PPS-30806 Analysing Sustainability of Farming Systems

Course

Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Lecture20
Tutorial32
Practical19
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. KE Giller
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. KKE Descheemaeker
dr. ir. L Bastiaans
dr. R Hijbeek
ir. MJ Zijlstra
dr. ir. MA Slingerland
ing. HCA Rijk
prof. dr. KE Giller
ing. MTMH Lubbers
W Marinus MSc
LS Woittiez MSc
Examiner(s)prof. dr. KE Giller

Language of instruction:

EN

Assumed knowledge on:

PPS-20306 Systems Analysis, Simulation and Systems Management; PAME: Plant, Animal, Man and Environment. http://www.pame.wur.nl/ module 2: plant production; CSA-20306 Plant-Soil Interactions.

Contents:

The course presents a sustainability analysis of relevant processes in crops, cropping systems and grasslands. The time horizon extends from days to several growing seasons; analyses include the soil balances of water, nutrients and carbon. Emissions and external effects of emissions are treated. Insight is gained into: natural agro-ecological and socio-economic determinants of cropping systems; multiple cropping systems including intercropping, crop rotations and agroforestry; long-term carbon and nutrient balances of agro-ecosystems; soil degradation and its determinants. The student will use relevant dynamic models and tools for spatial analysis including GIS.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate insight into the agro-ecological and socio-economic determinants of cropping and grassland systems;
- describe and explain the benefits and disadvantages of multiple cropping systems including intercropping, crop rotations and agroforestry;
- interpret long-term carbon and nutrient balances of agro-ecosystems;
- illustrate soil degradation and its determinants;
- evaluate cropping systems and grassland management systems with respect to sustainability indices e.g. (soil quality, water and nutrient productivity) and external effects;
- apply relevant dynamic models and tools for spatial analysis including GIS;
- quantify the major interactions that occur between different components (soils, crops, fodder, livestock) of production systems in time and space.

Activities:

- actively attending lectures;
- analyses of case studies;
- preparing and discussing oral presentations;
- computer practicals on relevant models.

Examination:

Written 3 hours exam with open questions (65%). The remaining 35% of the mark for the continual assessment of presentations and assignments (oral presentations and/or reports on agroecological characterization, nutrient budgets, carbon stocks, water and FARMSIM will be assessed). The minimum mark of 5.5 is applied separately for the examination and the continual assessment.

Literature:

Study guide and syllabus.

ProgrammePhaseSpecializationPeriod
Restricted Optional for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScA: Spec. A - Agroecology5AF
MPSPlant SciencesMScA: Spec. A - Crop Science5AF
MPSPlant SciencesMScC: Spec. C - Natural Resource Management5AF