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HR922 - Organic & Other Low Input Production Systems

  • Module code: HR922
  • Module name: Organic & Other Low Input Production Systems
  • Department: School of Life Sciences
  • Credit: 10

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

There is considerable world-wide interest in organic and other low input production systems because of the perceived benefits that they provide in terms of food quality, food safety and reduced environmental impact when compared with ‘conventional’ production systems. Crop production within low input systems provides a ‘challenge’ to farmers and crop scientists alike in determining how to use their knowledge of the interactions between the soil and plants, and plant pests and pathogens, to grow crops with sufficient yield and quality. The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the production techniques employed within such systems. The course will focus on arable and horticultural crops but consideration will be given to livestock production within the context of a mixed farming system. The module will: - Describe organic and other low input systems and the ethos behind them. - Provide historical background on their origins and development. - Outline the requirements of organic certification schemes. - Examine the methods used to build soil fertility within low input systems. - Outline approaches used in the production of arable and horticultural crops within low input systems, including pest, disease and weed control in arable and horticultural crops. - Consider the relative ‘benefits’ of organic and low input systems and the opportunities for development and expansion of low input and organic production systems in the future.

Principal learning outcomes

Understand the principles underlying organic and low input systems and have an appreciation of their history. Understand the techniques that are used to maintain soil fertility without synthetic fertilisers and to grow marketable crops that are unaffected by pests and disease. Evaluate critically the environmental and other ‘benefits’ of growing crops in low input versus conventional production systems.

Timetabled teaching activities

Module duration (weeks) :2 Lectures: 22 hrs Seminars: 2 hrs External visits: 3 hrs

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
10 CATS (Module code: HR922-10)
A2 (Assessed work only) 1500 word Essay 65%
  Poster 35%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

  • Postgraduate Taught Environmental Bioscience in a Changing Climate (D4A1) - Year 1
  • Postgraduate Taught Sustainable Crop Production: Agronomy for the 21st Century (D4A2) - Year 1
  • Postgraduate Taught Food Security (D4A3) - Year 1
Optional Core