PPS-31806 Functional Agricultural Resource Management


Code last year: (SBL-33306)

Course

Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Lecture16
Practical72
Group work2
Excursion (one day)13
Course coordinator(s)K ter Horst
dr. ir. GWJ van de Ven
Lecturer(s)MSc A van der Linden
prof. dr. RE Creamer
CJ Timler
MJ Zwetsloot
dr. ir. GWJ van de Ven
Examiner(s)dr. ir. GWJ van de Ven

Language of instruction:

EN

Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

Basic knowledge of soil, crop and livestock science is considered assumed knowledge in this course.

Continuation courses:

PPS-30306 Quantitative Analysis of Land Use Systems, SBL-51306 The Living Soil; SBL-31806 Nutrient Management; FSE-31806 Agroecology; FSE-30306 Analysis & Design of Organic Farming Systems; 

Contents:

This course aims to give you insights into natural resource management in sustainable (including organic) agriculture through the integration of knowledge about farm components (soils, plants, livestock) and the surrounding landscapes. This course is required for students of the Organic Agriculture master’s program (MOA) at Wageningen University. However, this course is also open to students from a wide variety of study programs. You will get the opportunity to learn and interact with many students from all over the world, supported by a diversity of teachers representing different fields of expertise.

Please send all your questions regarding this course to farm.pps@wur.nl, Gerrie van de Ven and Kasper ter Horst will use this mailbox for the communication regarding this course.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the management of farm components (soil, plant, animal) and natural resources and their integration towards sustainable agricultural systems.
- appreciate the complexity of integrated natural resource management at farm level and beyond, across a broad range of farming systems by simulation of integrated farm management.
- examine the reality of applying natural resource management in a Dutch organic farm case study.
- interpret the role of farm system models for evaluating the sustainability of and trade-offs within integrated natural resource management of agricultural systems.
- evaluate the farm case studies and develop management recommendations.
- compare farm systems in contrasting socio-ecological contexts on their sustainability by using metrics and indicators on production, nutrients and carbon and suggesting improvements.
- appraise options for integrated natural resource management in organic agriculture at farm and landscape scales in a specific regional setting.

Activities:

Lectures
Lectures will be given on each of the 4 themes of the course. You can find the associated presentation slides, required and supplementary reading material on BrightSpace.

Excursion
Halfway the course we will visit a local organic dairy farm. The primary learning goal of the excursion is to examine the reality of applying natural resource management in a Dutch organic farm. You will get a tour on the farm and the opportunity to ask questions to the farmer. This excursion is compulsory because the data collected during the excursion will be used in the modelling exercises. There is no mark given for the excursion, however missing it will result in a penalty on the final mark in the course.

Modelling

The primary learning goals of the modelling exercises in the course are for you i) to be able to interpret the role of farm system models for evaluating the sustainability of and trade-offs within integrated natural resource management of agricultural systems ii) evaluate data from two farm case studies, one in the Netherlands and one in Kenya and iii) develop management recommendations. You will use the models FarmDANCES and NUANCES-FarmSIM. You will collect the data needed for the FarmDANCES model during the excursion to the local organic dairy farm. There will be an introductory assignment and one for each of the models. They will include calculations and reflective questions, which have to be handed in, but will not be graded. You will work in groups and supported by the teachers, who will be present for the first half of all mornings when you are working on the modelling assignments. The farmer of the organic dairy farm will join us for a disucussion session to reflect on (a selection of) your recommendations. Two groups will be selected to present. This is not part of the course mark.  A reflection assignment on the whole modelling part of the course needs to be handed in and contributes to the final mark of the course.

Case Study

The primary learning goals for the case study are i) to be able to compare farm systems in contrasting socio-ecological contexts on their sustainability by using metrics and indicators on sustainability (production, nutrients, water, carbon, biodiversity) and ii) appraise options for (improvements in) integrated natural resource management at farm and landscape scales in a specific regional setting. You will work in a group and can subscribe to a specific case, with the limitation that all cases are represented equally.  Starting from an introduction and a video of your case you will conduct additional research and develop a conceptual model for sustainability relevant to that particular case study. Each week one member of the group will take the lead role in preparing for the activity for that week. Activities will include interviewing an expert on the case study, discussing the relevance of scientific literature in the context of the case study and developing indicators and a conceptual model and finally presentation of a poster describing the case study recommendations.  The poster is supported by a 5 page document which will be submitted for review. The presentation and the supporting material together contribute to the final mark in the course. Each week you will be supported and supervised by a teacher, specialized in the specific case subject.

Self-study

Time is reserved in the schedule for self-study. The self-study time is meant for reading the articles in the literature section of BrightSpace as well as for reviewing your own notes and progress in the course. Depending on your own background knowledge on the themes of the course, it is highly recommended that you also use the self-study time to go through the recommended modules of the MOOC on systems thinking. The link to the MOOC as well as a list of which modules are recommended are on BrightSpace.

Examination:

- Modelling assignments + reflection (20%);
- Case study poster presentation + report (20%);
- examination (60%);
All three components have to be completed with a mark of 5.5 or higher.

ProgrammePhaseSpecializationPeriod
Compulsory for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMSc2MO
Restricted Optional for: MOADDSpec. Agroecology DDMSc2MO