AP2A64-Farm Business Management

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: AP1SB1 Introduction to Management and AP1A02 Introduction to Agricultural and Food Systems
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Matthias Siebold

Email: m.a.siebold@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:


Students will learn about the administration and management of agricultural and rural enterprises, covering (i) the business aspects of production with the emphasis on labour, machinery and capital management tools for planning, decision making and control, (ii) through farm visits the opportunities for alternative enterprises and diversification.  Students will also develop employability skills that will be needed during their management careers.

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the end of the module you will have developed the following management and employability skills:

• Business analysis, planning, decision making and control – analysis of business performance, and application of planning and decision making techniques within the rural sector

• Report writing – developing both analytical and presentational skills

• Presentation skills – developing skills in presenting oral reports and/or conducting debates

• Analytical thinking – developing numeracy, literacy, reasoning and appraisal skills

Additional outcomes:
• Occupational awareness – understanding the nature and requirements of working in a particular sector with particular emphasis on business management and organisation
• Interpersonal skills – developing skills in purposive questioning
• Data collection – developing skills in collecting data from different sources
• Team working and interaction with other students

Outline content:

Students will visit and meet a wide range of businesses and people working in the rural economy. Visits may include some of the following:

• Arable and livestock producers • Estates and diversified enterprises

• Woodland management • Agri-environment schemes

Subjects covered in more formal lectures will include the following:

• Business analysis, resource planning, decision making and control tools

• Business structures; financial management, planning and control

• Farm records, including staffing, livestock, crops and related legislation; farm assurance


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module involves a combination of farm visits (up to four per term) and lectures.
• Preparatory lectures – building on AP1A02 and AP1SB1
• Guided tours of farms and businesses
• Tutorials – including in class exercises to reinforce and apply what has been learned
• Directed learning – reflecting on your experience and assignments
• Report writing – students must produce written reports on specified aspects using the visits as case examples
• Presentations – discussion and presentations to tutors and other students and host farmers

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 7 10
Tutorials 3 0
Practicals classes and workshops 3 2
External visits 12 12
Guided independent study 75 76
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 25
Set exercise 75

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • 25% Rapid Business Appraisal

  • 25% Farm Planning Exercise

  • 50% Contract Farming Exercise

Formative assessment methods:
In-class exercises applying theories taught will be undertaken with immediate verbal feedback given, followed by written feedback/answer documents provided via Blackboard as appropriate.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    By written report in August

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    1) Required text books: The John Nix Farm Management Pocketbook (of the current year)

    2) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: A pair of Wellington boots, a waterproof pair of trousers and a windproof, waterproof jacket are essential during the farm visits


    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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