CROP*3340 Managed Grasslands

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2015 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, 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 production and environmental management. Species will be distinguished morphologically and physiologically, focusing on adaptation to climatic, edaphic, and managerial constraints. Topics will include: physiological attributes of forage species, sward lifespan, establishment and maintenance practices, forage quality indices and harvest management.

Offered in even-numbered years.


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Winter

Class Schedule and Location:

Please refer to Web Advisor for class schedule and location.

Learning outcomes:

The material will be presented and discussed using a lecture/seminar format supplemented with hands-on laboratory exercises; attendance at the FarmSmart Conference at the University will be included as part of the course schedule. Each participant will also select, from a prescribed list specified by the instructor, a recently published journal article on a specific topic related to forage production. Participants, working in teams of two, will explore the subject in greater depth and present a 30 minute powerpoint presentation to the class; this presentation will include the scientific basis of the new knowledge.  Concurrently, participants will also create a written summary of their topic suitable for inclusion in a newsletter for forage producers; these summaries will be provided to the Ontario Forage. The Prescribed list of articles is appended to the Course Outline.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:
  1. Have knowledge 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.
    • Be able to identify the perennial forage species via seed and plant parts.
    • Have knowledge 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 seedbed, seeding rate, timing, and competition, on the establishment of forage species.
    • Be aware of seed production and processing systems used for forage seed, and gain experience in measuring certain seed quality factors associated with germination and establishment of perennial species.
  2. Understand factors affecting forage quality.
    • Be able to define forage quality and be aware of the primary laboratory assays used to estimate forage quality.
    • Have knowledge of crop management and environmental effects on forage quality.
    • Be able to describe the effects of forage species, mixture composition, stage of development, and stand age on forage quality and crop and livestock production.
    • Have knowledge of the effects of animal grazing preference 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.
    • Be able to describe how forages can be integrated and their use optimized in annual cropping systems.
    • Understand  nitrogen fixation of forage legumes and nitrogen transfer and use by companion grasses or subsequent crops.
    • Be able to describe how hay, silage, and haylage are preserved and techniques that can be used to enhance their quality, utilization, and economic use.
  4. Have knowledge of current scientific advances that relate to forage crop production and utilization.
    • Be aware of recent scientific advances related to forage crops.
    • 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.
    • Gain experience in conveying the advances to fellow scientists in both oral and written form.
    • Gain experience in conveying the advances to farmers in written form.

Lecture Content:

Topics to be covered in lectures include:

  • Alfalfa
  • Other legumes
  • Grasses
  • Hazards
  • Varieties & performance
  • Establishment
Labs & Seminars:

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Grade
Identification Quiz 10%
Lab Reports 15%
Journal Article Presentation (Group) Report 25%
Journal Article Written Report (Group) 5%
Journal Article Written Report (Individual) 10%
Peer Assessments 15%
Term Exam 20%

Final examination:

Please refer to Web Advisor for exam schedule and location.

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

There is no required text.

Recommended Texts:

You will use journal articles for researching your topic.

Lab Manual:

Will be provided through CourseLink.

Other Resources:

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

Field Trips:

FarmSmart, a conference held at the University of Guelph and will be incorporated as part of the delivery of information relevant to the course. Registration fees for students registered in CROP 3340 will be covered.

Course Policies:

Late Submission:           

A penalty of ten marks (out of 100) will be imposed for each day that submission of an assignment or required material is late. Failure to present an oral report on the scheduled day will result in a zero grade.

Grading Policies:

Presentations will be graded based on a rubric which weights the Presentation & timing 40%, Content 50%, and Questions 10%. Both the Instructor and the students will be involved in assessing the presentation.

Written reports will be graded based on a rubric which weights the Content 35%, Logic and referencing 35%, and style and grammar 30%

Course Policy on Group Work:

Individual Grades for a Group Assignment will be weighted by the Instructor based on a confidential assessment by each group members regarding the relative contribution and collaboration by their fellow group members to the research, writing, and presentation.

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

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without the prior consent of the Instructor. This prohibition extends to all components of the course, including, but not limited to, lectures, seminars, and lab instruction. 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:

CourseLink will be used to relay information associated with the course.

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:

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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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