Institution code: H12
4 years (full-time) including a one-year work placement
Harper Adams University campus (and location of work placement)
Efficient crop production remains the key to sustained and effective use of the rural resource. However, over recent years crop management systems have undergone considerable change. The emphasis has shifted away from purely commercial objectives, and modern crop managers must increasingly justify inputs and assess the impact of their activities on the environment.
These new demands are complex and require highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals to manage them successfully. Modern techniques and production methods are combined in the concept of integrated crop management to develop environmentally sustainable systems of crop production.
Harper Adams has extensive academic and industry experience and is actively involved in applied crop research and consultancy, including the delivery of professional training to industry. This ensures that courses are vocationally relevant and up-to-date.
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In your third year you will enjoy at least 12 months of paid employment in a sector of agriculture or the ancillary industries, depending on your individual interests and skills. Placements may involve working for large integrated arable or fresh produce businesses, a crop processor, packer and distributor, or as a field trials officer for one of the major crop protection companies. Recent placement employers include Hutchinsons, Syngenta, Agrovista, KWS, and BASF. Several commercial scholarship opportunities, linked to placement, are available to apply for with sponsoring companies paying a significant amount towards the tuition fees of successful applicants.
All agriculture students share a common first year, studying the same modules; this allows students to change course during the first year.
The first year of the course provides a general introduction to agriculture in terms animal and crop production, underpinning biological and environmental science, an introduction to farm business management and marketing, and agricultural mechanisation. In the second year of the course you start to specialise in the area of agronomy and crop management, studying areas such as soil management and crop nutrition, crop protection, crop physiology and fresh produce production, whilst continuing to study more general aspects of agriculture such as grass and forage production, waste management, and farm business management and economics. In the final part of the course your specialisation becomes complete and the focus is on crop management, studying areas such as sustainable crop production, advances in agronomy, crop breeding, post-harvest technology and a research project focused on crop management.
The course involves a combination of lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions, together with practical classes on the University farm designed to demonstrate principles in practice and the application of scientific, technological and business principles to commercial agricultural and food production. In addition, the University has extensive links with other agricultural and food related businesses, and external visits and outside speakers are integrated into the programme. Throughout the course students are expected to apply the skills acquired to solve real-life problems, such that on completion they are able to demonstrate both academic ability and commercial application, which is a combination highly valued by employers. The proportion of independent study increases as the course progresses, particularly in the final year where students have the opportunity to undertake a dissertation in a subject area of their choice.
Assessment is via a balance of course work and examination. Weighting varies depending on course and year of study, but weighting is typically around 65 per cent on course work and 35 per cent on examination; this allows individuals to play to their strengths if they are better at course work than examinations or vice versa. Types of assignment include appraising production systems on the University farm, whole farm case studies, laboratory based analyses and literature based reviews. Format of assignments varies and includes written reports, essays, technical notes, presentations and oral examinations. Students receive written feedback on all course work to help them improve. In addition, first year students undertake examinations in two subjects at the end of the first term to enable them to gauge how they are progressing and feedback is provided on these exams. Staff are able to provide advice and guidance on revision, and many modules include revision sessions.
The applied nature of the course and practical experience gained during the placement period will give you skills the industry needs. You could choose from a variety of careers, working for a multi-national company or small rural business as an agronomist, technical representative or trainee arable manager, amongst others.