Qualification - Advanced Certificate In Applied Management (Crops)

Course CodeVBS001
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

Horticulture Course for Farming Crops.

This Advanced Certificate develops both the skills required to manage a horticultural farm (eg. Market Garden, Orchard), and also the knowledge in the identification, growing, processing and marketing crops and crop related products. This course involves seven units, plus a 200 hr workplace project.

CORE UNITS Click on each module for more details

Office Practices
Develops basic office skills covering use of equipment, communication systems (telephone, fax, etc) and office procedures such as filing, security, workplace organisations, etc.

Business Operations

Develops knowledge of basic business operations and procedures (eg. types of businesses, financial management, business analysis, staffing, productivity, etc) and the skills to develop a 12 month business plan.


Develops knowledge of management structures, terminology, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.

Marketing Foundations.

Develops a broad understanding of marketing and specific skills in writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling.


The three specialist units include:

1. Outdoor Plant Production

2. Protected Plant Production

3. Another Crops Module chosen from the following options:

Fees do not include exam fees


Selected Module Outlines

Outdoor Plant Production

This course has ten lessons.

  1. Crop Production Systems To explain different cropping systems and their appropriate application for the production of different types of crops
  2. Organic Crop Production To evaluate and explain organic plant production, and the requirements in at least two different countries, to achieve organic certification.
  3. Soils and Nutrition To understand the function of soils and plant nutrition in outdoor cropping systems.
  4. Nursery Stock Production Describe the commercial production of a range of nursery stock.
  5. Tree Fruit Production Describe the commercial production of a range of tree fruit crops.
  6. Soft Fruits Production To develop an understanding of the techniques used to produce a range of soft fruits.
  7. Vegetable Production To develop an understanding of the techniques used to grow a range of vegetables.
  8. Cut Flower Production To develop an understanding of the commercial production of outdoor cut flowers.
  9. Herbs, Nuts and Miscellaneous Crops To develop an understanding of the commercial production of herbs, nuts and other miscellaneous crops.
  10. Crop Production Risk Assessment To understand the risks that may occur in outdoor crop production.

Protected Plant Production

This course consists of 10 Lessons:

  1. Structures For Protected Cropping
  2. Environmental Control
  3. Cladding Materials And Their Properties
  4. Irrigation
  5. Nursery Nutrition
  6. Relationship Between Production Techniques And Horticultural Practices
  7. Horticultural Management In A Greenhouse: Pests And Diseases
  8. Harvest & Post Harvest Technology
  9. Greenhouse Plants
  10. Risk Assessment


This is normally done after completing all of the other modules. It is intended as a "learning experience" that brings a perspecive and element of reality to the Modules you have studied. The school is very flexible in terms of how you achieve this requirement, and can negotiate to approve virtually any situation which can be seen as "learning through involvement in real life situations that have a relevance to your studies"

Some of the options, for example might be:


Option 1. Work Experience

This involves working in a job that has relevance to what you have been studying. For some students this may be a job they already have. (In some instances, credit may be even granted for work prior to studies). In other instances, this may be either paid or voluntary work which is found and undertaken after completing the other modules. Proof must be provided, and normally this is done by submitting one or more references or statements from an employer. It may also be satisfied by a discussion between the employer and the school in person or on the phone. The must be an indication that you have skills and an awareness of your industry, which is sufficient for you to work in a position of responsibility.

Option 2. Project

This project may be based on applications in the work place and specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study.


Students will design this project in consultation with a tutor to involve industry based activities in the area of specialized study which they select to follow in the course. The project outcomes may take the form of a written report, folio, visuals or a mixture of forms. Participants with relevant, current or past work experience will be given exemption from this project if they can provide suitable references from employers that show they have already fulfilled the requirements of this project.


Students will be assessed on how well they achieve the goals and outcomes they originally set as part of their negotiations with their tutor. During a project, students will present three short progress reports. These progress reports will be taken into account when evaluating the final submission. The tutor must be satisfied that the work submitted is original.


Other Options

Workplace learning hours may also be satisfied through attending or being involved with meetings conducted by industry bodies such as professional associations; or attending seminars which are attended by industry professionals. Any opportunity for observation and networking may be seen as a valid option.




There are many different cultivars of vegetables. Deciding whether to grow peas or potatoes may be a relatively straight forward decision; but choosing what type of pea or potato is a mammoth decision after that. Your choice of cultivar can have a big impact upon both the quantity and quality of crop, and perhaps even more on the risks both while growing and the potential to sell your crop after harvest.

Consider just some of the more widely grown potato varieties.

Potato Cultivars

Many different varieties of potato have been developed around the world; and new ones emerge all of the time. They differ in terms of factors such as time they mature, yield, taste, disease resistance, suitability to a particular environment.

If you are growing for a particular market (e.g. processing into chips), you may only grow one variety, suited to that market. If you wish to spread your supply (hence work involved and harvest time) over an extended period, you may choose to grow a range of varieties (e.g. early season, mid season and late season types).

Cultivars may have varying coloured skins (e.g. red, purple, white). White skinned varieties may not keep as long as darker skinned varieties. 

Apache – Early maincrop cultivar, skin is red or red with pale yellow patches, yellow flesh and medium to deep eyes. Resists bruising and splitting, 

Atlantic – Bred in Florida, USA. Mid season cultivar, tubers are round, with a lightly netted skin, deep eyes and white flesh. Resistant to some diseases. Used commercially for processing crisps. Not good for boiling.

Bison – Dark red to purple skin and white flesh

Cherie – Originated in France, very long tubers with red skin, yellow flesh and shallow eyes. For cooking it is firm & multi-purpose

Desiree – Bred in the Netherlands; sometimes listed as “Desrae”. Mid to late season cultivar with elongated oval shaped tubers, a smooth pinkish skin and yellow flesh. Good for boiling and roasting but poor for frying.

Denali – Bred in the USA in 1978. Mid season cultivar, shallow eyes, slightly flaky buff skin, white flesh. Excellent for baking and crisps, not good for boiling though.  

Exton – Mid season, general purpose cultivar with white skin and round, good quality tubers.  It has been used in Australia as an alternative to

Sebago, where conditions may be difficult for Sebago. General purpose variety that has been used in fried products. If irrigated, plant tubers closer together. This is a variety developed in Victoria (Australia) as a seedling selection from Katahdin; released in 1949.

Kennebec – Bred in the USA, imported to Australia in 1949. Early to mid season variety with good yields, smooth, white skinned and shallow eyed pear shaped tubers. Takes 110 days to mature. Tubers tend to be larger and variable in shape. Excellent for cooking, favoured as a table potato and for processing. Has been used for frying in the past; but other cultivars are now more widely used for producing French fries and crisps.

King Edward – An old (heritage) cultivar, popular in the UK. Resistant to rots and scab; but susceptible to dry soils. Has cream coloured skin and pale reddish patches. A strong flavour, good for baking, roasting and mashing.

Kipfler – A low maintenance cultivar, easy to grow, believed to originate in Chili. Has a buttery flavour, unsuited to frying.

Maranca – White skin and gold flesh.   

Maris Peer – Originated in the U.K., Large uniform shaped tubers, with smooth white to yellow skin, cream flesh, medium depth eyes. Unsuitable for frying.

Mozart – Smooth pale red skin, uniform oval shape; yellow flesh, excellent taste; good for mashing and baking

Nicola – Long oval shaped tubers with yellow skin and pale yellow flesh; remains firm when cooked. Good for boiling, roasting and salads.

Osprey – Smooth skin, pink eyes, consistent appearance; a good potato for any purpose, eaten hot or cold. Developed from a variety called Kestrel.

Patrones – Bred in the Netherlands and released in 1959. Oblong or pear shaped tubers with pale yellow skin and yellowish flesh. Average to long dormancy. Best for boiling and salads, sometimes fried but not ideal for commercial frying. Uneven soil moisture can result in hollow tubers. Resists scab, but susceptible to leaf roll virus and to late blight.

Pink Fir Apple – Elongated tubers having a smooth waxy, pale pink skin

Pontiac – Developed in 1938 in the USA. Red skinned, typically rounded tubers with deep eyes. Tends to produce more tubers per plant than other varieties. This has been popular for a long time. Best suits irrigated growing. Takes 110 days to mature. Very good cooking characteristics if eaten or processed fresh.  Best boiled or baked, but not suitable for frying. Has a shorter than average dormancy - tubers sprout fairly early. 

Purple Congo – Produces bumpy, elongated tubers, pinkish-purple skin and purple flesh. Has a mild flavour. Good boiled but do not over-cook. Makes good mashed potato.

Rooster – Red skin, yellow flesh, medium size, tasty, fluffy mashed; good for roasting, baking and frying

Roseval – From France; Tubers oval to long with smooth red skin, yellow flesh and shallow eyes. Medium dormancy. Good to excellent taste but not suited to frying.

Rote Emalie – purple flesh and skin; elongated tubers, floury taste, an older cultivar; suited for baking, roasting or steaming but not frying.

Royal Blue – Originated in the Netherlands. Distinct purple skin and white flesh. A good multi-purpose cultivar.

Russet Burnank – Bred in the USA, released in 1894. Late season cultivar, tubers have russet skin, white flesh and deep eyes. Tolerant to scab and rot diseases but susceptible to blights, viruses and hollow tubers. Good for baking and roasting. Perfect for frying. Not as good for boiling. Used commercially for processing French fries.

Saphire – In England, Saphire is listed as having white skin, white flesh and being oval shaped. In Australia, it is a variety with purple skin and purple flesh; maintains purple colour when cooked. Suitable for mash, roasting or frying. Medium size oval shaped potatoes.

Sebago – From the USA, released in Australia 1940. A mid season, with creamy coloured skin, regular oval shaped, shallow eyed tubers. Produces good quality and quantity crop. Tall plants. When irrigated, it produces more tubers per plant, hence a larger number of medium size tubers, rather than fewer very large tubers. Some consider Sebago more difficult to grow on a large scale, having a shorter dormancy period, and being more susceptible to rots. Cooking quality is good and uniform, making it a good choice for commercial processing. 

Sequoia – From the USA, released in Australia 1940. A late maturing, with smooth, white skinned, oval shaped, shallow eyed tubers. Sequoia produces heavier crops than many other cultivars; suits a wide range of soil and climatic conditions, has been a popular variety for a long time. Particularly useful in places where rainfall is marginal and irrigation is not available. If grown in ideal conditions plant close so competition is high, otherwise excessive growth can result in extra-large tubers which may become hollow inside. Cooking quality can be variable, and may not be acceptable for commercial processing.

Wilja – White to yellow russet coloured but smooth skin and pale yellow flesh. Tubers are round to long oval shaped with very shallow to shallow eyes.  Multi-purpose cultivar with good taste but poor suitability for frying.

Yukon Gold – From Canada. Oval to round shaped tubers; with a smooth skin yellowish or partially red, shallow eye depth and light yellow flesh. Particularly good for boiling and mashing.


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