Agricultural Systems Analysis

Subject AGRI30003 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Twenty-four hours of lectures/tutorials, and up to 36 hours practical work
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: N/A
Corequisites: N/A
Recommended Background Knowledge: N/A
Non Allowed Subjects: N/A
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Bill Malcolm



Phone: 8344 7587

Subject Overview:

Agriculture is, by nature, a systems-based activity. Farm productivity is a result of interactions between soil, plant, animal, climatic and human factors. This subject aims to develop the skills required to analyse these interactions and support decision-making in agricultural and natural resource management enterprises. The subject is taught using problem-based learning. Students will participate in six case study analyses during the semester, and submit a detailed report on four of these. Each case study addresses an aspect of systems analysis and management, and is based on a commercial farm or resource management business. 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 and their approach to management and decision making), analyse options for solving the problems and meeting goals, and communicate their findings to the 'client'. Case study visits are supplemented by lectures and tutorials that develop the theory and practice of systems analysis and thinking. The subject integrates traditional biophysical science disciplines, economics, and human systems elements. It is designed to enable students to work effectively with the owners and managers of resource management and agricultural businesses in bringing about change in their business.


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;
  • recognition of the importance of adult learning and decision-making processes in the management of agricultural businesses and natural resources;
  • an understanding of the way technology is adopted in the management of agricultural businesses and natural resources; and
  • the opportunity to apply knowledge gained earlier in their course to the solution of practical problems
Assessment: Four case study reports spaced equally through the semester, each equivalent to 2500-3000 words and worth 25% of total marks
Prescribed Texts: N/A
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; and
  • Ability to plan work, be efficient in time management, and deliver results within a prescribed time line
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours)
Bachelor of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Agricultural Science

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