CROP*3300 Grain Crops

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2023 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.
Management strategies and world production of the major temperate grain crops are studied relative to their botanical and physiological characteristics and to available environmental resources. The utilization of grain crops for human food, livestock feed, and various industrial products are examined.
Pre-Requisites: AGR*2050 or AGR*2470
Management strategies and world production of the major cereal crops are studied relative to their botanical and physiological characteristics and to available environmental resources. More specifically, the course covers the origin, domestication, morphology, genetic diversity, adaptation, management and utilization of cereal crops. Students will also learn about breeding for crop improvement. Invited OMAFRA crop specialists and guests will provide information focusing on cereal crop production in Ontario. The course project will allow students to develop their communication skills and focuses on a current topic in crop production.


Teaching Assistant:

Deus Mugabe B.Sc., M.Sc.

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Winter

Class Schedule and Location:

Please see WebAdvisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, students will be expected to have studied major cereal crops and farming/cropping systems in which they are produced. Students will be able apply their knowledge to present strategies for cereal production improvement in the context of Ontario agriculture.

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

  1. Appreciate the diversity, ecogeographic distribution of cereal crop plant species, their wild relatives and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Discuss cereal crop production contribution to world food requirements with current levels of production and consider factors that may affect this relationship.
  2. Describe the scientific names, origin, domestication, genetic makeup, breeding systems and major production areas of globally important cereal grain crops.
  3. Recognize the major abiotic and biological factors (diseases and pests) affecting major cereal grain crops and be able to describe their effects on crop productivity and quality.
  4. Identify major end uses for cereal crops and quality issues that impact marketing, utilization/consumption and nutrition.
  5. Describe ecological, biological principles of crop productivity. Identify factors that determine the sustainability and economic viability of cereal crop production.
  6. Communicate effectively in a written and oral manner about a current topic in crop production.


Lecture Content:

Lecture topics for this course include:
  • Introduction; Cereal Grain Crops of the World
  • State of the World's Food Security; Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  • Tropical Maize (Amazing Maize)
  • Maize (Corn Pests & Diseases)
  • Maize (Corn Breeding)
  • Maize (Corn Production in Ontario)
  • Maize (Physiology of Corn Yield)
  • Tropical Cereals Rice, Sorghum & Millets
  • Pseudocereals
  • Wheat (Evolution, growth stages, end uses)
  • Winter wheat (winter survival)
  • Wheat (Pests & Diseases)
  • Wheat Breeding
  • Wheat (Production in Ontario)
  • Wheat supply chain and the chemistry of flour
  • Barley
  • Managing Nutrients for Grain Production
  • Weed Management in Grain Cereals
  • Student group lead paper discussions
Labs & Seminars:

There are no labs scheduled for this course.


Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Grade Learning Outcomes



Final Exam


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Written Report


Journal Paper Discussion Leading





Written Report on Assigned Journal Paper
Learning Outcome: 6

Students will be assigned an article from the peer-reviewed literature on a current topic in crop production. A written report will be based on information in the abstract and introduction, results, and discussion of the paper. The background to the paper in the introduction must be clearly described. The hypothesis and/or objectives of the paper clearly outlined. The figures and tables from the paper interpreted and used to comprehensively discuss the study outcomes and conclusions.
Journal paper discussion leading
Learning Outcome: 6
Students will be assigned to small groups to lead the assigned paper discussion in person during the final week of classes. The paper discussion will be broken down into introduction, results and discussion and each group will be assigned sections of the paper to present. The class assignment is to introduce the paper, based on the information in the abstract and introduction to the paper and lead a discussion that involves the class. A PowerPoint presentation to be used to introduce the paper and manage the discussion. The introduction should describe the background to the paper and should include a figure or a table from one of the references in the introduction (not the paper itself) to help describe the purpose of the article that is being discussed. The introduction should also include the hypothesis that is being tested and the objectives of the paper. The figures and tables from the discussion paper (one slide per figure or table) copied into the PowerPoint presentation to manage the discussion. Class members will be asked to fill evaluations for the Introduction and Discussion Leading after the class using evaluation sheets.

Final examination:

Please refer to WebAdvisor for exam schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

Not applicable

Recommended Texts:
Encyclopedia of Grain Science (Textbook)
Wheat: science and trade (Textbook)
Cereal Grains: Assessing and Managing Quality (Textbook)
Cereal Grains: Assessing and Managing Quality: 
Lab Manual:

Not applicable

Other Resources:

Not applicable

Additional Costs:

Not applicable

Course Policies:

Grading Policies:
If you choose to submit assignments to the DropBox tool late, the full allocated mark will be reduced by 5% per day after the deadline for the submission of the assignment to a limit of six days at which time access to the DropBox folder will be closed. Late Graded Homework Assignments will NOT be graded, if they are submitted after the solutions have been posted to CourseLink.
Extensions will be considered for medical reasons or other extenuating circumstances. If you require an extension, discuss this with the instructor as soon as possible and well before the due date. Barring exceptional circumstances, extensions will not be granted once the due date has passed. These rules are not designed to be arbitrary, nor are they inflexible. They are designed to keep you organized, to ensure that all students have the same amount of time to work on
Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Texting and use of electronic devices, except for laptops, are prohibited in lecture and lab.

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

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The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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