APS-20806 System Approach in Animal Sciences


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Learning supported by IT24
Practical intensively supervised48
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. EAM Bokkers
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. IJM de Boer
dr. ir. EAM Bokkers
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. IJM de Boer
dr. ir. EAM Bokkers

Language of instruction:


Internet site:


Continuation courses:

APS-30306 and APS-31306


The course gives an introduction into the systems approach. This approach is practised using examples from current animal production practices
This course is also available as Distance Learning course; see for more information http://www.distancelearning.wur.nl/UK/

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this course, a student is expected to be able to:
- define the system that corresponds to a specific research question. This implies that, given the research question, the student is able to define the system boundary, the components of the system and their mutual relations, and the context of the system;
- to understand the systems approach and the different methods/techniques used in different steps, as applied by the Animal Production Systems group to explore sustainable development options of animal production systems;
- to analyze farm characteristics statistically using SPSS software;
- to simulate and analyze the behaviour of a system in time using STELLA software;
- to understand the use of linear programming and scenario analysis as tools to study sustainable development options in animal production systems;
- to assess the contribution of various animal production system to sustainable development based on quantification of sustainability indicators.


Each week, this course deals with a topic, which is introduced by a general lecture. Subsequently, students study the lecture material and prepare the assignment individually. Each week is concluded with a lecture in which feed back on the week assignment is presented and discussed.


Written exam in English.


Study guide and reader in English.

Compulsory for: BBPOrganic AgricultureBSc
BASAnimal SciencesBSc4WD
Restricted Optional for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScA: Agro Ecology4WD
MOAOrganic AgricultureMScB: Consumer and Market4WD