Become a Crop Expert
This course is a solid foundation in everything to do with growing crops. Whether for a specific crop, particular types of crops, or for crops more generally, this course will introduce you to principles and practices which can be applied to help you make a success out of crop growing.
By developing an understanding of how plants grow, different types of soils, plant nutrition and methods for combating common problems like weeds, pests and diseases, you will be in a better position to manage a crop growing operation - whether small scale or large scale, and whether as an employee or business owner.
Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Agronomy is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
Learn to grow Agronomic Crops
- foods, fibres and oils
- small or large scale farming
Agronomy involves broad acre growing of crops. Major agronomic crops
include such things as wheat, cotton and rice; but there are many other
agronomic crops also grown around the world ranging from poppies grown
for pharmaceuticals to lavender grown for cosmetics. Potatoes and
carrots are agronomic crops widely grown for human consumption; as are
turnips grown for animal feed and barley grown for brewing. Agronomy is
a large and important sector of agriculture, employing many people
working both on farm, and other off farm who provide services and
supplies to farms.
Learn to Grow Different Crops for Different Markets
The agronomic farmer has to make choices every year, about what to
grow, when to grow it, and what market to sell his harvest into.
One way of managing the ever present risks in farming can be to diversify what is grown and where it is sold.
Grain for instance may sold into not only the human food market; but
can also be sold as a livestock feed. Some farmers may value add to
their grain by using it for brewing or processing into a higher value
product such as muesli or baked goods. If you choose to process and
value add; you may be able to profitably farm a smaller property.
Grains for Animal Feed
Grains can provide animals with concentrated protein, and for
livestock there may be times in their life cycle or other reasons for
providing such a boost to protein consumption. Legumes are also an
important forage type.
Cereal grains are high in carbohydrate concentrates and may be fed
whole and with no process, depending on the species of animal and
grain. Grains may be ground or rolled or crushed, this helps to
breakdown the digestible enzymes aiding in digestibility and may prevent
problems such acidosis. The cereal grains may also undergo the process
of extrusion, where they are mixed with other ingredients to then be
extruded and cut to specific shapes and sizes. Cereals or grains may
also require, or are more efficient, if they are cooked, steamed or
Barley is one of the main cereal grains and is a member of the grass
family. It is used as a concentrate for feeding cows, sheep, pigs,
horses, and even aquatic fish food flakes. It may be fed to livestock
whole, ground and rolled to break down enzymes, or even soaked in water,
which also helps prevent acid. Before feeding to a horse, barley
should be boiled or soaked for at least two hours before feeding to
prevent swelling. If feeding dry to horse barley must be ground or
rolled. Barley is also used in pet food for a variety of species. It
is commonly found it dog foods, and should be wholegrain as this holds
most of nutrients. Barley does contain gluten, and there has been much
discussion on whether gluten should be in a dog’s diet and may account
for several dietary issues.
Corn is a large grain plant, with a leafy stalk which grows seed
known as kernels. Before being fed to any cows, poultry or horses the
corn must be steam flaked, cooked or steamed. It is also included in
many pet muesli diets which are still available.
Oats are another cereal grain which produces seeds, which can be used
for animal feed concentrates and is one of the most commonly used for
livestock feed. Oats can be given whole, rolled or crushed into oatmeal
or ground into a fine oat flour and may also be cooked. Cows and
horses can be offered oats as complimentary boost in their food mix, or
given on its own.
Wheat can be fed to ruminants either ground or whole. It can be
commonly found in pet foods, including dogs however there has also been
much discussion to the quality of wheat and whether it would be better
avoided in their diet.
Soybeans are legumes which are cultivated widely and is classed as an
oil seed rather as a pulse. The soy beans are crushed during the
processing period and oil is extracted. For animal feed this is turned
into soybean meal or oil, and usually undergoes further processing. Raw
soybeans are toxic to all mono gastric animals, and should be processed
appropriately before being offered to these animals. It is used in
many animal feeds for farm animals, including pigs and poultry. The soy
bean is also used in lower graded dog foods, and is even used in some
Lentils are another legume which can be used in animal feed.
Although it is grown for human consumption, any which is regarded unsafe
may be used in animal feeds. It is generally quite expensive for
livestock feed, but has been used in poultry feed.
Peas are a legume which is widely grown around the world. The seed
itself contains a high level of crude protein. Once the crop is
cultivated and the seeds removed from the pods, the crop residue can be
fed to livestock. Ruminants digest the peas easily and are commonly
used in feed for farm animals. During processing, the pea can be dry
flaked which is then included in many small pet foods such as rabbit or
guinea pig. It can also be found in many dog and cat foods and is
believed to be easier to digest than other legumes such as soy or
Our agronomy tutors are more than happy to help, so please do ask.