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: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Yiorgos Gadanakis

Email: g.gadanakis@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module provides you with opportunities to engage with, visit and analyse a variety of agri-businesses. Through visits to businesses, in-class interactive lectures and real world scenario assessments, you have an exciting opportunity to gain a detailed understanding of agri-businesses including financials, policy frameworks/legislation and business management. You will also gain excellent networking opportunities through regular visits and guest lecturers.


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 the ability to coherently write and present the current status of an agribusiness, including both financial and well supported and a rgued evidence from published data and research

  • Presentation skills – developing skills in presenting oral reports and/or conducting debates, in order to summarise effectively business decisions and rationale

  • Perform analytical and critical thinking in reference to a variety of agribusinesses – developing numeracy, literacy, reasoning and appraisal skills

  • Develop the ability to engage with professionals within the agricultural sector an d communicate the outcomes of a business analysis exercise

Additional outcomes:

  • Occupational awareness – understanding the nature, requirements and challenges of running an agribusiness in globalised economic environment

  • Interpersonal skills – developing skills in purposive questioning

  • Data collection – developing skills in collecting data from different sources

  • Team work and interaction with other students on trips and in assessments

Outline content:

Students will visit and meet a wide range of businesses and professionals 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; diversification enterprises.

Subjects covered in more formal lectures will include the following:

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

• Busines s structures; financial management, building planning, business planning and control

• Farm records, staffing, livestock/crops legislation; wider agricultural legislation, farm assurance and agri-environment schemes

• The development of the rural economy and agricultural industries over time

Global context:

Agriculture is part of the global economy. As such, this module applies and considers the global context of agriculture, including world markets, trade and legislation. It also brings in consideration of climate change on a global scale.

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 repo rts on specified aspects using the visits as case examples

• Presentations – discussion and presentations to tutors, industry professionals and other students and host farmers

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 7 10
Tutorials 3
Practicals classes and workshops 3 2
External visits 12 12
Guided independent study: 75 76
Total hours by term 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 35
Oral assessment and presentation 15
Set exercise 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • 20% Budget Builder

    • 80% Excel sheet

    • 20% Exec Summary

  • 30% Farm Planning Exercise

  • 50% Contract Farming Exercise

    • 70% Report

    • 30% Presentation

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 Support Centres 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 (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):

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

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: 12 March 2021


Things to do now