Qualification - Associate Diploma in Agriculture

Course CodeVAG025
Fee CodeAS
Duration (approx)1500 hours
QualificationAssociate Diploma
Study for a Career in Agricultural Management or Technology
  • Agriculture today is more than just being a farmer
  • Farming is supported by factories that produce agricultural equipment and materials; research and education dealing with agricultural information, management and financial services; and much more.
  • This course prepares you to work in any or all of these areas.


There are six compulsory modules; designed to develop a foundation for working in Agriculture, followed by nine (9) elective modules. With such a high proportion of electives; and a very diverse range of possibilities to choose from; every student has a unique opportunity to develop a skill set that differentiates them from their competitors in business or employment.
This course is unique, and graduates are equally unique.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Associate Diploma in Agriculture.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Animal Biology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Farm Management BAG104
 Research Project I BGN102
 Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 9 of the following 39 modules.
 Bookkeeping Foundations BBS103
 Carpentry BSS100
 Horse Management I BAG102
 Machinery and Equipment (Engineering I) BSC105
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Disease BAG219
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Aquaculture -Marine BAG220
 Bed and Breakfast Management BTR203
 Beef Cattle Management BAG206
 Calf Rearing BAG207
 Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
 Dairy Cattle Management BAG205
 Fish Farming & Aquaculture BAG211
 Fruit Production (Temperate Climate) BHT218
 Goat Husbandry BAG223
 Horse Management II BAG204
 Hydroponics I BHT224
 Irrigation (Agricultural) BAG213
 Nut Production BHT219
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Pig Husbandry BAG209
 Poultry Husbandry BAG208
 Project Management BBS201
 Sheep Husbandry BAG210
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Landcare Reafforestation) BHT205
 Viticulture BHT220
 Weed Control BHT209
 Agronomy BAG306
 Agronomy II (Growing Grain Crops) BAG309
 Aquaponic Farming BHT319
 Breeding Animals BAG301
 Hydroponics III BHT321
 Hydroponics III BHT321
 Irrigation Management (Horticulture) BHT305
 Organic Agriculture and Farming BAG305
 Professional Practice For Consultants BBS301
 Water Conservation And Management BEN302

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

Whether you produce animals or harvest plants, the basis of any farm is still its plants.
For a farm to remain sustainable, certain minimum productivity levels must be maintained, using preferred plant species on an ongoing basis.
These plants may be pasture species, fodder crops, grain, vegetables, fruit or other harvested plants
Broad Acre Cropping
Monoculture is the most prevalent form of production in Western Agriculture today.  It refers to a system in which almost no diversity is present at all. Crops grown in this way are often especially open to attack from weed and pest species.  Many predators return annually to these farms, assured of a continual food source.  Stripping crop targeted nutrients from the soil is also a major problem in a monoculture. To combat these effects farmers are required to use greater quantities of chemicals in the form of weedicides, pesticides and fertilisers.
Classic examples of monoculture can be witnessed throughout continents such as Australia and North America where vast tracts, millions upon millions of hectares of land are used for wheat and other grain crops. The species being produced are generally fast growing, high yielding, hybrid varieties requiring considerable chemical inputs. They are often sterile varieties and seed must be purchased for each planting. The seed suppliers are often the same or sister operations to those that provide the required chemicals needed to protect the crops from insects and disease.
Aside from the problems of poor land management and heavy use of chemicals that the monoculture farm can create, the primary producer must remain viable . Quantity of production and most productive use of land can be heavily influenced by perceptions of economic viability. 
There are examples of systems that are predominantly monoculture that are relatively successful in terms of sustainability. The reason for this is because the people who use these systems are aware of the dangers of monoculture, especially in terms of chemical use,  and have therefore developed sustainable natural defensive measures.
One method that is employed is to plant species rich islands that are located centrally at intervals throughout the crop. These resource islands, which can be made up of literally hundreds of different indigenous plant species, seem to work quite effectively at controlling pest and disease populations as well as increasing soil fertility. 
Research is still being conducted to assess to what degree these islands are successful but it would appear that the concept works. Further work on which alternative species are the most beneficial will help to ensure the resource islands are most effective. This concept is very similar to the permaculture ethic of companion planting although it exists on a far grander and perhaps greater diversity scale.
Many of the problems associated with monocultures can be minimised by simply rotating crops. As a general rule, in situations where there are more problems, leave greater time periods between plantings of the same crop. Sustainability may be improved by the following:
  • Grow a crop or crops for half of the year, and graze the same area the other half.
  • Grow several different crops on the farm, and rotate them so the same crop is not grown in the same paddock more than once every 2 to 3 years (or preferably longer).
  • Fallow areas between crops (ie. do not graze or grow a crop).
  • Grow cover crops for green manure at least annually to revitalise the soil.
  • Ley Farming Systems -This involves alternating cereal grain production with pasture. Annual medics or sub clover are useful in these systems, mixed with grasses, to produce high quality forage.
Livestock Farming
To farm livestock, the following must be done: 
  1. Select breeds of livestock appropriate to the site
  2. Control overstocking
  3. Use an appropriate production system
  4. Apply appropriate landcare practices to sustain the condition of the land  (eg. subdivion fencing according to soil types and land use).
Before selecting a breed, determine the type & quantity of feed (and water) available. Discuss any proposed selection with people who know the local area. Consider the way in which the livestock might need to be managed (eg. fencing requirements, frequency of moving animals, etc). You need to have the manpower, equipment and financial resources needed to manage the chosen breed in a sustainable way. If you don't have adequate resources, you might be better to choose a different type of animal (eg. Goats are good in a paddock for a while to eradicate weeds; but at a certain stage, they can start to cause degradation of land).
Optimum stocking rate of a property may vary from month to month, and year to year; according to seasonal changes, and unproductive periods such as drought.
Supplementary feeding and watering may allow stocking rates to be increased on a property; or at least maintained during periods of poor pasture growth. Animals may also be put elsewhere under agistment at times, to relieve their influence on the property.
If animals are allowed total freedom on a property, problems may develop (eg. They may congregate in one particular area, causing erosion; or they may eat one particular pasture species, causing a change in the pasture composition. Generally animals are restricted to different areas at different times.

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