Module: Agricultural Management

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Christopher Brough
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    300 hours
  • Contact hrs

    80 hours
  • Teaching Period

    October - June; Tuesday afternoons plus one week early June

Module content

An introduction to farming in the UK – husbandry requirements for the main crop and livestock enterprises, machinery and buildings; political, economic and environmental pressures affecting the industry; the circumstances, policy and management of the Royal Agricultural University farms and other commercial farms, estates and rural businesses; current issues affecting farmers and landowners and their strategic responses to them; field identification skills.

This module is delivered through a series of introductory lectures and seminars, backed up with farm and estate visits and includes a one-week study tour towards the end of the module teaching period..

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1. Recognise and appreciate through the use of case studies, demonstrations, farm visits, lectures and seminars the importance, and significance of the integration of technological, scientific, and political and environmental issues relating to, and their effect upon, commercial farm businesses and production systems in the UK.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of practical farming and management decision making in conversation with an academic assessor.
  3. Produce a crop or livestock blueprint  that provides an evaluation of the various methods required to minimize the use of chemical applications, based on agronomic advice / guidance, and reduce the incidence of pests, disease and weed burdens.
  4. Make a reasoned argument with reference to government policy and farm issues based on an understanding of:
  • Individual farm resources, and factors that limit  / increase production;
  • Commercial / market access requirements of an agricultural business;
  • The key management decisions required of an agricultural business to operate effectively in response to external pressures and challenges.


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework 1 x oral examination 35%
Coursework 1 x case study 15%
Coursework 1 x study tour group presentation 15%
Coursework 1 x crop or livestock blueprint 35%

Key texts

Students should be familiar with the content of the following:

  • Agrevo UK Crop Protection (1997) Weed Guide. Agrevo UK Crop Protection.
  • Agrevo UK Crop Protection (1997) Cereal Disease Guide. Agrevo UK Crop Protection.
  • Bell, B. (2005). Farm Machinery. 5th ed. Old Pond Publishing.
  • Curry, N. and Owen, S. (eds.) (1996). Changing Rural Policy in Britain. Countryside and Community Press.
  • Department Of The Environment. (2000). Our Countryside the Future. HMSO.
  • Detr/Maff (2000). Our Countryside: the future. HMSO.
  • DEFRA (2004). Rural Strategy 2004. HMSO.
  • Hubbard, C. E. and Hubbard, J. C. E. (1984) Grasses: A Guide to their Structure, Identification, Uses and Distribution in the British Isles. 3rd ed. rev. Penguin.
  • Francis, S. A. (2005). British Field Crops: A Pocket Guide to the Identification, History and Uses of Traditional and Novel Arable Crops in Great Britain. Published by Author.
  • McConnell, P. and Soffe, R. J. (2003). The Agricultural Notebook. 20th ed. Blackwell Science.
  • National Sheep Association (1998). British Sheep. 9th ed. National Sheep Association.
  • Nix, J. (annual) Farm Management Pocketbook. Imperial College at Wye.
  • Porter, V. (2001) British Cattle. Shire Publications Ltd.
  • Porter, V. (2008) The Field Guide to Cattle. Voyageur Press.
  • Prag, P. A. B. (2001). Understanding the British Countryside. Estates Gazette.
  • SAC (annual) Farm Management Handbook. SAC.
  • Soffe R. J. (ed.) (2005) The Countryside Notebook. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Additionally, web based pages will be available and, included in the Gateway module page, e.g. DEFRA and EBLEX .
  • Journals incl; Farmers Weekly; Farmers Guardian; Farm Management; Jnl. RASE; Jnl. Ag. Econ; relevant internet sites incl. Defra, Eblex, DairyCo, RABDF, NSA.