AP1A25-Agriculture in Practice

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Mr Georgios Gadanakis

Email: g.gadanakis@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

The module aims:
• To develop an understanding of a range of farming systems, types of farm management practices and agricultural businesses; and
• To develop employability skills (developing presentation skills, written and oral communication skills, build team working skills and develop familiarity with the use of information technology on the field and in classroom).

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
• Compare and contrast a range of farming systems in relation to their physical, social and economic attributes;
• Develop formative, well-argued views on selected topical issues affecting agriculture, rural communities and the countryside;
• Understand the breadth and diversity of agriculture systems and how they fit into the rural economy.

Through the farm visits students are asked to identify and categorise those business management skills that are linked to a successful and profitable farm. In addition, through both the lectures and farm visits students develop the ability to identify and develop new activities to keep the farm profitable.

Additional outcomes:
Upon completion of the module, students will have developed a series of employability skills;
• Report writing – developing the ability to critically assess and analyse a problem
• Presentation skills – developing skills in presenting oral reports and debating
• Analytical thinking – developing reasoning and appraisal skills
• Interaction with other students and business managers – developing team work and communication skills
• Interpersonal skills – developing skills in purposive questioning

The students, will be able to provide illustrative examples of the different management practices applied by farming systems in the UK and incorporate them in the concepts of agricultural intensification, animal welfare, limited natural resources, biodiversity, and integrated pest management in sustainable agriculture.

Outline content:
Students will visit a range of farm businesses, the hosts of the visits will be the farm owners/managers, or site directors. The visits include:
• Arable and livestock enterprises
• Field scale vegetable growers
• Mixed farming estates
• Organic producers
• Ancillary industries (machinery, chemicals, etc.)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Students will visit up to five farm / businesses per term. Prior to each farm visit, students will receive information in both soft and hard copy in order to enable note taking and the development of a more constructive interaction with the host. The use of Information Technology will be incorporated in order to transform field trips to an interactive experience for the students. Field visits will be interspersed with class room discussion and formative feedback.

Students will be expected to present their perspectives on key aspects of the visits through discussions, graphs and figures, and short written reports.

Please note that the contact hours below are indicative only.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 8 8
External visits 20 20 2
Guided independent study 20 21 1
Total hours by term 48.00 49.00 3.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Report 30
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Other information on summative assessment:
1. Farm visits (50% of module mark)
(i) The assessment will include a series of exercises linked to the farm visits. Further details will be provided prior to the first visit. All summative assessments must be handed in by the dates specified in the autumn and spring terms. Dates will be advised in relation to each visit and subject area.

2. Topical issue (50% of module mark: 30% written report, 20% presentation)
Students will select their topical issue of interest from an extensive list.
(i) Presentation – a 5 minute presentation will be presented to the class, with an additional 5 minutes for questions
(ii) Written report – 800 word (maximum limit), processed report on the topical issue.

Formative assessment methods:
At the beginning of the autumn term students will be asked to install to their Android/Windows/iOS devises the “Socrative” student app. This is used for in class quizzes, open questions, group competitions and instant feedback. The App enables the user to present graphs and instant reports. This will enable further understanding and also will allow the instructor to evaluate and assess learning techniques and methods.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    Requirements for a pass: 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By three hour examination in August/September.

    Last updated: 11 April 2016

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