AGRI11001 - Soil and Irrigation Management
Term 1 - 2017


All details in this unit profile for AGRI11001 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student). The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.

Overview

This unit covers the fundamentals of soil and water systems, integrating the VET competency units 'Monitor and manage soils for production' and 'Managing water systems'. You will learn how soil properties affect crop growth; how management strategies can be applied to manage variable soil conditions; how to interpret soil analytical data and how to develop soil improvement programs. The unit will show you how different growing conditions define management options and how a range of irrigation systems can be used to increase production.

Details

Career Level Undergraduate
Unit Level Level 1
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Offerings

Term 1 - 2017
  • Bundaberg
  • Emerald
  • Rockhampton

Website

This unit has a website, within the Moodle system, which is available two weeks before the start of term. It is important that you visit your Moodle site throughout the term. Go to Moodle

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Assessment Overview

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Portfolio 40%
2. Practical and Written Assessment 20%
3. Written Assessment 40%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades.

All University policies are available on the IMPortal.

You may wish to view these policies:

  • Grades and Results Procedure
  • Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework)
  • Review of Grade Procedure
  • Academic Misconduct Procedure
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – Domestic Students
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – International Students
  • Refund and Excess Payments (Credit Balances) Policy and Procedure
  • Student Feedback – Compliments and Complaints Policy and Procedure
  • Acceptable Use of Information and Communications Technology Facilities and Devices Policy and Procedure

This list is not an exhaustive list of all University policies. The full list of University policies are available on the IMPortal.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback Source Recommendation
The students and CQU staff indicated poor indication of due dates and poor feedback on assessments. Students and CQU staff The Portfolio and other assessments will be broken into smaller parts, with their own due dates, throughout the term: 1) so that students can receive feedback as term progresses; and 2) to ensure submission and marking occur in a timely manner distributed throughout the term.
CQU staff indicated the need for assessment scaffolding. CQU Staff QATC needs to take on full delivery of pracs in all locations, CQU needs to have more input into prac/lecture materials. Smaller portfolio and assessment tasks will allow CQU and QATC to scaffold assessments during the term.
The students indicated the need for a better organization (e.g. timetable, assessments). Students All portfolio tasks and assessments need to have clear and unambiguous due dates posted in the course profile and on moodle. Assessment names, due dates and terminology must be aligned between the course profile and the moodle site. Both CQU and QATC staff will be more rigid in following the posted schedule of lectures, pracs, labs and field trips. We will still need to remain flexible for unforeseen circumstances.
The students indicated that the assessments were poorly explained. Students The inclusion of a rubrik and exemplar for most assessments will be provided on the moodle site at the beginning of term. Better coordination among CQU and QATC staff when explaining assessments will be undertaken so all faculty and staff are giving students at all campuses the same instructions. Questions about assessments should be directed toward the course coordinator through the moodle discussion pages or through email.
The students and CQU staff indicated that some content was repetitive and overlaps with other courses (e.g. content overlap with 11002). CQU staff and students CQU and QATC staff will work to reduce unintentional repetition and instead scaffold learning outcomes across the Agriculture program. This may include project based learning assessments that supplement or replace the current assessments.
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Use soil testing information to describe different soil types.
  2. Explain how soil properties determine production opportunities.
  3. Develop, monitor and review soil amendment practices.
  4. Determine the feasibility of using or upgrading irrigation systems.
  5. Develop and evaluate an appropriate irrigation plan.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Portfolio
2 - Practical and Written Assessment      
3 - Written Assessment    

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1. Communication  
2. Problem Solving  
3. Critical Thinking
4. Information Literacy
5. Team Work      
6. Information Technology Competence  
7. Cross Cultural Competence          
8. Ethical practice          

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Portfolio    
2 - Practical and Written Assessment        
3 - Written Assessment      

Textbook Information

There are no required textbooks. Note:

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
All submissions for this unit must use the Harvard (author-date) referencing style (details can be obtained here). For further information, see the Assessment Tasks below.
Unit CoordinatorPhilip Brown - brownhp (p.h.brown@cqu.edu.au)
Note: Check the Term-Specific section for any additional contact information provided by the teaching team
Week Begin Date Module/Topic Chapter Events and Submissions
Week 1 06-03-2017

Introduction

Week 1 lecture will explain what soils are made of and why they are important in agriculture. Soil physical, chemical and biological properties will be introduced and the common measures of soil physical properties will be explained.

Lab Practical

Measuring soil physical properties. The practical will train students to undertake standard soil tests for the following physical properties:

  • Determine soil texture by feel
  • Determine soil structure by careful observation
  • Determination of soil colour (Munsell Colour chart)
  • Determination of soil aggregate stability
  • Measure soil penetration resistance using a penetrometer
  • Measure soil bulk density
Week 2 13-03-2017

Soil Chemistry

The week 2 lecture will cover the role that the soil plays in determining the availability of nutrients to plants. Key areas covered will be pH, cation exchange capacity, salinity, sodicity and major nutrients in soils. Techniques for assessing soil chemical characteristics will be reviewed.

Lab Practical

Measuring soil chemical properties. The practical will train students to undertake standard soil tests for the following chemical properties:

  • Measure soil pH using different methods
  • Measure soil Electrical Conductivity
  • Measure soil nitrate concentration
  • Interpret a soil chemical test report
Week 3 20-03-2017

Soil Biology

This lecture provides an overview of the living constituents of soil and their importance in ‘soil health’. The lecture will cover nutrient cycles, decomposition of organic substrates and soil properties impacted by soil organic matter. Key tests to assess soil biology will be explained.

Prac: Field trip. Students will visit field site(s) and assess soils using the methods covered in the week 1 and 2 practicals. Additional practical skills covered on the field trip will be:

  • Visual interpretation of soil characteristics in the field
  • Planning a field sampling design and collecting field samples for testing
  • Determine earthworm activity
  • Assess plant root health
  • Measure water infiltration rate

Assessment 1 online text (soil analysis and interpretation) available on Moodle

Week 4 27-03-2017

Interpreting soil assessment information

This lecture will draw together the topics covered in previous weeks on soil physical, chemical and biological properties to explain how soil analysis assessment results can be used to assist in agricultural management. The following soil management practices will be covered: tillage practices (no-tillage or zero tillage, minimum tillage), stubble management, cover cropping and green manure crops, soil amendments, contour/strip farming, controlled traffic farming, and development of irrigation and nutrition plans.

Lab Practical

Review of soil testing methods covered in weeks 1-3. Examination of ‘unknown’ soil samples to assess students competence in soil tests and interpretation of results.

Week 5 03-04-2017

Soil constraints and land degradation.

The week 5 lecture will introduce the major soil degradation issues facing Australian agriculture. These areas include salinity, soil acidification, sodicity, soil structure decline and compaction, water repellence, erosion, and nutrient depletion.

Prac: Field trip. Students will visit field site(s) affected by soil degradation to assess soil characteristics at the sites. Practical skills covered on the field trip include the majority of tests demonstrated in previous weeks. Additional visual assessments such as the presence of indicator plant species will be covered on the field trip.

Vacation Week 10-04-2017
Week 6 17-04-2017

Soil water relationships

The lecture in week 6 will explain the concepts of soil water content and water potential, and explain how soil properties affect them. The effect of these soil water relationships on plants will be introduced, along with the common methods used to monitor soil moisture.

Prac: There is no practical class scheduled for week 6

Assessment 1 online test 2 (soil management) available on Moodle

Week 7 24-04-2017

Irrigation Planning

This lecture covers the practice of irrigation to manage the soil moisture content in order to improve crop productivity. The main factors that must be taken into consideration when developing an irrigation plan will be covered, and the key calculations that underpin an irrigation plan will be described.

Prac: Students will be taking a full day field trip covering integration of topics from the cropping, animals and soils/irrigation units. The Soils and Irrigation topics to be covered on the field trip are:

  • Determine size of area to be irrigated, confirming soil characteristics and crop water requirements (peak demand)
  • Identify water source and quality and legal requirements for water supply.
  • Indicate size of pump and duty (volume/time)
  • Identify, from visual assessment, site drainage and slope characteristics and ensure detrimental outcomes of irrigation (and water supply) are considered.
  • From information provided work out static and dynamic pressures, friction losses and detail appropriate nozzles based on the situation.
  • Determine mean application rate and estimate coefficient of uniformity.
Week 8 01-05-2017

Irrigation Management

This lecture will introduce the main irrigation systems used in Australian agriculture, and describe the operation of these systems.

Prac: Field practical. Students will complete a practical irrigation activity:

  • Assemble a basic irrigation system as provided
  • Calculate mean application rate using volume and area of catch cans
  • Calculate distribution uniformity
  • Decide on an ideal set up for the irrigation system and test
  • Investigate dripline as an alternative and evaluate efficiency
On-line short answer tests on soils topics Due Friday (05 May 17) 11:45 PM AEST
Week 9 08-05-2017

Challenges and opportunities for irrigated agriculture

The final lecture in the irrigation section of the course examines the issues that have emerged in irrigated agriculture in Australia, and some of the technologies that are becoming available and will likely play a part in the agricultural systems of the future.

Prac: Field trip. Students will visit a commercial irrigation field site and complete the following:

  • Choose appropriate pipes, fittings and emitters for an irrigation system
  • Become familiar with the RURAL IRRIGATION SYSTEM DESIGN STANDARDS & CODES OF PRACTICE
  • Determine RAW and refill point for your situation
  • Determine Capacity of the system
  • Select appropriate pipes, fittings and emitters.
  • Propose a design of your irrigation system.

Assessment 2 (irrigation quiz) available on Moodle

Week 10 15-05-2017

Whole farm planning

On-line quiz covering practical and theoretical aspects of irrigation management Due Friday (19 May 17) 11:45 PM AEST
Week 11 22-05-2017

Whole farm planning

Week 12 29-05-2017

Whole farm planning

Review/Exam Week 05-06-2017
Irrigation system design report Due Friday (09 Jun 17) 11:45 PM AEST
Exam Week 12-06-2017

1 Portfolio

Assessment Title On-line short answer tests on soils topics
Task Description

This assessment is composed of 2 on-line tests covering the content delivered in the Unit on soils. The tests will contain short answer questions covering material for each week's lectures and practical classes. The first test will cover the Soil Analysis and Interpretation topics, and the second test will examine Soil Management. Practice tests will be available on the Unit Moodle site to allow students to familiarize themselves with the assessment format.

Assessment Due Date Week 8 Friday (05-May-2017) 11:45 PM AEST
The first test will be available to students in week 3 and is recommended to be completed in week 4, while the second test will be available in week 6 and it is recommended that students complete it by week 7. The week 8 date is the final deadline for quiz submission.
Return Date to Students Week 9 Friday (12-May-2017)
Tests will be marked and marks will be available within 1 week of completion
Weighting 40%
Assessment Criteria

On-line test answers will be assessed based on the following 3 criteria:

  1. knowledge of soil science topics, terms and methods
  2. understanding of the scientific basis of soil analysis and soil management
  3. ability to communicate knowledge and understanding in a short answer format
Conditions Minimum mark or grade - 40%
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Use soil testing information to describe different soil types.

2. Explain how soil properties determine production opportunities.

3. Develop, monitor and review soil amendment practices.

4. Determine the feasibility of using or upgrading irrigation systems.

5. Develop and evaluate an appropriate irrigation plan.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

5. Team Work

6. Information Technology Competence



2 Practical and Written Assessment

Assessment Title On-line quiz covering practical and theoretical aspects of irrigation management
Task Description

This assessment is an on-line quiz covering the content delivered in the unit on irrigation. The quizzes will contain short answer questions covering material for each weeks lectures and practical classes. Practice quizzes will be available on the Unit Moodle site to allow students to familiarize themselves with the assessment format.

Assessment Due Date Week 10 Friday (19-May-2017) 11:45 PM AEST
The quiz will be available on the unit moodle site in week 9. On-line access to the quiz will cease at the due date.
Return Date to Students Week 11 Friday (26-May-2017)
Weighting 20%
Assessment Criteria

Quiz answers will be assessed based on the following 3 criteria:

  1. knowledge of irrigation topics, terms and methods
  2. understanding of the scientific basis of irrigation management and irrigation system design
  3. ability to communicate knowledge and understanding in a short answer format
Conditions Minimum mark or grade - 40%
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

4. Determine the feasibility of using or upgrading irrigation systems.

5. Develop and evaluate an appropriate irrigation plan.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking

6. Information Technology Competence



3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Irrigation system design report
Task Description

Students are required to submit a written report on an irrigation system design for the case study field site visited in the Unit. The report will document the site characteristics (including soils present), water sources and availability, the crop/pasture that the system is designed to irrigate, and the technical specifications of the irrigation system. A detailed outline of the report requirements will be available on the Unit Moodle site.

Assessment Due Date Review/Exam Week Friday (09-Jun-2017) 11:45 PM AEST
Return Date to Students Exam Week Friday (16-Jun-2017)
Weighting 40%
Assessment Criteria

The Report will be assessed using the following 4 criteria:

  1. Knowledge of the site factors and irrigation system components that determine an effective irrigation system
  2. Analysis of information collected from the site and from the literature to support the irrigation system design recommended in the report
  3. Project management skills in acquiring the information needed to complete the irrigation system design
  4. Written communication skills
Conditions Minimum mark or grade - 40%
Referencing Style Harvard (author-date)
Submission Online

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Use soil testing information to describe different soil types.

2. Explain how soil properties determine production opportunities.

3. Develop, monitor and review soil amendment practices.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

6. Information Technology Competence




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