CROP*3300 Grain Crops

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 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.

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 will provide information focusing on cereal crop production in Ontario. The course project will allow students to focus their study on a crop kind (e.g. abiotic or biotic constraint) or production systems (e.g. agronomic practice) of their choice.


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. 

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
  • Rye/Oat/Triticale
  • Managing Nutrients for Grain Production
  • Weed Management in Grain Cereals
  • Selected student 3 minute poster presentations
Labs & Seminars:

There are no labs scheduled for this course.

  • Introduction to graphic design for digital posters and creating a video presentation using WeVideo
  • Using library resources, specifically database (e.g. web of science) word searches

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Grade Learning Outcomes





1, 2, 3, 4, 5


15% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Final Exam


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Grain Crops Infographics 
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Students will choose a cereal grain crop and prepare an infographic focusing on one or more aspects of the crop including: origin and domestication, adaptive traits, genetics and genetic resources, contributions of plant breeding and crop improvement, its production in Canada, the world, major biotic and abiotic constraints for its production in Canada (and Ontario), post harvest processing and handing, end uses and economic issues in world production/marketing/trade. The purpose of the infographic is to verbally and visually represent the data to help others clearly understand the information you would like to present. The aim of an infographic is to allow the reader to draw conclusions. This assignment gives the student the opportunity to apply knowledge gained in this course and share with their peers. There will be a recorded seminars on an introduction to graphic design for digital posters and on using library resources, specifically databases such as web of science for retrieving journal articles related to the topic of student choice on January 18th and 20th respectively, during scheduled class time to prepare students to successfully complete this assignment.
A basic overview of the history and use of information graphics is available on Wikipedia: (check out examples of "good" and "bad" infographics)
Other links to help with making the infographics:
Making images and infographics accessible:
Create your infographic using the website:
For extracting statistics about the crop in Canada and globally:
Government of Canada Infographics examples:
Infographics (Poster 3 minute presentation) (15%)
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Individual students will prepare a 3 minute pre-recorded presentation which may be viewed in class on Thursday April 7th, 2022. The video clip should focus on the cereal grain crop selected for the infographic and may focus on one or more aspects such as: origin and domestication; adaptive traits; genetics and genetic resources; current production system in Canada (and Ontario); contributions of plant breeding and crop improvement; major abiotic or biotic constraints and best farming practices related to the constraint; post-harvest processing and handling; or economic issues in world production/marketing/trade. The presentation assessment will be done by the teaching assistant using the following criteria (total 15 points). To assist students to successfully complete this assignment there will be a recorded seminar lead by L. Robinson on creating a video presentation using WeVideo on January 18th, during scheduled class time. Students may provide constructive comments on videos from peers via CourseLink.
  1. Adequate title, tags, and description (3 = excellent; 2 = acceptable; 1 = poor)
  2. Quality of content (3 = excellent; 2 = acceptable; 1 = poor)
  3. Length or duration (3 = excellent; 2 = acceptable; 1 = poor)
  4. Good description or a comprehensive narrative (3 = excellent; 2 = acceptable; 1 = poor)
  5. Technical quality (3 = excellent; 2 = acceptable; 1 = poor)

Recording Your Presentation

  1. Each presentation should ideally be 3 minutes long (max 5 minutes).
  2. Presentations should be either a shoulder up view of the person presenting or a video recording with your camera blocked out (to create a back screen with audio only).
  3. This short video should detail enough that the audience gets a good idea of what your poster is about, including a brief introduction with an explanation of various sections of your poster.


Final examination:

Please refer to Web Advisor 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

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The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


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