AGR*2470 Introduction to Plant Agriculture

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2022 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

The basic principles of plant morphology, nutrition, growth, and development will be related to where and how agriculturally significant plants are grown. Cropping systems will be considered as frameworks for crop production analysis. The course uses examples of temperate agronomic, temperate horticultural, and sub-tropical/tropical crops and cropping systems. Labs include problem-solving exercises in the context of plant production.

Prerequisite(s): 1 of BIOL*1050, BIOL*1070;
Restriction(s): AGR*2150


Teaching Assistant:


Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to WebAdvisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. relate where and how agriculturally-important plants are produced to basic crop development and phenology, crop-environment interactions, crop genetics and breeding, crop ecology, and crop management and economic factors;
  2. assess factors governing crop growth, crop selection and cropping systems at the field, farm and regional levels and begin to provide recommendations on such factors;
  3. understand both the significance of plant agriculture and the challenges facing plant agriculture in the 21st Century;
  4. successfully pass ‘Section 4-Crop Management’ of the written exam required to become a certified crop advisor through laboratory exercises and a crop essay;
  5. communicate effectively in the plant agriculture industry and show improved numeracy and literacy skills through the writing of a crop essay and preparation of laboratory exercises.

Lecture Content:

Topics to be covered in lectures include:

  • Agriculturally-Significant Plants
  • Properties of Solar Radiation and Effects of Light on Crop Plants
  • Efficiency of Solar Energy Use in Agroecosystems
  • Influence of Temperature on Plant Agriculture
  • Influence of Moisture on Plant Agriculture
  • Genetic Improvement of Crop Plants
  • Crop Nutrition
  • Canadian Field Crop Production Systems
  • Fundamental Laws Shaping Temperate Cropping Systems
  • Cereal Crop Management (corn, wheat, oats)
  • Oilseed (soybean, canola) and Forage Management (hay, silage, grazing)
  • Chocolate, Coffee and Tea
  • Staples: Rice, Cassava, Yams and Sweet Potatoes
  • Rubber and Cotton
  • Temperate Vegetable Production
  • Protected Horticulture
  • Temperate Fruit Production
Labs & Seminars:

Topics to be covered in labs & seminars include:

  • Crop Growth & Developmental Staging
  • Solar Energy & Crops
  • Abiotic Crop Adaptation
  • Crop Nutrition & Nutrient Deficiencies
  • Cropping & Tillage Systems
  • Seed Quality & Seeding Factors
  • Plant Propagation
  • Regulatory & Economic Aspects of Cropping Systems
  • Organic & Hydroponic Cropping Systems

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test

Lecture Midterm



Crop Essay



Final Exam



Lab Assignments



Final examination:

Please refer to WebAdvisor for exam schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

Non applicable

Other Resources

There is NO textbook or lab manual that needs to be purchased for the course. PowerPoint presentations for each lecture will be posted on CourseLink. Required and supplemental readings will also be posted on CourseLink. All lab exercises and associated readings will be provided on CourseLink at least one week prior to the lab.

Online Resources: 

Prior to each lecture and lab, you will need to download PowerPoint lectures, lecture handouts, lab exercises, and readings from CourseLink. The CourseLink website is at Login using your central email server user name and password. Laboratory exercises for a given week will be available through CourseLink at least one week prior to each applicable lab period. The Dept. of Plant Agriculture website is at (useful links and general info.) and the Dept. of Plant Agriculture undergraduate website (overview of undergrad programs and courses) is at

Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

The standard penalty for late assignments will be 10% of the assignment value per working day late. Saturdays and Sundays are not considered working days in AGR*2470 for students and instructors, except during the final examination period for students and instructors. Please note that these policies are binding unless academic consideration is given to an individual student. Also see Undergraduate Grading Procedures.

If the Midterm cannot be written on the scheduled date, or if the Crop Essay Assignment cannot be handed in on the scheduled due date, the Lecture Coordinator (B. Micallef) should be informed ahead of time. Contact your GTA ahead of time if a lab assignment cannot be handed in on the scheduled due date, and if you cannot attend a lab in the F2F Stream. A failure to follow these rules could result in a loss of marks.

Course Policies on Lab Sections & Lab Attendance in the F2F Stream

Please remain in the assigned laboratory section unless it is absolutely necessary to change. If a lab needs to be permanently switched, please contact the Lab Coordinator (B. Micallef). Depending on space availability in a specific lab section, a classmate may need to be found that is willing to switch. Please refrain from attending another lab section temporarily. In any event, a temporary switch must be approved by the Lab GTA first, and the members of a group in the F2F Stream must be informed so duties can be assigned accordingly. No lab section will have greater than 20 students.

Attendance is mandatory in Labs 1, 2 and 3 in the F2F stream. If a student must miss a F2F lab for a legitimate reason, contact the GTA ahead of time and determine if the lab can be made up in another lab section. Supporting documentation for the absence must be provided where appropriate. Under no circumstances can a F2F lab be made up outside of the six designated lab times. If the GTA or Lab Coordinator discovers that a member of a F2F lab group does not have a legitimate reason for missing a lab, and for not contributing equally to performing activities for Labs 2 and 3, marks will be deducted that reflect the lack of participation.

Working in Groups and Individually in AGR 2470

Importantly, student groups will work together in Labs 3 & 5 to make measurements and collect data, but each student must then work independently in analyzing and graphing data and in writing the individual lab assignments. Students must work individually in completing all lab assignments.

Other Course Information:

Course participants should be aware that the following activities are viewed as academic misconduct:
  1. No Quotation and references. Plagiarism has occurred if the author does not place quotation marks around word-for-word copying of print or electronic format source material even if the source is correctly cited. To further reduce the possibility that a quotation will be misrepresented or mistaken as one’s own work, instructors may request that quotations be italicized or double indented.
  2. Degree of fidelity to source. Plagiarism has occurred if the author’s writing is clearly recognizable as essentially derived from cited or uncited print or electronic format sources, even though the author has altered the original source material by inverting word or sentence order, or substituting synonyms. Authors should summarize and synthesize ideas and concepts rather than interchange words.
  3. Identical individual projects and assignments. Plagiarism will be strongly suspected if two or more students submit individual projects and assignments that are substantially but not necessarily totally identical.
  4. Editing answers. It is an improper academic practice to add, delete, or edit answers after the exam period has concluded or after an assignment has been handed back, or to use prohibited materials during an exam.
Using Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor (webcam)

This course requires the use of Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor (webcam) to proctor the online midterm and final exam within CourseLink. The midterm and final exams will be delivered online via the Quizzes tool. There will be an entry window during which students can enter the online exam.

Use of Lockdown Browser with a webcam has been implemented to maintain the academic integrity of the midterm and final exams. Students must download and install LockDown Browser and Monitor to complete the practice tests and exams. When writing the practice tests and exams, students must show their university issued identification card during the Respondus Startup Sequence.

Like a sit-down exam where a student must arrive prior to the start of the exam, it is highly recommended to enter the online exam environment in Respondus at least 20-30 minutes before the start of the exams to ensure there is enough time to complete the Respondus Startup Sequence and to ensure the full time for the exam.

Important Note: There will be a mandatory practice test provided for each online exam. The purpose of the practice tests are to ensure that Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor is set up properly and that students are comfortable using the software.

Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor Requirements

Respondus LockDown Browser is a locked browser for taking quizzes in CourseLink. It prevents students from printing and copying; using other operating software; using search engines (e.g., going to another URL); communicating via instant messaging; and it blocks non-web-related software (e.g., Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word).

Respondus Monitor is a companion application for LockDown Browser that uses webcam and video technology to ensure academic integrity during online exams. The software captures video during the exam and allows the instructor to review the video once the exam is completed.

To use Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, the following technical requirements must be met.

  1. Operating Systems: Windows 10, 8, 7; Mac OS X 10.10 or higher.
  2. Memory: Windows 2 GB RAM; Mac 512 MB RAM.
  3. For Mac users: Safari must function properly on the computer.
  4. Mac users must have Adobe Flash Player installed to Safari, even if a different browser is normally used.
  5. Functioning webcam and microphone. The webcam and microphone can be built into a computer or it can be the type that plugs in with a USB cable. (Students will be required to do an environment scan of their room, so please ensure that the computer, laptop or webcam can be moved for this scan.)
  6. A broadband Internet connection. It is recommended that students access the Internet via a wired connection.
Courselink System Requirements

Students are responsible for ensuring that their computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure browser settings are compatible and up to date. (Results will be displayed in a new browser window)

Technical Skills

As part of your learning experience, you are expected to use a variety of technologies for assignments, lectures, teamwork, and meetings. In order to be successful in this course you will need to have the following technical skills:

  • Manage files and folders on your computer (e.g., save, name, copy, backup, rename, delete, and check properties);
  • Install software, security, and virus protection;
  • Use office applications (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or similar) to create documents;
  • Be comfortable uploading and downloading saved files;
  • Communicate using email (e.g., create, receive, reply, print, send, download, and open attachments);
  • Navigate the CourseLink learning environment and use the essential tools, such as Dropbox,
  • Quizzes, Discussions, and Grades (the instructions for this are given in your course);
  • Access, navigate, and search the Internet using a web browser (e.g., Firefox, Internet Explorer); and
  • Perform online research using various search engines (e.g., Google) and library databases.

Contact your Teaching Assistant if you need support with any of the above.

Technical Support

If you need any assistance with the software tools or the CourseLink website, contact CourseLink Support:

University of Guelph Day Hall, Room 211
Tel: 519-824-4120 ext. 56939; Toll-Free (CAN/USA): 1-866-275-1478

Walk-In Hours (Eastern Time):
Monday thru Friday: 8:30 am–4:30 pm
Phone/Email Hours (Eastern Time): Monday thru Friday: 8:30 am–8:30 pm; Saturday: 10:00 am–4:00 pm; Sunday: 12:00 pm–6:00 pm

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community, faculty, staff, and students  to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.

University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


The University of Guelph is committed to creating a barrier-free environment. Providing services for students is a shared responsibility among students, faculty and administrators. This relationship is based on respect of individual rights, the dignity of the individual and the University community's shared commitment to an open and supportive learning environment. Students requiring service or accommodation, whether due to an identified, ongoing disability or a short-term disability should contact the Student Accessibility Services (SAS), formerly Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD), as soon as possible.

For more information, contact CSD at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208 or email or visit the Student Accessibility Services website:

Course Evaluation Information

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Your responses will not affect your grade.  Course evaluation data are distributed to individual instructors after final grades have been submitted to the Registrar, following the completion of each academic semester.

Please be honest, respectful, constructive and thorough.  Instructors and review committees place great value on student course ratings and read all comments provided in course evaluations. It is helpful to provide comments on the strengths of the course, in addition to the areas for improvement.  Please refrain from personal comments unless they relate to teaching and learning.

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