Qualification - Associate Diploma in Farm Management

Learn to be a Professional Farm Manager

Farming has changed.  Today's farms are businesses, and if you want to be successful at any level in modern agriculture, you need to be a capable manager.

Study the Associate Diploma In Farm Management:

  • Gain a solid foundation in the technology, management and science that are vital to running a farm.
  • Gain the skills to give you a competitive edge.

Course Code - VAG032


Course Structure and Contents

Duration: 15 Core Modules = 1,500 hours.

The modules for the Associate Diploma In Farm Management are summarised below:

Farm Management BAG104
Improve your capacity to more effectively manage a farm or agricultural enterprise which services farms.  Learn about effectively using resources through planning and assessment with this 8 lesson module.

Soil Management (Agriculture) BAG103
Learn about soil properties and requirements in agriculture, and how to apply that knowledge at a management level in an equine business.  This 8 lesson module looks at different ways to maintaining soil health, how to ensure that soil is optimised for the production of relevant crops and how to deal with issues such as land degradation and acidity.  Although soil cultivation was in the past considered essential practice, there are other ways to managing soil which are discussed in this module.

Plant Ecology BSC302
This 8 lesson module looks at plant communities, plants and their environment, soils and climate, plant adaptations to extreme environments, conservation, environmental funding and assessment.  Upon completion of the module, students will understand the nature and principles of plant ecology and be able to apply that understanding to the cultivation of plants.

Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
This module presents many different techniques and general measures which may be adopted in part or full to move a farm toward greater sustainability.  The 8 lesson module looks at ways to encourage the adoption of techniques that help to preserve, maintain and work with natural resources in order to maintain the balance of ecosystems.  The module covers a number of different areas of sustainability, from looking at different ways of farming (natural, organic), detailing specific areas of consideration such as soils and water, to wider aspects such as the financial and social elements.

Weed Control BHT209
In this 8 lesson module, students will learn to identify and how to effectively control weeds. The module looks at both chemical and non-chemical weed control methods (e.g. mulching, burning, slashing), plus the use of spray equipment and operating safety procedures which should be followed when using chemicals and equipment.  Not all weeds will respond to the same method of control, and different approaches will suit different environments and applications better than others.  As part of the module, students will devise appropriate methods for the control of weeds and upon completion of the module, will therefore be able to determine the appropriate methods to adopt for different situations and with different weeds.

Agronomy BAG306
Agronomy can be broadly defined as the practice and study of field crops for use as human food, animal feed, fibre, oilseed production and some industrial products.  In this 8 lesson module, students will learn the principles and practices that underpin commercial broad acre crop production.  They will develop an understanding of how to store and manage seeds, and be conversant with the various factors affecting crop growth.  Different crop types are covered within the module, from their cultivation through to harvesting.  The module is completed with a special project which will allow the student to apply their learning and demonstrate their understanding of the processes of crop management from planting through to post-harvest.

Animal Health Care VAG100

Learn to identify and describe common signs of ill health and diseases in animals, and the appropriate types of treatment for these.  This 12 lesson module looks at the broader aspects of animal welfare and control as well as codes of practices and the services provided by veterinarians.  The module includes preventative health care, as well as considering routine health treatments (such as de-sexing and castration).  It is concluded with a lesson on animal rehabilitation and recovery.

Agricultural Marketing BAG304
The manager of a rural business faces continually changing conditions rarely experienced in other industries.  They have to continually consider, evaluate, assess the numerous changes and types of information that may affect the success of the business. Although crucial to the success of the business, the manager also needs to understand the unique markets within which they operate, and how to capitalise on market forces to maximise their profit.  This 8 lesson module looks at establishing marketing objectives and strategies for a farming business, whilst showing students how to identify markets and understand the components of the marketing mix.  The module includes lessons on customer care, market research, promotions, and managing marketing. 

Irrigation (Agricultural) BAG213
This is a 10 lesson module.  Students will learn about the objectives of irrigation and potential problems associate with it.  The module looks at soil types, suitability and properties, and how soil may be improved.  As well as irrigation, the module covers drainage, including how drainage may be improved.   Students will look at the design, operation and management of irrigation systems in agricultural applications.

Pasture Management BAG212
This is an intensive 8 lesson module which looks at the variety of different pasture types – the structure, growth, and development of grasses, the identification of different grass types, how to establish new pastures, the importance of legumes in pastures, selection of pasture types, seed mix, management of existing pastures, native grasslands, weed control, limiting factors, managing stock on pasture, management works.  Students will learn to determine the criteria for the selection of different plant varieties, and evaluate the potential of sites for pasture development. 

Organic Farming BAG305
Organic Farming looks at a sustainable approach to animal or crop production, adopting processes free from artificial chemicals, and seeking to preserve a natural and healthy environment.  A very significant part of organic farming is to create fertile, well- structured soils that support both plant and soil animal life.  Organic matter is recycled through the system to provide nutrients for plants and to improve and maintain the condition of the soil.  Through 10 lessons, students will gain knowledge of the principles and process involved, understanding key areas such as integrated farm management systems, how to convert to organic farming, and the requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to attain organic certification for produce.  

Engineering (I) Machinery And Equipment BSC105
This is an 8 lesson introductory level course which is concerned with developing the student’s ability to manage the selection, maintenance, and engineering of tools and machinery.  The course is written with particular reference to the tools used in agriculture and horticulture. Understanding more about equipment used will enable the student to correctly choose and safely operate tools and machinery in a given situation.

Bookkeeping Foundations BBS103
This 13 lesson module provides a broad foundation in the uses of financial information, accounting standards and conventions, and the basic functions of bookkeeping for a business.  Students will appreciate the role of accurate financial records, not only for legal purposes but also enable monitoring and control of the financial position and health of business. Financial record keeping can seem like a different language if you do not know how to interpret it, and this module covers all of the key areas including balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, double entry and ledger postings, and budget control.

Business Planning BBS302
The 11 lesson module examines core factors in the development of business planning.  There are many elements to running a business and foresight and appropriate consideration of these are required if a business has any chance of success.  This module will teach students the areas to be considered and how they should be approached – from developing objectives and strategies, to assessing risk and having contingencies in place to cope with situations that may arise.  Students will understand how growth is dealt with – in order to achieve growth and be able to support this, a business needs to have resources and systems in place.  Planned growth, as opposed to runaway growth, is therefore critical the long term stability and sustainability of the business. 

Industry Project BIP000
An Industry Project is a requirement in some certificates, diplomas and other qualifications. The Industry Project is designed to foster networking, practical skills and industry awareness.  There are various ways that the requirement can be satisfied and it can be completed from wherever you live in the world.  The approach will differ dependent upon whether or not you have relevant experience within the industry relating to your studies.  Your tutor will be on hand to assist and guide you with the options open to you, including completion of Workshop modules which through a Problem Based Learning approach will enable you to develop your capacity to identify, select and apply knowledge and skills to perform workplace tasks in an industry

Workshop I BGN103
Develop your capacity to identify, select and apply knowledge and skills to appropriate perform workplace tasks in the equine industry through a problem-based learning project.  The 3 lesson module identifies 3 areas of study, covering workplace tools and equipment, workplace skills, and workplace safety.  The approach of problem-based learning (PBL) enables students to consider and resolve hypothetical problems which mimic those that may occur in real world situations.  This helps to equip students with the skills and confidence to approach and resolve problems that they may encounter through their work.  It provides added benefits in areas such as planning and assessment by equipping students with the ability to effectively plan, view, and outline their intended outcomes in areas of work and projects that they may be engaged in.




The world today is very different to the past. We can no longer ignore the need for sustainable land management practices. Every farm needs to adopt strategies for sustainabilty, and in doing so, consider:

How Farming Impacts Natural Resources

When the production of food and fibre degrades the natural resource base, the ability of future generations to produce and flourish decreases.

Water is the principal resource that has helped agriculture and society to prosper, and it has been a major limiting factor when mismanaged. The most important issues related to water quality involve soil salinity and contamination of ground and surface waters by pesticides and nitrates.

Agriculture also affects water resources through the destruction of riparian habitats within watersheds. The conversion of wild habitat to agricultural land reduces fish and wildlife through erosion and sedimentation, the effects of pesticides, removal of riparian plants, and the diversion of water. The plant diversity in and around both riparian and agricultural areas should be maintained in order to support a diversity of wildlife. This diversity will enhance natural ecosystems and could aid in agricultural pest management.





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