Agricultural Systems Analysis

Subject AGRI30003 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

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: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
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:


Dr Bob Farquharson


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Land & Food Resources (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

Farm productivity and profitability is a result of interdisciplinary interactions between soil, plant, animal, climatic, human, risk and market factors. This subject aims to develop the skills required to analyse these interactions and support decision-making in agricultural businesses. The subject is taught using problem-based learning by doing. Students will conduct farm management economics case study analyses during the semester, and submit a detailed report on these. Each case study is based on a commercial farm 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 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 farm systems 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 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;
  • an understanding of the way technology is adopted in the management of agricultural businesses; and
  • the opportunity to apply knowledge gained earlier in their course to the solution of practical problems
Assessment: Four farm management economics case study reports spaced equally 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.
Prescribed Texts:

The Farming Game: Agricultural Management and Marketing by Bill Malcolm, Jack Makeham and Vic Wright, CUP, 2005

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)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Agricultural Science
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG. Core selective subjects for B-BMED.

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