Module Description

The module aims to provide the underpinning knowledge for students who are going to study a range of land-based agricultural, food and management programmes. Agriculture is based on a complex interaction of chemical, physical and biochemical processes that influence the inputs for efficient agri-food production. It is therefore essential to understand the chemical and biological scientific processes that influences plant and animal growth, animal and crop physiology; reproduction; and the impact of environmental stressors on plant and animal production such as crop and animal physiology, breeding, productivity and health.

The content of this module will include intersecting themes on crop and livestock production with a focus on optimising resource use. The role of crop science in mitigating and adapting to climate change and the process of sustainable intensification will be a key focus.  

Content for crop science includes: plant growth, how CO2, water and light are involved to fix carbon and produce the components of plant biomass from C3 & C4 photosynthesis; light capture and radiation use efficiency. Other topics include: crop evolution, adaptation, genetic structures, crop improvement strategies, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Effective use of inputs in relation to crop yield will also be covered and appropriate metrics to determine efficiency e.g. land use efficiency (yield/ha), nitrogen-use efficiency (yield/kg N available) and water use efficiency (yield/l water transpired).     

Livestock science provides the foundation for understanding how the outputs of plant production are utilised in the production of eggs, milk and meat. Content for livestock production includes: optimising resource-use, animal health and welfare,  reproduction, factors influencing growth, physiology and development, genetics and breeding, livestock nutrition and diets, optimising product hygiene and quality, , and the impact of the environment on livestock production, and vice-versa.  

Students will also discuss various ways available to farmers to manipulate the productivity of crops and animals to achieve best results and financial returns.

The module content will be divided into two sections:

-Animal Science, concentrating on the concepts of animal anatomy and physiology and their importance in manipulating animal production.

-Crop Science providing an understanding for the environmental, nutritional, genetic and synthetic inputs required for crop yield and quality.

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