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Qualification - Advanced Diploma In Agriculture - Alternative Agriculture

Course CodeVAG005
Fee CodeAD
Duration (approx)2500 hours
QualificationAdvanced Diploma
  • Agriculture is changing -driven by better knowledge, global awareness and an indisputable necessity.
  • Change has become the norm in today's world
  • If you want a sustainable and successful business or career in agriculture; you need an education that is as broad as it is deep; that will tune you into the industry, and set you on a path that embraces and exploits changes as they occur in the world of agriculture.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Advanced Diploma In Agriculture - Alternative Agriculture.
 Farm Management BAG104
 Research Project I BGN102
 Workplace Health & Safety VBS103
 Workshop I BGN103
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Research Project II BGN201
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Organic Agriculture and Farming BAG305
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Animal Biology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Botany I - Plant Physiology And Taxonomy BSC104
 Machinery and Equipment (Engineering I) BSC105
 Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Plant Protection BHT207
 Agricultural Marketing BAG304
 Organic Plant Culture BHT302
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 8 of the following 22 modules.
 Biochemistry I (Plants) BSC102
 Business Studies BBS101
 Horse Management I BAG102
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Beef Cattle Management BAG206
 Calf Rearing BAG207
 Cut Flower Production BHT221
 Dairy Cattle Management BAG205
 Engineering Applications (Engineering II) BSC205
 Fish Farming & Aquaculture BAG211
 Fruit Production (Temperate Climate) BHT218
 Fruit Production (Warm Climate) BHT217
 Horse Management II BAG204
 Natural Animal Health Care BAG218
 Nut Production BHT219
 Pig Husbandry BAG209
 Sheep Husbandry BAG210
 Workshop II BGN203
 Advanced Permaculture BHT301
 Agronomy II (Growing Grain Crops) BAG309
 Breeding Animals BAG301
 Horse Management III BAG302

Note that each module in the Qualification - Advanced Diploma In Agriculture - Alternative Agriculture is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Why you should study this course!

A periodic food crisis has been created by energy-consuming, broad-acre systems that rely heavily on chemical inputs. These systems need to be urgently dismantled and replaced by healthy, environmentally sustainable, alternative farming systems. Innovative leaders - who are prepared to meet the challenges of repairing the damage caused by broad-acre, chemical based monocultures - are urgently required.

Agriculture is part of a competitive, global market. Forms of agriculture that rely on the chemical inputs promoted by the global chemical companies, have degraded the environment to unsustainable levels. Environmental concerns and the looming food crisis are confronting all agricultural enterprises. There is an immediate need for agricultural leaders who can respond in an intelligent and environmentally aware manner.

What is Alternative Agriculture?

Alternative agricultural enterprises look outside the corporate-controlled agricultural environment toward creating new markets and new ways of "doing things" - by value adding or by designing market niches not able to be readily filled by mass market competition.

Where We Have Been - Where We Are Going
The widespread development of low input agricultural systems depends not only on the desires of farmers and consumers, but also upon national and international policy changes.  Many existing policies favour high input-high output agricultural systems.  However, governments around the world have begun to recognise the need for sustainable agricultural practices.
In 1972, the US Government established the Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) which aims to decrease the use of chemical pesticides by teaching farmers how to use a variety of biological controls, genetic resistance, and appropriate use of tillage, pruning, plant density and residue management.  In 1977, the US Government developed “best management practices” including the use of cover crops, green manure crops, and strip cropping to minimise erosion; soil testing and targeting and timing of chemical applications to prevent the loss of nutrients and pesticides.  These BMPs are used by district officers to help farmers to develop conservation plans for their farms.  The Agricultural Conservation Program provides funding for farmers to commence conservation practices such as crop rotation, biological pest control, soil testing and ridge tilling.
UK Example
In the United Kingdom, the Government has established the Sustainable Development Commission.  The Commission's role is to advocate sustainable development across all sectors in the UK, review progress towards it, and build consensus on the actions needed if further progress is to be achieved.  The Sustainable Development Commission has published “A Vision for Sustainable Agriculture”.  It states that Agriculture must:
  • Produce safe, healthy food and non-food products in response to market demands, now and in the future 
  • Enable viable livelihoods to be made from sustainable land management, taking account of payments for public benefits provided 
  • Operate within biophysical constraints and conform to other environmental imperatives 
  • Provide environmental improvements and other benefits that the public wants - such as re-creation of habitats and access to land 
  • Achieve the highest standards of animal health and welfare compatible with society's right of access to food at a fair price 
  • Support the vitality of rural economies and the diversity of rural culture 
  • Sustain the resource available for growing food and supplying other public benefits over time, except where alternative land uses are essential in order to meet other needs of society 
Australian Example
The Australian Government has acknowledged the need for "sustainable development of agricultural industries" to "contribute to "long term productivity, and to Australia's economic well being". In addition it acknowledges the need to protect the biological and physical resources which agriculture depends upon.
A strategic approach has been developed requiring cooperative action from different agencies, all levels of government, community and agricultural industries, across Australia.  This approach has put forward five objectives as follows:
  1. Create a framework of integrated government policies and programs which promote community based self reliant approaches to agricultural resource management.
  2. Promote integrated planning of agricultural resource management, particularly in areas affected by land degradation; and extend measures (particularly community based self help approaches) which encourage information transfer and land holder adoption of sustainable management.
  3. Reduce and manage effectively the impacts of pest plant and animal species on Australia’s agricultural areas.
  4. Improve kangaroo management at the national level, including removal of impediments to a sustainable commercial kangaroo industry.
  5. Improve effective and safe management of agricultural and veterinary chemicals while improving levels of, and access to information on these chemicals.

Meet some of our academics

Alison PearceUniversity Lecturer, Quality Assurance Manager, Writer and Research Technician. Alison originally graduated with an honors degree in science from university and beyond that has completed post graduate qualifications in education and eco-tourism. She has managed veterinary operating theatre, responsible for animal anesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures.
Barbara SeguelTeacher and Researcher, Marine Scientist, Tourism and Outdoor recreation guide, Health and Safety Coordinator & Production Manager for Fisheries, National Park Staff/Farmer, Laboratory technical aide, Zoo, Wildlife and Marine Park assistant. Barbara has worked in Hawaii, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Barbara has a B.Sc. Marine (Academic degree) and M.Sc Aquaculture Engineering.
Cheryl McLardySports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager. Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture and equine industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. Cheryl has a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert.
Peter Douglas Over 50 years experience in Agriculture and wildlife management. Former university lecturer, Wildlife park manager, Animal breeder, Equestrian. Peter has both wide ranging experience in animal science, farming and tourism management, and continues to apply that knowledge both through his work with ACS, and beyond.

Check out our eBooks

Animal PsychologyComparative Animal Psychology. This is an excellent reference for anyone interested in understanding animals better; students, animal owners and anyone who works with animals.
Animal HealthA book for anyone interested in animal health, from pet owners to farmers. Contents cover understanding health issues, disease and injury prevention, inspecting animals, differential diagnosis and common illnesses. Animals can suffer from injury, poisoning, hereditary conditions, nutritional problems and viral, bacterial and fungal infections. 77 pages.
Organic GardeningCreate a healthy, well-balanced garden. Attract abundant beneficial insects to pollinate your plants. Have healthy, fertile, organic soils teeming with life. Use this book as a guide to establish lush gardens laden with fruit, vegetables, herbs and ornamentals - without the use of chemicals. The ebook covers: soils and nutrition, pest and disease, natural weed control, conservation and recycling. 179 pages, 170 colour photos
Profitable FarmingDiscover new ways to make money from farming and how farms may adapt to change. This ebook explores specialised crops and livestock, farm tourism, cost reduction, value adding, long term planning and more. 76 pages