AP2A56-Grassland Management & Ecology

Module Provider: Agriculture
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Prof Simon Mortimer

Email: s.r.mortimer@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Grasslands make up the largest component of farmed area in the UK and 50% of total land cover. Examine the ecology of grassland systems, the management of grasslands for livestock production, the conservation, utilisation and feed value of grassland forage. Consider the environmental impacts of grassland management and the multiple ecosystem services that grasslands deliver. In addition to classroom sessions, take part in a farm visit and learn through a practical application exercise on grassland management planning.

The aim of the module is for students to become familiar with the principles and practices of grassland management focussing on agricultural production objectives, but also considering ecological purposes.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
• Explain differences between various grasses and legumes with respect to agronomic and animal production factors and select varieties for different situations.
• Make appropriate grassland management decisions with respect to establishment, enhancement, maintenance, grazing and grass conservation.
• Explain the differences between growing grassland for animal production and for environmental benefit.
• Evaluate options for establishing agri-environment schemes on grassland farms.
• Evaluate grassland productivity and quality for livestock production from grazing and conserved forage.
• Describe a range of environmental issues associated with the management of grassland for livestock production and explain how they might be mitigated.
• Assess relevant literature on a range of grassland management and ecology topics in addition to the lecture material.
• Describe the i nteractions in the pasture/animal production system and evaluate the key components determining productivity of animal products.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
The course will start with an introduction to grasslands detailing their distribution and classification, including some practical work on grass identification. Subsequent sessions will provide invaluable knowledge for students interested in the management of grassland for livestock production, wildlife and environmental protection. Sessions will explore issues surrounding the establishment and diversification of existing grassland, coupled with grazing management and methods of promoting wildli fe. The nutrition and feed value of grasses and legumes will be discussed and approaches to weed control examined. Lecture topics include:
• Introduction to grasslands and grass and legume species
• Grassland establishment & management
• Growth and feed value of grass
• Conserving grass
• Grazing management
• Grassland management for farmland birds, plants and insects
• Weed control
• Environmental benefits and issues with grassland management

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will have a core thread of classroom sessions supplemented by fieldwork and a farm visit to enhance understanding of various grassland species, types of grassland, and management of pasture for livestock production. This module also uses Team-Based Learning methods to help students engage with the principles and apply then to realistic situations. This includes guided learning between class sessions to equip students for team application exercises in class.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Fieldwork 4
Guided independent study: 76
Total hours by term 0 100 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Set exercise 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Written report on a farm visit (50%)

Grassland management plan for a case study farm (50%)

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor 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:

Re-examination by resubmission of coursework.

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: 27 July 2020


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