CROP*3340 Managed Grasslands

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2018 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.

Managed forage grasses and legumes provide grazing, cover crops, conserved feed, and a wider range of services to the environment and society at large. Agro-ecological, genetic, and managerial considerations will be integrated toward addressing questions of ruminant and equine production and environmental management. Forage species will be distinguished morphologically and physiologically, focusing on adaptation to climatic, edaphic, and managerial constraints and applications for horses, including weed and poisonous plant risks. Topics will include: sward lifespan, establishment and maintenance practices, forage quality indices, integration of harvest management for pastures and stored feed, and environmental implications for plant and animal biodiversity and water quality.

Pre-Requisite(s): 1 of AGR*2050, AGR*2320, AGR*2470, ENVS*2060


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 Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

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

  1. Know of the most common perennial forage species used in Ontario. 

    • Know the biology, characteristics, lifespan, and limitations for production of the principal forage species in Ontario. 
    • Identify the perennial forage species via seed and plant parts. 
    • know of the hazards of specific forage species in livestock production and methods to mitigate these problems. 
    • Know and be able to describe the effects of various factors including tillage, seed application method and timing, seeding rate and seedling vigour, on the establishment of forage species. 
  2. Understand factors affecting forage quality. 

    • Define forage quality and be aware of the primary laboratory assays used to estimate forage quality. 
    • know crop management and environmental effects on forage quality. 
    • Describe the effects of forage species, mixture composition, stage of development, and stand age on forage quality and crop and livestock production. 
    • know the effects of ruminant and equine grazing preferences and grazing stress on species composition, and the effects of forage species on animal production and performance. 
  3. Be aware of the various harvest and on-farm utilization systems of forage crops. 

    • Describe how forages can be integrated as cover crops in annual cropping systems. 
    • Understand nitrogen fixation of forage legumes and nitrogen transfer and use by companion grasses or subsequent crops. 
    • Describe how hay, silage, and haylage are preserved and techniques that can be used to enhance their quality, utilization, and economic use. 
    • Define management intensive grazing and the terms stocking rate, stocking density, period of stay, rest periods, recovery period, forage allowance and number of paddocks required for effective rotational grazing systems.
  4. Know current scientific advances that relate to forage crop production and utilization. 

    • Be familiar with the key current scientific literature related to advances in forage crop research and use. 
    • Demonstrate the ability to investigate these advances further, to describe the scientific basis of these advances, and to assess the impact to existing production practices or new opportunities.
    • Present ideas in written or oral formats about forage management and research that have the potential to improve on-farm forage use.
    • Evaluate the contributions of other students with critical and appreciative comments. 

Lecture Content:

  • Forage long term trends, legume species and establishment
  • Forage grass species; structure and morphology of grass and legumes forages, grass species
  • Forages and soil health; identifying forage grasses and legumesin the field
  • Quality of forages as stored feed; preserving hay and silage
  • Introduction to pastures and dairy pasture systems
  • Beef and sheep pasture systems
  • COP and yields for pastures; grazing cover crops, fibres from forages
  • Fencing and watering for pastures; silvopastures
  • Horse pasture systems, including poisonous plant risks; hay drying for export markets
  • Advantages and disadvantages of specific forage species
  • Forage mixtures
Labs & Seminars:
  • Seed germination and forage legume species
  • Forage grass species
  • Forage legume and grass species ID at Elora Station
  • Assessing hay quality
  • Field trips

Course Assignments and Tests:

Weight %
Labs 25
Mid-Term Test 15
Final Exam 25
Review paper OR Presetation 28
Evaluating student presentations 7


Final examination:

Please refer to Web Advisor for exam schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Resource(s)

Required Texts: (Textbook)

There is not a required text for the course. Required readings of refereed papers or book chapters will be posted on CourseLink prior to each relevant class or lab. In addition, resources will be posted on CourseLink that may assist students with their papers and presentations. 

Each lab will be available on CourseLink. (Lab Manual)

Recommended Resource(s)

Recommended Texts: (Readings)

(Available on reserve in the library):

Collins, M., Nelson, C.J., Moore, K.J. and Barnes, R.F.(Eds). 2017.  Forages: An Introduction to Grasslands Agriculture. 432 pages. Wiley-Blackwell

Cover Crop Innovators

Flack, S. 2016. The Art and Science of Grazing. Chelsea Green Publishing

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, Publication 19. Pasture Production.

Government Documents Book Stacks (CA2ON AF5 P019).

Additional Resource(s)

CourseLink (Website)

CourseLink will be used to relay information associated with the course including lab manuals, and copies of slides used in lecture presentation.

Course Policies:

Grading Policies

See the section above on Course Assignments and Tests. Specific grading policies are included for each assignment. Unless otherwise stated, the grade of any assignment will be reduced by10% per day for each business day beyond the due date.  

Course Policy on Group Work

While students may work in groups in the lab periods, each student will usually submit an individually prepared lab report. If a group report is requested by Instructors, students will have the option to submit an individual report. 

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Unless you are otherwise informed for specific classes, all electronic devices are not to be used for any purpose. Exceptions may be granted, upon request, to students requiring an electronic device for accessibility purposes. 

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

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

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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:


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