Students will be required to undergo directed self-study and work towards their assignment and so will develop their literature research skills.
Subject Specific Skills The agronomy practices relating to the cultivation and harvest of feeds and forages that govern the optimization of rotational farming.
Team work Students will be required to work together to produce the online report.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 7