AGRONOMY - Agronomic Farming Practices BAG306

Agronomic Cropping Course

Large scale cropping produces a large proportion of the raw product that we use in our day to day living; from cereals that are made into bread, to cotton that produces fibre for clothing.

Agronomic cropping provides animal feeds, cooking oils, and even fuel supplements used in engines. 

This  is a significant, sophisticated and very important sector of farming; and learning more about agronomy is going to open your eyes to opportunities for employment, business and improved efficiencies in this sector of the agricultural industry.

Study Broad Acre Cropping at Home

  • Learn to farm broad acre grain, oil seed or fibre crops
  • Learn from university trained, experienced agricultural professionals
  • Flexible, self paced study to fit a busy lifestyle


Course Structure and Scope

There are 8 lessons in this course:

1.  Introduction 

  • Introduction 
  • Crop Types 
  • Plant structure and Function 
  • Transpiration rate 
  • Selection Criteria for Plants 
  • Understanding monoculture 
  • Row Crops 
  • Cover Crops 
  • Crop Operations 
  • Planter types

2. Crop Culture 

  • Soils 
  • Problems with soils 
  • Loss of soil problems 
  • Erosion 
  • Salinity 
  • Soil sodicity 
  • Soil acidity and alkalinity 
  • Improving soils 
  • Cultivation techniques 
  • Plant nutrition 
  • Nutrient deficiencies 
  • Organic fertilisers 
  • Soil life 
  • Insect Pests 
  • Diseases

3. Crop Husbandry Techniques 

  • Operations 
  • Identifying weeds 
  • Ways to control weeds 
  • Spraying 
  • Irrigation 
  • Chemical crop protection 
  • Preparing plant pathogens for microscopic observation 
  • Culturing Pathogens 
  • Natural pest and disease control 
  • Physical controls 
  • Organic sprays and dusts

4. Seed Management 

  • Seed storage 
  • Types of seed storage 
  • Seed vigour testing
  • Dormancy factors affecting germination 
  • Germination treatments 
  • Types of media 
  • Media derived from rock or stone 
  • Media derived from synthetic materials 
  • Organic media
  • Diseases 
  • Salinty build up

5. Cereal Crops 

  • Cereal crops 
  • Zadock scale 
  • Wheat 
  • Barley 
  • Oats 
  • Triticale 
  • Sorghum 
  • Maize 
  • Rice 
  • Millet 
  • Sugar cane 
  • Ryegrass 
  • Hay and Silage 
  • Quality control 
  • Storage and handling 
  • Hydroponic fodder

6. Broad leaf Crops 

  • Characteristics of broad leaf crops 
  • Oil crops 
  • Chickpeas 
  • Narrow-leafed lupins 
  • Canola 
  • Faba beans 
  • Cover crops 
  • Common legumes

7. Harvesting Techniques 

  • Crop preparation for harvest 
  • Crop harvest equipment 
  • Forage harvesting equipment 
  • Cereal harvesting equipment 
  • Root crop harvesting equipment 
  • Grain storage 
  • Contract harvesting

8. Crop Management 

  • A Special Project that brings together what you learnt earlier, to develop skills in crop management from planting to post harvest handling

100 hours


How to Prepare Land for Direct Seeding

Preparation of the land to be sown will depend on the area to be cultivated. Larger areas will require the use of tractors and specific implements to create a seed bed. Smaller areas are suited to the use of a pedestrian operated rotary cultivator (attachments for creating seed beds are readily available for most commercial models)

The area to be cultivated should: 

  • Be leveled using an appropriate plough i.e. mold-board or disk if using a tractor.
  • Have green manures, cover crops or any other plant residue incorporated.
  • Have perennial weeds removed.
  • Have appropriate fertiliser incorporated if applicable (ameliorants to adjust pH should preferably be applied the previous season i.e. in autumn for spring planting 
  • Be tilled to a fine tilth (i.e. no large clods or large pieces of organic matter, weeds old crops etc if using a tractor this can be done with firstly a disk harrow attachment followed by a harrow to further smooth the soil surface).
  • Be damp but not too wet or too dry (ideal moisture level is slightly less then field capacity).
  • Be free draining i.e. not water-logged or compacted therefore impervious to oxygen.
  • Seeds are sown by hand for small areas and then raked in (i.e. turf seeds) or machine sown for large areas. Soil should be at the correct temperature to aid germination of specific seed species i.e. spring vegetables will need warm soils other seeds i.e. Onions need cooler temperatures for vegetative growth and warmer longer days for bulb formation.


Broad Acre Sowing

Broad acre planting may be done with seed being broadcast or sown into rows; usually using tractor drawn seed sowing machinery.

Hand Sowing (eg Vegetable Row Crops)

Straight rows are usually marked in the beds using a length of taut string or straight edged piece of wood. Then for hand sowing, use a pointed or sharp edged object make a slight furrow or trench along the row to the depth recommended for that particular vegetable seed. Sow your seed thinly along the row. Avoid sowing directly from the seed pack, particularly with fine seed, as it is very hard to get an even distribution of such seed. Large seed can often be easily placed evenly along the furrow, however fine seed may need to be mixed with some fine sand to get a more even spread. For very large seed including vegetables such as melons, cucumbers and beans, it is usually easier to drill a hole with a sharp stick or dibber to the required depth and the seeds placed directly into position. This of course would depend on how many seeds you are planting. Once sowing is completed lightly cover the seed by replacing the soil that has been removed while making the furrow or hole. This soil should then be lightly firmed down.

Generally it is recommended that (most) seeds be given a thorough watering taking care to disturb the soil surface as little as possible. Fine mist sprays or fine-nozzle watering cans would be suitable for most vegetable seeds. Protect the site from wind where possible – hedges, other vegetation, or artificial wind breaks are often necessary.

As seeds germinate and emerge from the soil they can be thinned out to the required distance apart. Any gaps can often be filled by seedlings thinned out from elsewhere in the bed.



Just go to the top of this page for pricing and enrolment options. If you have any questions you can contact us now, by:
Phone (UK) 01384 44272, (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752, or

Email us at [email protected]