Welcome to Cropping Systems! In this course we will learn a version of crop science that takes into account the interplay between i) the management decisions farmers make (individual agency) and ii) the larger structural forces beyond farmer control (e.g. climate, soil type, commodity prices). Together, the interaction between these two variables results in a cropping system. In this course we will analyze the design of cropping systems for specific livestock, poultry and cash crop enterprises. We will discuss the major factors that affect crop yields, quality and economy of production such as choice and interchangeability of crops, crop sequence, tillage, pest control, cover crops, harvesting, drying and storage. The goal of this course is to develop a mental toolkit and habits of mind to assist you in agriculture-related careers.
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Academic Department (or campus):
Class Schedule and Location:
At the end of this course, students should be able to:
- Explain causes of complexity, diversity and dynamics of field crop production systems.
- Identify and describe components of crop production, including how these components are organized and optimized into a production system given constraining factors such as climate, soil type, livestock, species adaptation and morphology, and economics.
- Analyze how these components and their interactions influence resource use efficiency, crop physiology, soil properties, carbon balances, the nitrogen cycle, water and air quality and identify feedback mechanisms that producers can manipulate to improve system productivity.
- Explain how the above production systems concepts are currently utilized in Ontario, as well as systems used in Western Canada, the US Midwest and other developed and developing regions of the world.
Topics to be covered in lectures include:
Definition of cropping systems - goals and objectives / overview of factors affecting cropping system choice
Moisture and temperature effects on cropping systems
Soils and cropping systems - soil carbon cycle
Soils and cropping systems - nitrogen cycle
Biomass/Residue production and effects on field-scale nutrient cycling
Livestock production and cropping systems
Economics / markets and cropping systems
Tillage - objectives, interaction with soil, climate, crop physiology
Tillage - no-till systems and alternative tillage approaches
Multiple crop systems
Precision ag and cropping systems
Intensive cropping systems
Course Assignments and Tests:
|Assignment or Test||Contribution to Final Grade||Learning Outcomes Assessed|
Final Exam - Take Home
Every week after Thursday's class, an online quiz will be released on CourseLink for you to complete. It will be due Wednesday morning at 10:30 AM. Cognitive science indicates that re-testing yourself on material you've learned over expanding intervals allows you to cheaply and reliably commit huge volumes of information to long-term memory. This is the impetus of weekly tests.
In total 11 quizzes will be provided (no quiz on reading week and final week of classes). Each quiz is worth 3% of your final grade. Your lowest scoring quiz is dropped when calculating your final grade, so only 10 quizzes are used to calculate final grades.
SH** Happens Clause: You can invoke the clause on one quiz at any time before the due date by emailing me. Once invoked, you are granted an immediate 3-day extension on the quiz. No explanation required.
Additional readings consisting primarily of peer-reviewed journal articles will be provided on CourseLink.
Course Policy on Group Work:
Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:
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:
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:
- For Graduate Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/graduate/2018-2019/genreg/sec_d0e2182.shtml
- For Undergraduate Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c08/c08-ac.shtml
- For Diploma Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/diploma/current/c08/c08-ac.shtml
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:
- For Graduate Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/graduate/2018-2019/genreg/sec_d0e2632.shtml
- For Undergraduate Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c08/c08-amisconduct.shtml
- For Diploma Students: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/diploma/current/c08/c08-amisconduct.shtml
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.
Course Evaluation Information
Your ratings and comments are important. Course evaluation data are used to assess and enhance the quality of teaching and student learning at the University of Guelph. Student course ratings and comments are used as an important component in the Faculty Tenure & Promotion process, and as valuable feedback to help instructors improve their teaching effectiveness and to improve the delivery of the course.
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.