APMA98-Experimental Horticulture

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
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:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Alexey Mikaberidze

Email: a.mikaberidze@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Become familiar with crop experimentation, gain experience in experimental design, and carry out an experiment and analyse the results. Visit a range of sites to see experiments and horticultural research in the field and consider applications to agricultural / horticultural research and extension in developing countries. 


For the student to become familiar with crop experimentation, to gain experience in experimental design, carry out an experiment and analyse results and to visit a range of sites to see experiments and horticultural research in the field. 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;

  • Carry out laboratory and glasshouse experiments and analyse the results statistically;

  • Know how to write a scientific paper to report on the findings of experiments

Additional outcomes:

  • Principles and practice of statistical analysis of designed experiments

  • Use of modern open-source tools for reproducible data analysis

  • Criteria governing plot size, blocking and replication for field experimentation

  • Learn about experimentation and dissemination of results in different contexts through outside visits 

Outline content:

The content will start with an introduction to design of experiments involving crops. Laboratory and glasshouse experiments will be designed, carried out and analysed statistically. Experimental approaches to horticultural research will be examined.

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:

  • Commercial vegetable grower in the East of England

  • The National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, Kent

  • Crops Research Unit, Sonning Farm (Reading University)

  • Rothamsted Research (long-term experiments)

Possible optional visit to:

  • Cereals Event (June)

  • CEDAR (Centre for Dairy Research, Readi ng University)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures, practicals, outside visits. There is also the possibility for students to take 14 additional optional hours of outside visits (2 hours in the Spring term and 12 in the Summer term). 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 6
Seminars 2
Practicals classes and workshops 18
External visits 24
Guided independent study: 50
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One scientific paper using results of four related experiments carried out in class – 250 word abstract (maximum) plus main text (max. six pages) plus appendix (max. two pages). An exact template will be provided as for the journal Experimental Agriculture (70%)

Horticultural experimentation exercise (30%)

Relative percentage of coursework: 100%

Formative assessment methods:

For the 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 scientific paper for one of the experiments which will be peer-assessed in class. 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

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Written course work (analysis and report 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: 30 September 2020


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