Agricultural Systems Analysis

Subject AGRI30003 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Forty-eight hours of lectures/tutorials, and up to 30 hours practical/field work
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Bob Farquharson, Dr Ian Bland




Subject Overview:

Success in animal enterprises and systems is a result of interdisciplinary interactions between animal, plant, climatic, human, risk and market factors. This subject aims to develop the skills required to analyse these interactions and support decision-making in animal enterprises. The subject is taught using problem-based learning by doing. Students will conduct system management case study analyses during the semester, and submit a detailed report on these. Each case study is based on an animal enterprise or system. Case study analysis will require students to clearly identify the problem to be solved and the context for problem solving (including business and personal goals of the owners/managers and their approach to management and decision making), analyse options for solving the problems and meeting goals, and prepare a report of their findings for the 'client'. Case study visits are supplemented by lectures and tutorials that develop the theory and practice of system thinking and analysis. The subject integrates biophysical science disciplines, management economics, and human systems elements. It is designed to enable students to work effectively with the owners and managers of animal businesses in bringing about change in their system.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject, students will have gained:

  • A basic understanding of systems theory and practice
  • Experience in practical situation analysis and skills in problem solving, in 'real world' settings
  • An understanding of the way technology is adopted in the management of agricultural businesses
  • The opportunity to apply knowledge gained earlier in their course to the solution of practical problems

Four case study reports through the semester, each equivalent to 1000 words and worth 25% of total marks. Each case study based on a commercial farm business or rural industry.

  • A 1000 word case study report due approximately in Week 6 worth 25%
  • A 1000 word case study report due approximately in Week 8 worth 25%
  • A 1000 word case study report due approximately in Week 10 worth 25%
  • A 1000 word case study report due approximately in Week 12 worth 25%
Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:

Agriculture in Australia: An Introduction, by Bill Malcolm, Peter Sale, Brian Leury and Snow Barlow, Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed their:

  • Problem solving and analytical skills
  • Capacity to tackle unfamiliar and complex problems
  • Ability to think systemically and integrate knowledge from different disciplines
  • Communication skills, through written and oral presentations to a ‘client’
  • Quantitative analysis skills
  • Ability to plan work, be efficient in time management and deliver results within a prescribed time line
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Agricultural Economics
Agricultural Science
Plant and Soil Science
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED
Sustainable Production

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