AP3A82-Business Planning and Control

Module Provider: Agriculture
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
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:

Good management is a crucial factor in the success of any business. Farms are therefore no exception. The success of a farm unit depends on the time that farm managers are spending on decision making and the time spend on the development of management skills. The agricultural production systems in the UK and in the word are becoming more and more challenging due to: mechanisation of production, increasing farm size, continued adoption of new production technologies and new improved varieties of seeds and animal breeds, growing capital investment per worker, more borrowed or leased capital, new marketing alternatives and increased business risk due to market volatility and climate variability. The main objective of this module is to teach students how to effectively manage a farm business by increasing the efficient use of the four factors of production (human capita, financial capital, physical capital, entrepreneurship). The module introduces students into the use of financial statements and tools for decision making, and uses the production function to describe how resources are allocated efficiently in order to maximise revenue by examining the relationship between factor-factor, factor-product, and product-product.  Through practical examples and exercises the students review a series of tools used for farm planning and control. 

The module has the following broad aims:
- To develop understanding of the control function of farm management
- To develop understanding of the fundamental role that planning plays in managing a farm business
This encompasses the following objectives:
- To review and interpret farm business data, particularly for measuring and analysing the performance of a business in financial terms
- To apply planning methods and techniques to facilitate managerial decisions making and resource planning

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of the module you will have developed the following management and core skills:
- Familiarity with the control function of management and its role in the management process, concentrating on financial record keeping and management accounting, analysis and interpretation
- Experience in carrying out the appraisal of the use of capital investment funds using Net Present Value and Internal Rate of Return
- Familiarity with various types of financial planning methods and their actual use in business decision-making
- Whole farm and resource planning focused on land, labour and machinery use
- Knowledge of the basic methods available for structuring and analysing decisions under uncertainty
- Knowledge of the basic concepts that underpin managerial economics and the logic for taking decisions on what to produce, how to produce and how much to produce

Additional outcomes:
- Analytical thinking - developing problem-solving, numeracy, literacy, reasoning and appraisal skills
- Report writing - demonstration of ability to produce clearly written reports that meet specific criteria
- Spreadsheet skills - developing skills in the use of spreadsheets for business control (financial management) and planning (decision making)

Outline content:
1. Financial record keeping
2. Management accounting, analysis and interpretation
3. Financial planning, budgeting techniques
4. Whole farm and resource planning
5. Structuring decisions to deal with risk and uncertainty
6. Optimisation techniques for management decision making
7. Managerial economics, key concepts

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The delivery strategy for the module is a combination of introductory and follow-up lectures/tutorials based around exercises undertaken in class and also outside of timetabled hours.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Practicals classes and workshops 10 10
Guided independent study 80 80
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Practical skills assessment 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:
A one and a half hour exam answering two questions from a choice of four.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
One financial management exercise. The emphasis will be on business appraisal, control and planning skills.

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 Re-Examination in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    1) Required text books:

    The John Nix Farm Management Pocketbook for farm management – 20xx edition

    Available in the university library:

    Farm management / Ronald D. Kay, William M. Edwards, Patricia A. Duffy. 7th ed New York : McGraw-Hill, 2012.

    Applied farm management / Jonathan Turner, Martin Taylor. 2nd ed. Oxford : Blackwell Science, 1998.

    Financial management for farmers and rural managers / Martyn F. Warren. 4th ed. Oxford : Blackwell Science, 1997.

    2) Specialist equipment or materials:

    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:

    4) Printing and binding:

    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:

    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: 

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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