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Crop Physiology and Production

Introduction:

This module provides a clear understanding of the principles and limitations of modern crop production practices. The module does not provide specific details for individual crops; the aim is to provide advanced, but generic, understanding of the science underpinning crop production in both the field and glasshouse. It will also provide an appreciation of the diversity of crop production practices and techniques that are used around the world in specific production situations. Lectures will be supported by on site monitoring of field and/or glasshouse crops and by visiting commercial production to illustrate application, context and business practice.

Objectives:

On completion of this module participants will be able to:

  • Understand principles and practices that underpin modern crop production practice.
  • Exploit understanding in plant science gained from this course in the context of different agricultural and horticultural practices.
  • Optimise and manipulate crop scheduling, yield and quality in sustainable (environmentally sensitive) production.
  • Recognise, implement and exploit best practice from a range of agricultural sectors.

Contents:

  • Introduction to crop production.
  • Seed quality: causes of variation in quality and vigour; methods of sampling and testing for seed quality, vigour and health.
  • Understanding seed germination: effects of seed production and germination environment on performance; methods for enhancing performance.
  • Crop establishment and early growth from seed: seedbeds and soil conditions; influence of establishment on yield and crop production efficiency.
  • Clonal/vegetative propagation: cuttings, grafting, rootstocks and tissue culture.
  • Transplant technology: plant raising, transplant machinery and regrowth.
  • Crop scheduling techniques: single and multiple harvests.
  • Effects of the aerial environment on crop growth and development.
  • Manipulation of the aerial environment: mulches, fleeces, plastics and protected cropping.
  • Water relations and management: water use efficiency; irrigation systems and hydroponic crops.
  • Crop storage and post-harvest quality.
  • Case studies, visits and practicals.