APMA93-Experimental Agriculture

Module Provider: APD
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: APMA103 Rethinking Agricultural Development (including Horticulture): Implementing Solutions
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Alistair Murdoch

Email: a.j.murdoch@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

For the student to become familiar with crop and animal experimentation, to gain experience in experimental design, carry out an experiment and analyse results and to visit a range of sites to see experiments, agronomic, livestock and horticultural research in the field as practised in the UK and to consider applications to agricultural/ horticultural research and extension in developing countries.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will:-
• Understand the principles of experimental design for crops and livestock;
• Know how to write a scientific paper to report on the findings of experiments
• Carry out laboratory and glasshouse experiments and analyse the results statistically
• Learn about experimentation and dissemination of results in different contexts through outside visits.

Additional outcomes:
Principles and practice of statistical analysis of designed experiments
Use of Genstat for Statistical Analysis (ANOVA)
Criteria governing plot size, blocking and replication for field and glasshouse experimentation

Outline content:
The content will include the design and statistical analysis of experiments involving crops and livestock. Data will be captured from laboratory and glasshouse experiments and analysed statistically.

A visit to CEDAR (the University’s Centre for Dairy Research) and animal production research will demonstrate animal production research. Pesticide research will be explored by visiting a major Agro-chemical research facility. Crop research will be explored visiting an Agricultural Research Centre. Links between research and extension will be discussed.

Visits could include:
• Crops Research Unit, Sonning Farm (Reading University)
• CEDAR (Centre for Dairy Research, Reading University)
• Rothamsted Research (long-term experiments)
• Commercial vegetable growers in the East of England

Possible optional visits to:
• The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, Kent
• Cereals Event (June)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, practicals, outside visits. There is also the possibility for students to take 28 additional optional hours of outside visits (10 in the Spring term and 18 in the Summer term).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 8
Tutorials 2
Practicals classes and workshops 14
External visits 32
Guided independent study 44
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Set exercise 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Scientific papers using results of four related experiments carried out in class – 1500 (minimum) - 2000 words (maximum) (70%)
Animal experimentation exercise (30%)
Relative percentage of coursework: 100%

Formative assessment methods:
For the four experiments carried out in class, students will keep a laboratory notebook (journal of what the student did, the materials used and measurements taken). Students will use the information in this notebook and any handouts to write a draft materials and methods section as required for a scientific paper. There is no minimum or maximum word limit for the lab. notebook, but a hard-backed lined notebook is preferable and it can simply be a largely hand-written record. 500 words maximum for draft materials and methods. You will revise the materials and methods section so that it will form part of the summative scientific paper assignment.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Written course work (analysis and using experimental data provided).

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
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: 31 March 2017

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